Monday, August 15, 2005

Chocolate Polenta Cake

It's been a while since I last posted a recipe, so I thought I'd give you all something tasty and easy. It's vaguely Italian, but not really. Use hazelnuts and it's almost like a moist Gianduia. Regardless, I liked this recipe A LOT and plan on making it again.


1/2 c. butter
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate OR 12 tbsp. cocoa
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp cinammon
1/2 tsp. baking poweder
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. polenta or cornmeal
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts or toasted, chopped hazelnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the chocolate or cocoa in a double boiler with the butter. Cool this mixture. Beat the eggs until they are foamy. Mix in sugar, cinammon, and baking powder. Sift the flour and cornmeal/polenta into a separate bowl, then add to the egg mixture and fold in by hand. Fold the chocolate into the batter and, just before finishing this folding add the nuts. Pour into a greased 8" x 8" pan and bake for 20 minutes.

I don't have a double boiler. I use a smaller saucepan inside a larger saucepan, the larger of which has about 3 inches of water in it. This works like a charm, but is a little more difficult because the small sauce pan bobs in the water...

If you're unfamiliar with folding, you might check out this article. Folding in this recipe is not as important as when you're making meringues or something, but you want to keep the mixture fairly light. Basically, just don't mix vigorously. Draw your spatula through the mixture and turn it up onto itself. It's easy!

You can use either cornmeal or polenta. The meal will be finer and you'll get a pretty dense crumb. The polenta will be coarser and you may find the cake to be crumblier. Likewise sometimes the polenta will not fully cook so there can be crunchy bits. I like that, but some people prefer the cornmeal approach.

Finally, with regards to baking time: DO NOT OVERDO IT. This recipe can be a little dry, so you want to underbake a little rather than overbake. The eggs will be done and baking less will give you a moister product.