Rhubarb Raspberry Polenta Cake

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on May 11, 2010

Its rhubarb season! Grocery store shelves are brimming with these beautiful red stalks. I couldnt let spring roll around and not make anything with rhubarb! Usually, rhubarb is used along with strawberries in pies (because rhubarb and strawberry seasons coincide). This recipe features rhubarb, along with raspberries in a polenta or cornmeal cake. If you like corn cakes, you’ll certainly love this dessert version!

Andrea, from Cooking Books blog says its the Scandinavians who know how to best enjoy the tartness of rhubarb. Andrea says,

“I’m not sure anyone appreciates rhubarb the way the Scandinavians do. In the US, it seems like you rarely find rhubarb without strawberry to mellow it’s tartness. But in Norway, rhubarb stands very much on its own. In fact, R remembers as a child being given stalks of raw rhubarb with a small bag of sugar for dipping and munching.”

Tart rhubarb, tart raspberries, in a sweet, cornmeal cake. Just delicious! And I love the ‘corny’ taste and texture of this cake too.

I adapted the recipe from this recipe for raspberry and lemon polenta cake  by Jane Hornby. Jane’s recipe is for a layered polenta cake, filled with a cream cheese filling. I left out the filling all together and simply made a single cake, adding rhubarb.

Add most the fruit to the batter and bake half way. Then sprinkle more berries on top of the half-cooked cake and continue baking.

Ever baked a cake with fruits in it and all the fruits sink to the bottom? Jane has the solution! Its a great trick for getting this cake to look beautiful too. Reserve some of the berries and then sprinkle them on top of your cake half way through baking. The cake should still be jiggly when you do this. Gently press the berries into the batter like the picture above and return cake to the oven. The batter will bake around the berries and when its done, you’ll have a perfect, berry studded cake!

You can store this cake covered at room temperature for about 2-3 days or wrapped tightly in the fridge for about 4-5 days. Serve with icecream or homemade rhubarb-raspberry compote.

Rhubarb Raspberry Polenta or Cornmeal Cake Recipe

adapted from this recipe  by Jane Hornby
serves about 8

8 oz or 225 grams sugar
8 oz or 225 grams butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz or 175 grams fine cornmeal or polenta
1.75 oz or 50 grams flour(I used cake flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pre-heat oven to 375F. Butter a 9 inch cake tin or baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a standing mixer, cream the sugar and butter together for about 3 minutes. Then add the eggs to this mixture one by one. Beat on high speed till the mixture is fluffy. Add vanilla and turn off the mixer.

Sift together the cornmeal/polenta, flour, baking powder and salt. Fold this into the egg mixture in 2 batches. Stir in lemon zest. Pour this batter into the baking dish or cake tin.

Reserve about 1/8 cup of the rhubarb and 1/8 cup of raspberries. Sprinkle the rest of the rhubarb and raspberries on top of the cake batter. Smooth out the top. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. The cake should still be jiggly, but risen. At this stage, take out the cake from the oven. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Sprinkle the lemon juice-sugar mixture all over the top of the cake.

Then arrange the reserved rhubarb pieces and raspberries on top of the half cooked cake. Gently poke them into the batter (but dont poke them all the way in — see picture in post above).  Return cake to the oven and bake another 10 minutes. Cool cake slightly before removing it from the pan.

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Comments

comments

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sonia May 11, 2010 at 7:20 pm

This cake is risen perfectly even if you’ve took out in middle of baking (for poking rhubarb and raspberries). Pics are really helpful. My experience with polenta was not quite good but your cake result made me convinced again. :)

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

You want the cake to be risen, but still wobbly when you put the second batch of fruit it. This way, they dont sink to the bottom. If you dont like polenta, you could easily substitute it with flour.

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2 Trudy (veggie num num) May 11, 2010 at 7:47 pm

This cake looks truly special!! Yum!! Makes me wish it was spring here too… :)

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3 Andrea May 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm

You are too cute. Also, I’m so jealous of your pictures. Teach me! And, thanks for the tip about putting the berries on the cake half-way through its bake time. I really, really love this cake. Really!

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4 nags May 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I saw polenta yesterday in the supermarket and wondered how a cake would taste made with it. There you go! :)

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5 Sharmilee May 11, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Lovely color of the cake..looks absolutely yum!

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6 Dana May 11, 2010 at 11:40 pm

The photos are so lovely, Sala. You styled them beautifully. I have kind of a problem with cornmeal in desserts. I’m always shocked by that crunch. I don’t mind the flavor but I find the texture off-putting. This is so lovely though and I am inspired to see the combination of rhubarb and raspberries.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Hi Dana! Its funny you say that because I actually like the crunch and texture from the cornmeal! But yes, it is different from regular cake! You could easily substitute the polenta/cornmeal with all purpose flour or cake flour.

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7 pavithra May 11, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Beautiful beautiful beautiful.. looks so perfect and nice tip to insert the fruit halfway .. Damn tempting …..

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8 Manasi May 12, 2010 at 1:16 am

Ummmmmmmmmmm!!! B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!
I have seen polenta in the store, but it was packed like a sausage…. maybe that is a cooked version.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Yes, the sausage looking polenta in a tube is already cooked (and sometimes flavored). You dont want to use that. Look for fine ground yellow cornmeal :) Semolina may also work.

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9 Nithya May 12, 2010 at 2:22 am

Wow.. fantastic and drool worthy pics and the cake is terribly yummy :)

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10 Syrie May 12, 2010 at 3:50 am

Your photos are simply stunning. Perfect colours and a gorgeous looking cake.

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11 Jacqueline May 12, 2010 at 6:17 am

That looks gorgeous and the photos are just a joy. I absolutely love rhubarb, so this is the cake for me, although I have never cooked with polenta before. I loved the fruit tip, that is a great one to pass on.

ps the dipping of freshly picked rhubarb in sugar is a Scottish thing too : )

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12 lisa May 12, 2010 at 11:43 am

I’ve been thinking about a polenta cake lately, and you’ve answered my thoughts! How beautiful! I love rhubarb — fantastic flavor in this recipe. Lovely, lovely presentation!

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13 Pari May 12, 2010 at 11:49 am

Lovely cake, looks gorgeous.

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14 Brian May 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Such an adorable cake! Great post! I can’t wait to try it!

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15 shubha May 12, 2010 at 3:33 pm

it seems to me like a must try one

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16 Anh May 12, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Such a beautiful cake. I adore rhubarb, but they are not so good now where I am. So, saving this recipe until I find a better looking one!

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17 shaz May 13, 2010 at 3:24 am

Thta looks so stunning, what a great tip with the fruit. I adore raspberries and rhubarb and corn, so I’m keeping this recipe in a safe place until summer…so long to wait :)

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18 Soma May 13, 2010 at 11:13 am

I love corncakes and just by reading I know this is for me. I am bookmarking this. Lovely vibrant summery colors in the pictures Sala.

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19 M. May 13, 2010 at 11:51 pm

another beautiful way to use rhubarb!!!
great photos, too!

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20 Michelle May 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Very handy tips for baking with fruit. I have to admit I have never cooked rhubarb before but sooner or later I will take the plunge. Beautiful photos….as usual!

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21 indosungod May 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm

That cake looks fantastic. I bought some fresh rhubarb from our local Lancaster market. I could not resist their fresh look.

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22 Su-yin May 15, 2010 at 6:15 am

This looks gorgeous. I’ve seen this recipe on BBC Good Food, bookmarked it, but have yet to try it. Loving your twist on it! :)

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23 Kaitlin May 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm

WOW! Gorgeous photos! I love the wooden cutlery :)

This recipe sounds absolutely fantastic. I think I might make it later tonight! Thanks for sharing!

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24 Cham May 17, 2010 at 7:18 pm

That is a wonderful creation, i never did anything with rhubarb!

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25 Lauren September 19, 2010 at 7:52 am

This recipe was amazing! But, just a word of advice for American bakers – ounces refers to weight, not volume. Ideally, use a scale, but these are the measurements I used:
8 oz or 225 grams sugar = approx. 1 1/4 cups
8 oz or 225 grams butter = approx. 1 cup
6 oz or 175 grams cornmeal = approx. 1 1/4 cups
1.75 oz or 50 grams flour = approx. 1/2 cup

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26 Pompaudore in Wasatch Mountains June 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I also ate rhubarb raw out of my Grandmother’s garden. She was Irish. We didn’t use sugar. We might have used salt but I can’t remember.

She stewed the rhubarb, sliced, in water, probably with sugar, … and … much to my delight as a young child … added little, red cinnamon candies to the stew … for both flavor and color. After it cooled, we ate in bowls using spoons. I was served by itself as a mid-afternoon snack.

There is something mysterious which connects us to a deep, human, … perhaps ancient Celtic past.

Your recipe looks delicious. Thank you.

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27 Mizz Thang March 15, 2012 at 7:02 am

What can I substitute for Rhubarb? I’d like to make this cake but there isn’t any available near me.

Great lookin cake!
Can’t wait to try it!

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

you can use extra raspberries, or a mix of berries

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