Walnuts and polenta give pound cake just the right heft and texture that will turn heads, maybe even your Mom's.
For the Pound Cake:
- 1/3 cup plus 1 cup toasted California walnuts
- 12 tablespoons plus 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup polenta
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 5 whole eggs, room temperature
Finishing the Cake:
- 1 8-ounce package frozen strawberries, defrosted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- Melted butter for brushing
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Confectioner's sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the 1/3 cup of walnuts in a plastic bag and crush them, using a rolling pin, until they are in small pieces and fine dust. Using 1/2 tablespoon butter, generously grease an 8-inch loaf pan. Dust the loaf pan with the walnuts, tilting the pan, to coat all sides. Tap out the excess.
- Place the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt and 1 cup toasted walnuts in the food processor and pulse until the walnuts are coarsely ground. Cream the remaining 12 tablespoons butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs to break them up. While the mixer is running, very slowly add the whisked eggs a little at a time until the eggs are completely incorporated. Fold in the dry ingredients just until incorporated, but do not over mix. Transfer into the prepared loaf pan and bake until the center is slightly firm when pressed and a skewer comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the defrosted strawberries, sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Blend until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and pour the sauce over fresh strawberries. Stir together gently.
- (Optional) Preheat an outdoor grill. Cut the pound cake into 3/4-inch slices. Brush each side with butter. Grill the pound cake until golden on each side, about 1 minute per side.
- To serve, whip the cream to soft peaks. Flavor with confectioner's sugar. Place one piece of pound cake on each plate. Top with the strawberries, dust with confectioner's sugar and top with a dollop of cream. Serve immediately.