Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake

OR, Fluted Cornmeal and Yogurt Cake (with Dates)

After scanning this recipe, and my larder, I realized I would either have to go to the store, or get creative.

I chose the latter.

After scanning the recipe and seeing sugar AND honey, AND a stick of butter (always makes me heart skip a beat), I decided to see just how much recipe alteration I could get away with.

Turns out, quite a lot!

I chose yogurt, not just because I had about a half gallon on hand, but because I make my own, and I knew the addition would be delicious, and nutritious.

Being a probiotic, yogurt has frequently been studied for it's many beneficial effects. I found an example of a published article where researchers studied the beneficial application of probiotics, where "the affects of probiotics at suppressing the growth of bacteria which convert procarcinogens into carcinogens, thereby reducing the amount of carcinogens in the intestine"1 were beneficial in colon and breast cancer.

Near to my own heart, I found a study where investigators examined the use of yogurt to treat bacterial vaginosis (a common cause of bacterial infection) during pregnancy 2. Pregnancy is a time where special precautions must be taken when using any medications, therefore the potential to use yogurt to treat a pregnant patient is very interesting.

On to the Cake!

Here's my (severely altered) recipe for Fluted Cornmeal & Yogurt Date Cake

500 g chopped dates
1 C yellow corn meal
1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 C yogurt (I make whole milk yogurt)
1/4 C water
1/2 C honey
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 large eggs
4 TBS room temperature unsalted butter

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 10 ½-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Toss dates into a small pan of boiling water and steep for a minute, then drain and pat dry. Chop dates into smaller pieces.

Whisk the corn meal, flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the yogurt and water and lemon juice together on low speed until very smooth. With the mixer at medium speed, add the honey, and lemon zest and beat until light. Beat in the melted butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are fully incorporated. You’ll have a sleek, smooth, pourable batter. Mix in chopped dates. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth out.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.

This is my weekly submission to Tuesdays with Dorie, hosted by Laurie of quirky cupcake. Check out all the other creations by my fellow TWD bakers. A big thank you to Catlin of Engineer Baker for picking this weeks recipe. Come back next week as we tackle Peanut Butter Torte.

1. Nova E, Wärnberg J, Gómez-Martínez S, Díaz LE, Romeo J, Marcos A. Immunomodulatory effects of probiotics in different stages of life. Br J Nutr. 2007 Oct;98 Suppl 1:S90-5.

2. Neri A, Sabah G, Samra Z. Bacterial vaginosis in pregnancy treated with yoghurt. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1993 Jan;72(1):17-9.


CB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CB said...

^ oops!

Take 2.

Way to make the recipe your own. Interesting info about yogurt. Good thing I had some for breakfast this morning ;)
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Donna said...

Great idea to use the yogurt! It probably lightened up the cake as well as made it tastier.
You know, cake and vaginosis just don't go together! he he!

Anonymous said...

Good job on the improvising. I have Crohn's disease and I'm a big fan of probiotics.

Bumblebutton said...

Plus yogurt is yummy and I bet your cake was too--especially with the dates. Way to go improvising!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea about all the health benefits of yogurt. I may try to make it again using yogurt.

Rebecca said...

You know, I really hadn't thought about even trying to make some of these recipes a little lighter or more nutritional. Thanks for that whack on the side of the head. :)

PheMom said...

I like the substitutions. Though I didn't love the cake it is good to know it is fairly versatile.

Blanchardlawn said...

Ok, I just finished reading your LAST Tuesday's post with the carrot cake. I have to take exception with your comment that it's a myth that carrots don't help your vision. Well, ok, you're right that it would be a ridiculously large ammount that would have to be consumed before the beta-carotene & vitamin A would help, but from personal experience I can tell you that if you eat 1/2 gallon of delicous buttery sweet potatoes over the course of 1 beautiful Thanksgiving day (don't judge), you will be shocked at how bright the room looks after you turn off the lights. It only happened to me once, but it was the craziest thing. And yes, I really did eat about half a gallon.

LyB said...

I love that this recipe can take so many great substitutions! It looks delicious, and way to make it healthier!

Gretchen Noelle said...

How do you make your own yogurt? I hope you share more! Great job changing the recipe this way!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I like the idea of using dates instead of figs, love dates! This is such an easy recipe to play around with, I also cut out the sugar completely and just used honey.

Natalie said...

They really really need to figure out a way to put taste files up on web sites! I'd love to sample all the different flavors and mods - like this one!