When I saw the Blood Orange Polenta Cake on Please Pass The Recipe, I made a note on my Coming Soon page to remind myself to make it. It was a logical choice as dessert for the gluten free dinner I cooked for a friend. Blood oranges are not in season a the moment, but with regular oranges this was also a great cake that tastes as delicious as it looks.
The combination of orange and almond works very well, the cake is beautifully moist and has a wonderful orange flavor. This is due to the orange syrup that the cake is infused with.
Unfortunately, something went wrong and the cake ended up with a hole in the center as it was under cooked there. I did test it with a skewer, but must have tested in the wrong place (i.e. not in the center) and/or misinterpreted the test. Only the center was under cooked, the rest was fine.
And so I decided to remove the center with a metal ring, turning the cake into a bundt cake without having used a bundt pan. And so the cake was rescued, as I didn’t have time to start over.
I will definitely make this cake again, but next time I will take more care when testing for doneness. Thanks Sandra, for sharing this wonderful cake.
For the cake
200 grams (14 Tbsp) soft unsalted butter
200 grams (1 cup) caster sugar
200 grams (2 cups) ground almonds
100 grams (2/3 cup) fine polenta (or cornmeal)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
zest of 2 (blood) oranges, finely grated
pinch of salt
For the syrup
juice of 2 blood oranges (about 3/4 cup)
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
125 grams (1 cup) pure icing sugar
For the candied orange slices
1 blood orange
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
360 ml (1 1/2 cups) water
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
Combine the butter, sugar, and orange zest in the blender and blend until creamy.
Add the eggs one by one, blending after each egg to incorporate.
Combine the almond flour, polenta, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Whisk to mix.
Add the flour mixture to the blender.
Blend to incorporate.
Butter a 20 cm (8″) pie shape, then line it with parchment paper, and butter the parchment paper.
Transfer the batter into the prepared pie shape.
Bake for 40 minutes at 180ºC/350ºF. Make sure to test with a skewer whether the center of the cake is cooked.
Meanwhile, prepare the candied orange slices. Cut off the top and the bottom, then cut in half lengthwise as shown.
Cut each half into thin slices.
Combine the water and sugar in a wide pan.
Bring to a boil, stirring.
Add the orange slices and lower the heat to a high simmer.
Cook until the orange slices are tender and translucent, about 45 minutes. Add a bit more water if needed.
Dry the orange slices on parchment paper.
Keep the remaining syrup for glazing the cake later.
To make the syrup, juice the oranges and lemon.
Combine the juice and the icing sugar in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Do not heat the juice more than necessary to preserve its fresh flavor.
When the cake is done, leave it in the pie shape and puncture it all over with a skewer.
Pour the syrup on top of the cake.
Let it stand until the syrup has been absorbed. Sandra wrote this can take 24 hours, but an hour was enough in my case.
The cake is not supposed to have a hole in the middle, but I already explained why mine did.
Once the syrup has been absorbed, transfer the cake to a a serving plate.
Decorate with the candied orange slices.
Gently heat up the reserved syrup to make it fluid again.
Glaze the cake with the syrup.
If you have this cake for dessert and wish to accompany it with a dessert wine, a passito di pantelleria is a great choice. This wine from dried moscato grapes (locally called zibibbo) from the island of Pantelleria between Sicily and Tunisia, has notes of both orange and almond and has the required sweetness and acidity to be a great pairing for this cake.
Endive is a vegetable that is very well known in the Netherlands, but not in Italy. This fresh pasta with endive and mortadella is therefore a nice fusion dish.