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Saturday, June 01, 2013

Cherry-Olive Oil Polenta Cake

The Altitude Adjustment Section
And now for something completely different! It's cherry season. I love cherries but not super sweet and gloppy cherry pie, so here is another option. The additional flavors of lemon zest, vanilla, and a dollop of crème fraîche give it a classy finish.

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup Polenta or cornmeal
2 1/2 cups fresh Bing cherries, (about 1 pound), pitted and halved
Crème fraîche, for serving

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 10" round cake pan with nonstick vegetable spray. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine eggs and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light in color, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla, olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice.In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to egg mixture, along with Polenta. Mix until combined. Pour two thirds of batter into prepared pan, and completely cover it with cherries. Spoon remaining batter over cherries, allowing fruit to peek through in spots. Bake until top and edges are lightly golden and a toothpick (or fork) inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely on rack. Cut cake, and serve each slice with a dollop of crème fraîche.