Polenta is my new favourite food. Gluten free and super versatile, I have been trying it out in a number of ways recently (see here for one recipe). While my Irish Soda Bread was baking, I leafed through the same recipe book and found a recipe for a polenta cake! This I just had to try…
Now, this is not quite as simple as the recipes I usually post. But the results are, I promise, well worth the effort! This is my new favourite cake!
Ingredients: (makes one 2 pound cake)
For the cake:
- Scant 1/2 cup melted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups polenta/cornmeal
- 2/3 cup ground almonds
- 1 1/2 tsp (gluten-free, if you so wish) baking powder
- 3/4 tsp guar gum (I could not find this and I don’t think its absence hampered the deliciousness of this cake at all)
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 1/2 oz rice syrup (again, I couldn’t find this so I substituted with agave syrup. I think you could probably use runny hunny and get similar results)
- Scant 1 cup creme fraiche
- 2 tbsp orange juice
For the topping:
- 8 plums, halved and pitted
- 4 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup orange juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If not using a silicone loaf tin, brush a non-stick loaf tin with melted butter or spray with non-stick baker’s spray.
2. First, make the topping. Place the plum halves flesh side down in an oven-proof dish. Mix together the orange juice and brown sugar and pour over the plums. Roast in the oven for 15-17 minutes, until the plums are soft but still retain their shape. Allow to cool in the dish.
3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl mix together the eggs, cornmeal, powdered almonds, baking powder, guar gum (if using) and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, creme fraiche, rice syrup and orange juice. Don’t worry if it looks a little curdled. Beat together with an electric mixer on low until just combined. Pour this mixture into the other bowl and beat at high-speed until mixture is smooth and pale.
4. Place the cooled plums skin side down in the loaf tin. Pour over 4 tsp of the cooking juices. Spoon over the cornmeal mixture and lightly spread. Bake for 30 minutes, cover the top with a disc of baking parchment and then continue to cook for another 15 – 20 minutes or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.
5. Run a knife around between the cake and the tin; remove the parchment paper. Place the serving plate upside down over the top of the tin, hold and turn over quickly. Remove the tin and spoon over the warm cake the remaining plum cooking juices. Serve to rapturous applause!