I had a 2-pound package of fresh cherries in the ‘fridge just screaming to be made into a dessert. And I had a magazine with a polenta pound cake with blueberry sauce. A dessert was born.

The pound cake recipe looked solid – it just needed a few tweaks. The blueberry sauce just looked too expected. The cherries, on the other hand, mixed with key lime juice, was the UNexpected.

I went to work.

I reworked the cake recipe, made up the cherry sauce recipe, and smiled at every bite. The polenta adds a nice little bite to the cake. It changes the texture juuuuuust a tad in a really good way. The pinch of thyme adds a slight hint of savory that plays  off the cherries and key lime. I used dry thyme because my herb garden is still in its infancy. If you use fresh, use more.

Polenta Pound Cake

adapted from Fine Cooking magazine

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 cups cake flour
  • 1/3 cup polenta
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs – room temperature
  • 1 tbsp key lime juice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°. Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, thyme, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add key lime juice and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the flour until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few small, moist crumbs attached, 75 to 90 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate or cutting board. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature, topped with the cherries.

Key Lime Cherry Sauce

  • 1 pound fresh cherries, pitted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp key lime juice
  • pinch salt

Combine ingredients in saucepan. Bring to a boil and let boil uninterrupted for about 5 minutes. Cool and then chill. Serve cold or at room temp.

The cherries would totally rock over ice cream and the pound cake could be eaten out of hand.

Two separate concepts that just rock together.