Thyme & Polenta Pound Cake

I’m sad and somewhat embarrassed to admit that I’ve never been much of a gardener.  I want to be so badly.  My mom has a very green thumb and I envy it.  I’ve tried – and failed – many times.  Herbs, tomatoes, potted plants, and just no luck.

But I have a new determination this year.  The former owner of our new home was a Master Gardener.  Master Gardener, people.  My mother-in-law is a Master Gardener.  I am not.  But our yard is beautifully landscaped, there are many different flowers and plants and shrubs planted; the wisteria is blooming on our back deck and I’m totally terrified that I’m going to kill something.  So I am fully determined to change my black thumb into a green one, and I’m determined to do it quickly!

Thyme & Polenta Pound Cake

Last weekend I went to a plant sale that is put on by the local Master Gardeners and bought a few things, including lots of fresh herbs, and spent one afternoon this week planting everything.  I guess I’m off to a good start, right?!

Of course, one herb I planted was thyme.  I loved the satisfaction of walking out onto the deck and picking it right from my planter.  I really love thyme but I really don’t love picking all of those leaves off of the stems!  However, the effort was completely worth it for this pound cake.  I came across this recipe in the recent issue of Fine Cooking Magazine and fell in love immediately.  The sweetness of the polenta was a perfect match with the fresh thyme and the fresh blueberry sauce is so simple, with a little touch of lemon.  This pound cake screams spring!

Thyme & Polenta Pound Cake

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Thyme & Polenta Pound Cake with Simple Blueberry Sauce

Yield: 10 slices

Prep Time: 15 min

Total Time: 2 hours 10 min

Soft and buttery and full of summer flavor with polenta, fresh thyme and a simple blueberry sauce.

Ingredients:

for the blueberry sauce:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs. water
1 pint fresh blueberries
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt

for the pound cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 2/3 ounces (1 2/3 cups) cake flour
1/3 cup polenta
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract

Directions:

for the blueberry sauce:
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the blueberries, lemon zest and salt and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens slightly, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

for the pound cake:
Heat the oven to 325 degrees and generously spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl, mix the cake flour, polenta, thyme leaves and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy and white, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well after each addition. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix just to combine.

Add the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed and mix just until all of the dry ingredients are combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Tap gently on the counter to pop any air bubbles. Bake for 75 to 80 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the loaf pan on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes, then gently remove from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Serve warm with the prepared blueberry sauce.

Recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine, June/July 2013

Thyme & Polenta Pound Cake with Simple Blueberry Sauce