The task for this week was Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake chosen by Caitlin of Engineer Baker. It seemed from the beginning that this cake had an uphill battle to climb. I have to say, if I was baking through this book on my own, I would have completely skipped over this recipe. And, according to the reactions of some others in the Tuesdays with Dorie group, they were still happy to skip over it. The ingredients are a little unusual and there is no mouthwatering visual to tempt you in the book. When Caitlin chose it, however, I got very curious and couldn’t wait to see and taste the end result.
Normally, I bake on Sundays (full time job, full time mother, full time wife…you get the idea) but I thought this might be a good cake for our Friday Breakfast Club at work and, I admit, I was impatient to see the end result.
I subbed out the figs (meh) for dried apricots and “cherry” craisins. After reading the comments of others who had forged ahead, I cut down a little on the sugar and unintentionally ended up using about half honey half agave nectar. I would have bet money there was 3/4 cup of honey in that bear. Good thing I am not a betting woman. I used a 9.5inch tart pan and poured the remainder into 4 ramekins for mini-cakes. So far so good.
Dorie says the cake is better the next day but I am not known for patience when baked goods come out of the oven. I gobbled up one of the little ramekins and thought it was pretty good. Somewhere between a very sweet cornbread and cake. I gave one of the mini-cakes to my son, Will, for breakfast the next day. He halfheartedly took one bite and told me he was allergic — his way of saying he doesn’t like something without actually saying he doesn’t like it.
I toted my full cake to work hoping for a better reaction. I have worked in many offices and they all share one trait in common. Free food is devoured on sight. I was confident that you could set almost anything in the kitchen and it would be gone in record time. Until I met my poor misunderstood polenta cake. Bad enough to be snubbed my dessert loving son (I told myself it was just too sophisticated for him) but to be snubbed by an entire floor full of adults?? By the end of the day only slightly more than half was gone. I heard a rumor that someone was telling everyone it was cornbread. I guess “cornbread” with apricots wasn’t so appealing to the masses and I wasn’t about to start force feeding my co-workers. I started to feel sorry for the maligned cake and ate another piece (after swearing I wouldn’t). Still feeling badly (irrationally, I know) for the cake, I ate another ramekin Friday night.
So, bottom line: The cake tasted good…the kind of cake I would be happy to be served but would not buy or order on my own. I probably wouldn’t have made it again anyway, but, after it’s less than enthusiastic reception, it’s definitely out of the repertoire. My waistline can’t take the pressure of eating all of the leftovers. I am glad I made it, though. As much as I like my usuals, life would be awfully boring with no surprises. To see if the others fared better check out Tuesdays with Dorie.
Next week: Peanut Butter Torte (yum….) chosen by Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food.