Honeyed Eggplant and Polenta Cake with Orange Mascarpone Frosting
Honeyed Eggplant and Polenta Cake with Orange Mascarpone Frosting
Rating: (1 rated)
Recipe Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the eggplant purée:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

For the polenta cake:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
2/3 cup polenta
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

For the frosting:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the eggplant purée: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to foam, add the eggplant and salt; turn the heat up to medium-high; and cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant begins to soften and becomes golden on the edges, about 3 minutes.

Add the water, honey, vanilla, and nutmeg; reduce the heat to medium; and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is soft and caramelized, about 6 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is completely soft and a deep golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Transfer the eggplant to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until completely smooth. Set aside and let cool.

Make the polenta cake: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour the side and bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan, making sure to shake out excess flour. (A round of parchment paper may also be used at the bottom, but be sure to butter and flour the side of the pan.)

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, baking powder, and salt to combine; set aside.

In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat together the butter and the sugar, beginning on low speed and increasing to medium-high, until it is whipped and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Add the eggs, one at a time, whipping on medium speed after each addition. Add the vanilla and the eggplant purée, and beat until it is just incorporated. Alternately in 3 rounds, add the dry ingredients and the milk, beating well between each

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