This Polenta Peach Cake Is the Perfect End-of-Summer Dessert

Use your overripe peaches (or apples, plums, or pears) in this cornmeal-based cake.

Christine: There’s something both necessary and wonderful about a recipe you can knock together with a few pantry items and whatever is slowly going soft in your fruit bowl. I recommend peaches for this recipe, but you would do just as well to rescue some sad-looking apples, pears or plums. Because this cake has a high fruit-to-cake ratio, it makes two (!) cakes, so you can give one to your neighbour and really make it look like you have your life together, or you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it.

(Related: This Roasted Cauliflower Recipe Is a Showstopper)

Polenta peach cake

Makes 2 (9-inch/1.5 L) round cakes


  • ½ cup (125 mL) medium grind cornmeal
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup (125 mL) full-fat plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or 3 to 4 drops rosemary essential oil (optional; see Tip)
  • 7 medium ripe peaches
  • Mildred’s Yogurt Sauce (page 258), for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease 2 (9-inch/1.5 L) round cake pans.
  2. Place the cornmeal in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil and rosemary, if using.
  5. Add about half of the flour mixture to the bowl with the butter and sugar mixture. Stir until just combined. To the same bowl, add about half of the yogurt mixture. Stir until just combined. Repeat, making sure not to overmix or the cake will become tough.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Firmly press the fruit, skin side down, into the batter.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the edges of the cake start to pull away from the pan. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve on its own or with a dollop of Mildred’s Yogurt Sauce (page 258), if desired.
  8. Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.

Tip: Using essential oils is a quick way to add flavour to a recipe. Source high-quality, food grade organic oils such as rosemary, orange, lemon and cinnamon and use them in place of conventional spices or zest.

Excerpted from How to Eat with One Hand. Copyright © 2020 by Christine Flynn and Emma Knight. Photography by Suech and Beck. Published by Penguin Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Next, spice up your brunch with chilaquiles

Originally Published in Best Health Canada