years ago my sister gave me a cookbook called ‘The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook’. it is a compilation of 350 of over 13,000 recipes published in the san francisco chronicle. it is a great cookbook with a variety of recipes that represents the diversity of the city and the influences of the cultural melting pot. there are several recipes from it that i like to revisit year after year. this one in particular is a favorite. the polenta soaked in buttermilk along with the fresh rosemary creates an interestingly sweet and savory cake. the recipe calls for an 8 inch cake pan but i have found my 9 inch bread pan to perfectly acceptable.
1 1/2 c buttermilk
1 c polenta
3 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbs finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 c (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
mix the buttermilk and polenta and let it soak for 45 minutes. *(it is important to let this soak appropriately. do not take any shortcuts here!)
preheat the oven to 350 degrees. butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans (or two 9 inch loaf pans).
sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. stir in the rosemary. cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. fold the soaked polenta alternately with the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. let the cakes cool 5 minutes before turning out on racks to cool.
yields 2 cakes