Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

It’s sale season and I’m doing some hard-core shopping, mostly from the comfort of my own home of course.

But it’s hard work.  Harder than writing.  Harder than finding an agent.  Well, maybe it’s not that hard but still it’s not easy.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

I scour websites for designer finds I love in my size.  That’s the complicated part.  There are so many things, pretty things, things I would love to have, sometimes hundreds of them.  But almost none of them are my size.  You know, there’s that awesome pair of velvet pumps that I’ve been searching for all season in a random 10.5.

Right now the sales are all entering final sale phase.  What are your thoughts on final sale items?  I get it.  I totally get it.  These sites and stores have had this merchandise for what feels to them an eternity.  It’s marked down at least 70% and they never ever want to see it again.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

If I’m in a store and I try something on and love it, I’ll probably buy it.  Though I have had those moments when I try something on at home again and wonder if I was looking into a magical mirror or had lost my mind temporarily.  Still, I’ll take my chances.

Sitting at home, though, how am I supposed to have faith that gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana dress I have been lusting after for a year will fit.  It’s not worth the risk.  Not at all.  My fashion loving, anxiety ridden mind is overwhelmed by the possibilities.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

And so I make cake … and eat it for breakfast because Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake is pretty much made for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee.

Grapes are an underutilized fruit in baking.  When baked (or roasted with vegetables for a savory application) they become jammy and super sweet, practically melting in your mouth.  They pair so well with the fruitiness of a great olive oil and the slight texture from polenta aka cornmeal.

You could definitely serve this for an afternoon snack or dessert with some whipped cream or ice cream, but it really belongs at breakfast.  The perfect fuel for a day of shopping, decision making, and risk taking.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 8 servings


1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup fine cornmeal
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups seedless red grapes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together eggs, sugar, and oil until very well combined and lightened slightly in color. Alternately add the milk and flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the lemon and orange zest and vanilla bean paste. Stir in the grapes and pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool completely in the pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about 1 hour or in the microwave about 1 minute.


Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

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