Grilled Polenta Walnut Pound Cake with Strawberries and Cream

Menu PartDessert

Chef Joanne Weir

Cookbook author and culinary instructor

San Francisco, Calif.

This pound cake swaps in cornmeal polenta for some of the flour, a spin on the traditional recipe. Chef Joanne Weir appreciates the contrasting texture the polenta provides, and the mellow cake partners well with crunchy walnuts in the batter and juicy strawberries on top.



1/3 cup plus 1 cup walnuts, toasted

12 tbsp. plus 1/2 tbsp. butter, unsalted, room temperature

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup polenta

tsp. baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

5 eggs, room temperature


8 oz. frozen strawberries, thawed

2 tbsp. sugar

4 cups strawberries, fresh, hulled, quartered

Melted butter, for brushing

1 cup heavy cream

Confectioner’s sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place the 1/3 cup toasted walnuts in a plastic bag and with rolling pin, crush the walnuts until they are in small pieces and fine dust. Using 1 tablespoon butter, generously grease an 8-inch loaf pan. Dust the loaf pan with the crushed walnuts, tilting the pan, to coat all sides. Tap out the excess and set aside pan.
  2. Place the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt and 1 cup toasted walnuts in food processor; pulse until walnuts are coarsely ground.
  3. Cream remaining 12 tablespoons butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until well blended. With the mixer running, very slowly add whisked eggs, a little at a time, until eggs are completely incorporated. Fold gently into polenta mixture just until incorporated; do not over mix.
  5. Transfer batter into prepared loaf pan and bake until center is slightly firm when pressed and a skewer comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes; cool.
  6. In a blender or food processor, combine the thawed strawberries, sugar and 2 tablespoons water; blend until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and pour sauce over fresh strawberries. Stir together gently.
  7. Preheat outdoor grill. Cut cooled pound cake into 3/4-inch slices. Brush each side with butter. Grill pound cake until golden, about 1 minute per side.
  8. To serve, whip cream to soft peaks. Add confectioner’s sugar and whip until incorporated. Place one piece of pound cake on each plate. Top with strawberries, dust with confectioner’s sugar and top with a dollop of cream. Serve immediately.

Photo courtesy of California Walnuts

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