Polenta Pound Cake with Madeira Cream


  • ½ pound sweet butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 ¼ cups fine cornmeal
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Madeira


Heat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan and dust with cornmeal.

Beat the butter, lemon zest, and all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks one at time. Add the almond and vanilla extracts, soda, and sour cream and mix. Mix in 1 cup of the cornmeal, the flour and salt.

Whip the whites until stiff but not dry and fold into the batter.

Bake until a thin skewer stuck in the center comes out clean, about 1½ hours. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes and then unmold the cake.

Whip the cream, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and Madeira together until soft peaks form. Serve with slices of the warm pound cake.