Fresh Fig and Polenta Cake with Honey and Rosemary

It’s a shame I’m not better at photographing baked goods, because I’m actually pretty good at making them. I’m pretty good at eating them too. Actually, I’m a little too good at that. For that reason I don’t bake very often, and since when I do the picture is usually terrible, you don’t get to see too many of those indulgent treats on my blog.

But this is an exception.
Not in photo quality, perse, just in the fact that I couldn’t resist sharing it. It would have been wise to spend some time perusing my gal Bridget’s blog for photo inspiration, where I can always count on finding a new and beautifully captured baked good. I suppose I was a little too anxious to get to the part I’m good at: eating.

Obviously I’m lying. Obviously that cut slice in the picture is not the end piece, so you know I ate some before I got to snapping away. It’s just that I was getting frustrated with taking all those photos and not feeling impressed, or even just satisfied, with a single one. I wanted to get back to eating. At least when I was eating, I knew I had done well. Much moreso than one could tell from looking at a picture. My photograph does not tell you anything about the tender crumb with an addicting-ly gritty little bite that comes from yogurt and cornmeal in the mix. It doesn’t convey how fresh figs cook into tender, sweet morsels, or how the cake is just a tad sugary so that most of the sweetness comes from a sticky honey glaze. I probably don’t need to mention how that glaze keeps the cake deliciously moist for days. But I do need to tell you about how it’s infused with rosemary, adding just the right amount of savory, earthy flavor to this sweet treat. Believe me, it still passes for dessert – I wish I had taken a picture of my husband’s face as he took his first bite as proof.

Fresh Fig and Polenta Cake with Honey and Rosemary

1 1/4 cups (150gm) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (75gm) yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup (100gm) granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt or strained (I used fat free)
1 cup chopped fresh figs
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons water
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a standard sized loaf pan. If desired, line with parchment (I never know how to get parchment neatly into a loaf pan.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vegetable oil until smooth. Stir in the yogurt and vanilla extract until fully incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and gently mix just until incorporated. Fold in the chopped figs and pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, stir the honey and water together in a small saucepan and add the rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool off just a bit.

Poke holes in the top of the cake. Strain the warm syrup and pour it evenly over the cake. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

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26 Responses to “Fresh Fig and Polenta Cake with Honey and Rosemary”

  1. 1

    Dawn — September 8, 2010 @ 2:19 pm Reply

    This sounds heavenly. I'm the same way about photographing (and eating) baked goods.

  2. 2

    sTyliSH1 — September 8, 2010 @ 2:32 pm Reply

    This looks absolutely delicious! I wasn't hungry before but not those grumbling sounds are happening! This is going to be a must try this winter for sure.

  3. 3

    Katie @ Health for the Whole Self — September 8, 2010 @ 4:34 pm Reply

    I am, quite simply, a terrible baker. But considering this contains so many of my favorite ingredients, I may just give it a shot anyway!

  4. 4

    Notes from the Fatty File — September 8, 2010 @ 4:37 pm Reply

    Who needs photography when you have mouth-watering words to describe this amazing cake? You really had me at rosemary and figs. Sounds divine.

  5. 5

    Joanne — September 8, 2010 @ 5:34 pm Reply

    I am actually seriously bad at taking pictures of baked goods as well. And it makes no sense to my why since I'm pretty okay at taking pictures of savories!I am loving this. Figs and polenta and honey and rosemary…does life get any better? I think now.I just posted a fig recipe as well! With rosemary! Great minds think alike…

  6. 6

    JuLo — September 8, 2010 @ 6:21 pm Reply

    Haha! I know exactly what you mean! Cakes and breads are so hard to get a good picture of. It's a constant battle. But I think you did just fine. It looks good enough to eat, right? That's what matters. ;)

  7. 7

    Jennifurla — September 8, 2010 @ 7:09 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing, what a unique combo – I would love to have a slice

  8. 8

    Shannon — September 8, 2010 @ 9:07 pm Reply

    i need to get to the store and pick up more figs, asap!! sounds lovely, and i think you're too hard on yourself re: photography!

  9. 9

    Krystal — September 8, 2010 @ 10:17 pm Reply

    Cara…this looks fabulous, my stomach just growled as I read the post! I can't wait to make it myself now! YUM!!! Thanks for posting a great recipe!

  10. 10

    Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) — September 8, 2010 @ 11:35 pm Reply

    happy holidays honey! I gave you a little shoutout in my post today b/c I was thinking of you :) and clearly, you've been a busy girl in the kitch…wow, amazing!!!! :)

  11. 11

    Elina — September 9, 2010 @ 12:39 pm Reply

    I HATE when I can't get a decent picture in and just give up and then I'm just hoping my words will do the dish justice. This really does sound fantastic!!! Happy Rosh a shana :D

  12. 12

    grace — September 9, 2010 @ 12:54 pm Reply

    i just noticed the label you've given this particular delight. hilarious. :)

  13. 13

    yumventures — September 10, 2010 @ 10:17 pm Reply

    Looks amazing! Happy new year :)

  14. 14

    Seglare — September 12, 2010 @ 4:26 pm Reply

    This sounds wonderful! :) I wonder how it would turn out with dried figs (maybe soaked in water first)? I love fresh figs, but it's nearly impossible to find them here. :(

  15. 15

    Kerstin — September 13, 2010 @ 1:19 am Reply

    What a complex and lovely cake! And your pics are great too.

  16. 16

    Maria — September 14, 2010 @ 3:25 am Reply

    I love all of these flavors!

  17. 17

    preventionrd.com — September 14, 2010 @ 8:30 pm Reply

    Wow! That looks and sounds amazing! Fig…honey…rosemary? I have to try this!I agree, though – baked goods are hard to photograph!

  18. 18

    Alexandra London-Gross — September 14, 2010 @ 11:57 pm Reply

    This look incredible! Anything with figs and honey is right up my alley.Alex @ ieatasphalt.com

  19. 19

    Barbara — September 16, 2010 @ 1:40 pm Reply

    I don't know, Cara, that looks pretty darn delicious to me!

  20. 20

    Bridget — September 16, 2010 @ 10:52 pm Reply

    I LOVE cornmeal in baked goods…and pancakes :) This bread looks and sounds delicious!! I feel like it could welcome so many different flavors too.

  21. 21

    preventionrd.com — September 18, 2010 @ 12:20 am Reply

    Made this tonight…AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

  22. 22

    Olga — September 19, 2010 @ 3:27 pm Reply

    this looks gorgeous! love fresh figs…I would probably try making a similar cake with a cornbread mix :)

  23. 23

    Jessica — September 20, 2010 @ 12:52 am Reply

    Made this yesterday for guests… Everyone loved it and I can't stop thinking about it! It was just the right amount of rosemary, and you can't go wrong with figs. Mmm!

  24. 24

    Elina (Healthy and Sane) — September 9, 2011 @ 11:09 pm Reply

    I think log cakes like this are hard to photograph. I made 2 zucchini bread loaves last weekend and am almost done eating both… before any pictures have been taken. Just can't even think of how to make it look good! What counts is taste though and this one sounds delicious! :)

  25. 25

    Sally — September 23, 2012 @ 5:17 pm Reply

    Made this with self raising GF flour, margarine, dried figs and lemon zest instead of rosemary, and it was an absolute triumph. Great recipe.

    • 25.1

      Cara — September 23, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

      So glad you liked it! And, your comment couldn’t be more timely. I just happen to have some fresh figs to use up and I’m glad you reminded me of this recipe :)

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