I received free samples of California Dried Plums mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Dried Plum Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Dried Plum and Hazelnut Polenta Cake. A rustic treat that’s just slightly sweet, buttery and perfect paired with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea.

Dried Plum and Hazelnut Polenta Cake via JennySheaRawn.com
May kicks off National Osteoporosis Month and The California Dried Plum Board has challenged ReDuxers to share creative ways to use bone-building California dried plums (yes, dried plums – the same dried plums that were previously known as the less fancy, old-fashioned prunes) in everyday cooking.

Dried plums are one fruit that just isn’t top of mind for me. I just don’t think to eat them nor are they a regular staple in our kitchen. But as I was experimenting in the kitchen with this sweet little fruit and snacking on many along the way, I remembered just how most, soft, yummy and naturally sweet they are.

I also have never thought about dried plums as bone-health supporting – when I think dried plums I think digestive health (lots of fiber!). But, emerging research shows that eating dried plums may have positive effects on bone health. Studies have shown eating 100 grams (2 servings; about 8-10 dried plums) of dried plums a day for one year was associated with increased bone mineral density and improved indices of bone turnover in postmenopausal women (CaliforniaDriedPlums.org). Good news.

Bone-building and digestive health supporting, dried plums are a healthful sweet snack. Plus they also wear many other lesser-known culinary hats. They can:
– serve as a purée in your favorite breakfast baked good
– enhance the flavor in your favorite marinade
– add moisture and texture to meats, breads, pie crusts and baked goods
– serve as a sub for fats and sugars

And in the case of this Dried Plum and Hazelnut Polenta Cake, the dried plums add just the right amount of sweetness, texture and moisture to this cake.

Dried Plum and Hazelnut Polenta Cake via JennySheaRawn.com

Top the cake with a dollop of creamy Greek yogurt for a not-too-sweet, satisfying dessert that pairs perfect with a cup of coffee or tea mid-day or a glass of cold milk at night. We enjoyed this cake on the deck mid-day as a break from bathroom reno, laying mulch and gardening. A well deserved treat.

Dried Plum and Hazelnut Polenta Cake via JennySheaRawn.com

Dried Plum and Hazelnut Polenta Cake
Serves: 8
Time: 40 minutes
• 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
• 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ cup salted butter, softened
• 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla powder (or extract if you don’t have powder)
• 2 eggs
• 2 5.3 oz containers plain Greek yogurt, reserve 1 for topping
• 6 oz chopped California Dried Plums, reserve 1 oz for topping (about 20 dried plums)
• 2/3 cup toasted hazelnuts (toasted on a baking sheet for 5 min at 350 degrees), reserve 2 Tbsp for topping

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 with 10-inch cast-iron skillet inside*. Combine cornmeal, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. In another mixing bowl, combine salted butter, brown sugar and vanilla powder (or vanilla). Beat with an electric mixer on medium for 20-30 seconds then add the eggs and beat an additional 30 seconds until well combined. Add 1 5.3 oz container Greek yogurt and beat just until combined. Stir in dry cornmeal mixture by hand. Remove skillet carefully from the oven (it’s hot!). Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Add batter to skillet and place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Slice and serve with reserved Greek yogurt, dried plums and hazelnuts.

*You can use a smaller skillet, just bump cooking time slightly. If you use a cake pan (versus a cast-iron skillet), cooking time will also be longer.

Visit these ReDuxer sites for more great bone-building dried plum recipes:

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