Sweet polenta blueberry cake

Fresh blueberries bring back memories of making Finnish style pancakes with my Mom and picking wild berries in the woods in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Whenever I happen upon carton boxes overflowing with my favorite berries I take them home and bake a cake. Blueberries symbolize American summers and the following recipe is my down-home version of  traditional shortcake. Cornmeal is beautifully yellow in contrast to the midnight blue fruit. A touch of rosemary and lemon give this cake an Italian attitude.


  • 360 grams of organic fine cornmeal
  • ten grams of baking powder
  • 180 grams of unsalted organic butter
  • 60 grams of Turkish or Greek yoghurt . preferably from sheep’s milk
  • 180 grams of local honey
  • the zest and juice of one lemon
  • a teaspoon of organic vanilla extract
  • six fresh organic eggs . size small or medium
  • 180 grams fresh blueberries
  • the leaves of one sprig of fresh rosemary
  • one tablespoon of honey
  • the juice of one organic lemon
  • edible flowers if available

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius. Cut parchment paper to fit a tart pan including the sides of 26 cm in diameter. Sift the cornmeal and baking powder into a bowl.Wash the lemon well and grate the colorful and aromatic zest into the flour. Squeeze the juice of the lemon.Mix the honey, vanilla and lemon juice with a hand-held mixer or food processor until the honey dissolves into the juice.

Add the butter and mix the ingredients until smooth and creamy.Push the ingredients down the sides of the mixing bowl regularly with a spatula so that the butter and lemon-honey become a unified cream, mixing for about five minutes. Add the yoghurt to the butter-honey-lemon cream.Incorporate the eggs one at a time into the creamed honey-lemon-butter. When adding the eggs, pay particular attention to the time. Eggs should be mixed in total no longer than two minutes. This enables the cake to rise well in the baking process.

Scrape the mixing bowl clean with all the butter mixture using a spatula. Fold it by hand gently into the sifted flour until there are no longer any traces of flour. The batter will be pale yellow at this point and slightly thicker than pancake batter. Spoon the fresh blueberries on the bottom of the tart pan. Pour the cake batter on top and spread it until level with the spatula.

Bake the cake at 170 °C for 30-35 minutes. Baking time will depend on the size of the tart pan and the type of oven in use.  Meanwhile chop the sprigs of rosemary very fine with a sharp knife and set aside. The cake is baked when the sides are set, the top is lightly browned and the center bounces back when pushed with your finger tip. Allow the cake to cool in the baking tin. As it cools it will crack in the middle. The blueberries at the bottom of the tart pan make for a moist cake that is lovely served warmer at room temperature.

Squeeze the juice of the lemon. Add the honey to the lemon juice and stir well. Pour the honey and lemon over the warm cake. Top it edible flowers take found in the garden.When ready to serve sprinkle the cake with freshly chopped rosemary. Cover the cake with baking paper until ready to serve. This homemade dessert will keep well two days after baking.


Suggested combinations

Serve the cake with a cup of tea in the late afternoon – with loads of fresh fruit and a big spoon of yoghurt as dessert at a picnic – or toast it in the morning for a breakfast made of cornbread.


This recipe formed part of “The Kitchen Notebook” of recipes I wrote for the Prairie Farm Crossing 2015 summer program.  Read more about this unique farm-to-table learning and teaching experience on “The Mullies”  — a beautiful blog written in real-life-diary-style by Lindsey Shifley — fellow Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Super Ambassador — and partner in making dreams come true starting at the kitchen table.


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