Sunday, 4 August 2013

Orange and Fig Polenta Cake

I know, I KNOW! It's been too long. Almost 6 months.  I'm terribly sorry but I started to run out of recipes and I've just been baking the same things over and over again - and who would want to read about that?  You're not a forgetful bunch, i'm sure.

Anyway, how are you?! Where are you? Hello....are you still there?  I sure hope so!

I thought it only fair to return to this blog with something delicious, but also something that went a little bit wrong.  With my 23" cake tin on loan - (including the birthday cake that was contained within it) - I found myself part way through creating this glorious batter before before breaking out into a series of expletives that ended in me crying on the kitchen floor licking my tears and raw egg mix off a spatula.  Ok, perhaps I'm exaggerating, but the heat of the last few weeks is really starting to get to me.  I appreciate that there are many more important things going on EVERYWHERE than in my kitchen at 9pm on a Saturday night - with only a box of polenta and a flan tin for company.  The result was a cake that slightly overflowed the tin, but it is still pretty.

So, here it is.  And I think it's a corker!  Orange and Fig Polenta Cake.  BOOM! get your laughing gear round that!

200g Unsalted butter
200g Golden Caster Sugar
200g Ground Almonds
100g Fine Polenta
2tsp Baking Powder
3 medium free range eggs (or 2 large ones)
Zest of one Orange
Juice of one Orange (probably the same orange as above - don't buy two, you'll only kick yourself later!)
+50g extra Golden Caster Sugar for the glaze
2 fresh figs
some sesame seeds for decoration

Pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 4 and line the base of a 23" clip cake tin (2" deep minimum)
In an electric mixer, if you have one, or by hand with a wooden spoon, cream the butter and the 200g of sugar until pale and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, measure out the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder - these are your dry ingredients.
In another smaller bowl, lightly whisk the 3 eggs.
Mix a little of the dry ingredients into the butter / sugar mix and beat on a slow setting.  Once combined, add a little of the egg and beat until combined.  Then a little more of the dry ingredients, then the egg etc and repeat until all of it is combined.  Beat for 5 minutes on a low setting to make sure all the ingredients have become quite the best of friends.
Zest the orange before juicing it.  Pour half the juice into your cake batter (leaving the other half to one side for the glaze) and mix again.  I find it quite tricky to mix zest using an electric mixer, so take the bowl off of the mixer stand and fold in the zest using a wooden spoon.
Pour this mixture into your cake tin and even out with the back of a spatula.
Slice your figs so you have 8-10 even slices and arrange on top of the cake as you wish.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and place in the over for 40 mins.  Test the cake using the skewer test.  If it comes out clean, then it's done.  It may seem a little bit wobbly, but don't worry.  If the skewer isn't clean then put back into the over for 10 mins and check again.  When done, turn the oven off but leave the cake to start to cool - I find this helps prevent the cake from sinking in the middle.
Mix the 50g of extra caster sugar with the remaining orange juice and, whilst the cake is still warm, prick the top and pour the juice / sugar over the cake.  Leave to stand in the tin until completely cool.

Slice, and enjoy with natural yogurt, cream, ice cream and friends xx

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