Friday, May 10, 2013

Thyme & Polenta Pound Cake

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

PrintPrint Recipe

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.


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


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


45 Responses to “Thyme & Polenta Pound Cake”

  1. #
    RavieNomNoms — May 10, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    This looks amazing! I love the combination of flavors. YUM! I am going to go check out that confetti cookie pie though!

  2. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — May 10, 2013 @ 7:35 am

    This is too funny – I just opened up a bag of polenta! I want to try making johnnycakes but this looks so good too!!! Great minds. 🙂

  3. #
    Maria — May 10, 2013 @ 7:56 am

    I want a slice right now!

  4. #
    Tieghan — May 10, 2013 @ 7:59 am

    I love polenta, but never thought of using it this way!! This looks so good. I have to try!!

    P.S Good luck on Monday!!

  5. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — May 10, 2013 @ 8:02 am


  6. #
    Rachel Cooks — May 10, 2013 @ 8:05 am

    This is GORGEOUS, Cassie! Love it! Good luck with the garden. I have a total black thumb!

  7. #
    Angie@Angie's Recipes — May 10, 2013 @ 8:06 am

    This is so beautiful and that slice with blueberry sauce looks heavenly!

  8. #
    Laurie {SimplyScratch} — May 10, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    I just died… Seriously Cassie!! Holy crap this sounds AMAZING!

  9. #
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme — May 10, 2013 @ 8:48 am

    This is fabulous, Cassie! What a lovely combination. Thyme is one of my favorites, obviously. I love how its incorporated into this delicious pound cake. Good luck with gardening! 🙂

  10. #
    Courtney @ Neighborfood — May 10, 2013 @ 9:21 am

    That blueberry sauce is just gorgeous! I’ve experimented with gardening the past few years with mixed success. I’ve learned some lessons the hard way, like not planting tomatillos unless you want to have them take over EVERYTHING. Cilantro is still my nemesis in the garden. It’s my favorite herb and it’s always the one that dies on me. This year, cilantro, this year.

    Good luck! i hope you’ll share some of your gardening adventures on the blog!

  11. #
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — May 10, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    Okay, fo’ reals. I need you to teach me how to bake! I love your recipes! I will bring some bubbly! k. thanks!

  12. #
    steph@stephsbitebybite — May 10, 2013 @ 9:39 am

    I love this flavor combination! So perfect for spring!

  13. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — May 10, 2013 @ 10:15 am

    This looks so good, Cassie! I’ve had polenta with berries on my mind for a while.. love that you added fresh thyme!

  14. #
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — May 10, 2013 @ 10:34 am

    Beautiful pound cake, Cassie! I love the sound of thyme in it!

  15. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — May 10, 2013 @ 11:51 am

    I am in love.

  16. #
    Angie — May 10, 2013 @ 11:54 am

    What a pretty pound cake!

  17. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 10, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

    The texture on that pound cake is just perfect, Cassie!

  18. #
    Cookie and Kate — May 10, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

    Good luck with your new garden, Cassie! I’d love to have my own garden someday, but I haven’t had much luck with my potted herbs so we’ll see! This pound cake looks wonderful and I love the polenta/thyme twist.

  19. #
    Shaina — May 10, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

    Are you serious right now? This looks so pretty, and I adore the thyme addition. It’s one of my favorite dessert herbs.

  20. #
    Leah | So, How's It Taste? — May 10, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

    Love the flavors in this & it looks divine with blueberry on top! Good luck on your garden adventures! I can grow herbs, but that is about it. I’ve given up on growing tomatoes. 🙁

  21. #
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — May 10, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

    Delicious-sounding combo!

  22. #
    Anita at Hungry Couple — May 11, 2013 @ 8:50 am

    Wow. I love the use of a savory herb in a sweet dish and the polenta is a great touch. Rather than picking off individual thyme leaves, try holding the stem against the grain (direction of growth) and pulling down all at once. You’ll get all the leaves off in one shot.

  23. #
    Joanne — May 11, 2013 @ 11:20 am

    good luck with the garden! I grew a potted herb garden for a while and it was great…until everything died all over my windowsill lol. What a mess. I’m sure yours will go much better though!

    I love thyme in baked goods and it sounds perfect in this pound cake! The ideal breakfast sweet treat!

  24. #
    Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig — May 11, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

    This is lovely!! I love polenta in cake, especially with herbs, I must try this combo.

    Funny about the gardening. I own, planted and manage my vineyard. I am a viticulturist by trade with plant science as part of my degree…BUT…I kill so many things at home in the garden. It’s kind of pathetic and embarrassing. But I keep trying…good luck!

  25. #
    Audra | The Baker Chick — May 12, 2013 @ 7:17 am

    Woah Cassie I love this- I haven’t baked much with polenta, but this pound cake sounds so wonderful! The addition of thyme sounds so lovely too!

  26. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — May 12, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

    Cassie, can I just say I lOVE YOU for this? Polenta pound cake?!

  27. #
    Tracey — May 12, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

    I’m the same way – I struggle to grow anything successfully! I have had decent luck with herbs (except basil, which hates me…) and am definitely planning to grow thyme this year. Love your pound cake, such a great flavor combo 🙂

  28. #
    Kathryn — May 13, 2013 @ 3:08 am

    How lovely that you’re able to use herbs from your own garden, I bet it makes this cake taste all the better!

  29. #
    Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) — May 13, 2013 @ 6:38 am

    Girl, you and I are in the same boat. Despite all my valiant efforts, I am NOT a gardener. Although I did buy a Meyer lemon tree this year that is still alive… Either way, making this pound cake soon! I love how original it is. 🙂

  30. #
    Yvonne @ bitter baker — May 13, 2013 @ 9:38 am

    I’m exactly the same way! I manage to make every flower in my surrounding all sad 🙁 But I haven’t tried herbs and tomatoes yet.. Maybe I’ll have better luck there. This pound cake looks delicious!

  31. #
    Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — May 13, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    I get so excited over herbs in dessert. I love thyme with citrus and berries… not to mention polenta!

  32. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — May 13, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

    I could go for a slice (or twelve) right now! Fabulous recipe for breakfasts or easy, elegant desserts. Thanks, Cassie!

  33. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — May 13, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

    I’m not a gardener either. I’m actually a plant killer. Maybe I’ll try again at some point.

    Love this pound cake btw. I’ve never cooked with polenta before but I’m sure that’ll change soon!

  34. #
    natalie@thesweetslife — May 13, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

    we have so much thyme growing right now and Ryan keeps telling me to find ways to use it! This is perfect!

  35. #
    carrian — May 13, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

    OH. MY. GORGEOUS. Lovely photos and recipe!!

  36. #
    Meghan — May 13, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

    Beautiful cake & I love the thyme!

  37. #
    Jackie @ Domestic FIts — May 13, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

    I have full faith in your gardening abilities! And this cake is gorgeous, I completely love it.

  38. #
    Sues — May 13, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

    I honestly don’t know what I love best about this! So, I guess just everything?? 🙂

  39. #
    dishing up the dirt — May 13, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

    lady, i became a farmer 4 years ago having had no prior experience in the dirt. If I can do it believe me, you can totally get into the whole gardening thing! I believe in you! This is a gorgeous recipe!

  40. #
    Deborah — May 13, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

    I always like to think that I like gardening, but when it comes down to it, I always hate the maintenance (like pulling weeds in 90 degree weather.) But I do love growing herbs, and this looks and sounds amazing!

  41. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — May 15, 2013 @ 8:37 am

    This combo sounds amazing! You’re very fortunate to have what sounds like beautiful landscaping in place. The previous owners of our hour claimed to have had professional landscaping done, but it’s a huge mess and we’re still pulling weird, random plants that pop up out and trying to salvage it all.

  42. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — May 15, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    I love this, Cassie… especially with that blueberry sauce!

    I have no experience gardening but considering I can’t even keep a basil plant alive won’t have a lot of luck. However, it is my dream to have a veggie garden when we have a house one day!

  43. #
    Mercedes@Satisfy My Sweet Tooth — May 17, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    What great flavors in this cake and I would love to taste that polenta!

  44. #
    nessa — May 19, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

    Thyme is such a great herb and I can’t wait to try this!

  45. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — May 20, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

    This cake is gorgeous 🙂 I absolutely love this recipe!

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