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Citrus-Polenta Cake With Limoncello Icing

Citrus-Polenta Cake With Limoncello Icing
Susan Russo for NPR

This rustic Italian polenta cake is laced with aromatic lemon, lime and orange zest and topped with a crunchy limoncello icing. Enjoy it as an afternoon snack with a glass of wine, as a dessert with a cordial, or as breakfast the following morning with a mug of hot coffee.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

2 sticks butter (1 cup)

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1/4 cup creamy limoncello

Zest of 1 small lemon (about 2 teaspoons)

Zest of 1 small lime (about 2 teaspoons)

Zest of 1 small orange (about 1 tablespoon)

1 cup fine cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Lemon zest curls, for garnish

Limoncello Icing

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

2 teaspoons plus several droplets of limoncello

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line bottom and sides with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in limoncello and fruit zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the creamed mixture and beat on low until just combined.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Invert cake onto a rack, then turn right side up. Cool completely before icing.

Make the icing by placing confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Start by adding 2 teaspoons of limoncello, then add more droplets as needed. Whisk until icing is smooth and thin yet clings to the back of a spoon. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing over the top of the cake. Garnish with lemon zest curls. Let cool completely before slicing.

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