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For the pound cake: 1 cup Anson Mills Artisan Fine Polenta, divided 4 cups all-purpose flour 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 2 1/4 cups sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 eggs 3 Tbs. lemon zest, divided 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme, divided 1 Tbs. turbinado sugar For the blueberries & bay laurel syrup: 2-3 Tbs. turbinado sugar 1 -2 Tbs. water 1 tsp. kosher salt 4 fresh bay leaves 10 juniper berries, optional 2 pints blueberries, washed Peel of 1 lemon—not zest and no white pith Extra-virgin olive oil
For the pound cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 10 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans with nonstick baking spray. Sprinkle 1/4 cup polenta in each pan and shake pans to coat. Pour out excess polenta. In a separate bowl, mix flour, remaining 1/2 cup polenta, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add olive oil and cream again. Add eggs one at a time, beating until evenly incorporated. Add half the dry mixture and incorporate. Add the other half and incorporate. Add two tablespoons lemon zest and one tablespoon thyme and incorporate. Do not over-mix. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle tops with remaining lemon zest, thyme, and turbinado sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until crusts are golden and cake tester (or wooden skewer) is clean when removed from cakes. Remove cakes from pans and cool on a cake rack. For the blueberries & bay laurel syrup: Put sugar, water, salt, bay leaves, and juniper berries in small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, stir until sugar is dissolved, and allow syrup mixture to completely cool. Remove juniper berries if used. Place blueberries in bowl and pour syrup over them. When ready to serve, slice pound cake and spoon blueberries with syrup over it. Lightly sprinkle with lemon peel and extra-virgin olive oil.