I bought a book for this cake. Specifically, Gina De Palma's Dolce Italiano. When I decide on a purhase of yet another cookbook, I randomly open it and see if I would cook the first recipe I see. This Polenta Cake with Citrus glaze was the random recipe and it became my new obsession.
I came late to polenta. My mother had "an unfortunate experience with polenta" in her life and refused to make it. It is one of the few Italian dishes I had to discover on my own. She has yet to confide me in me regarding her harrowing polenta experience but when I told her I was making a polenta cake for the family Valentine's Day Dinner she did assure me that she "got over it." And as she happily had her slice, I was relieved to see that she did.
On cue, the sun came out in approval of baking a bright, sun-shiney cake. Texture - it can make or break a dish. I had a long-lived aversion to cooked cauliflower because of texture. I adore shrimp but if it comes to me all mushy - I shudder. My daughter won't eat fresh tomatoes (sacrilege!) because of the texture. Do you have foods you avoid because of their texture? I confess, I was mesmerized by the anticipation of a coarse, citrus-studded cake. Oh - and I was enamoured by the glaze.
I made a lot of glaze. A LOT. And I poured in on. One might say I frosted the cake with the glaze. The cake is not sweet - almost has a quick-bread crumb to it. But all that citrus brightened our winter's eve.The polenta cake is equally good with your morning coffee or an evening glass of "spirits." If it had lasted until morning, I would have toasted it.
Polenta Cake Ingredients
1-1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (more for dusting the pan)
3/4 cup instant or fine polenta
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups confectioner's sugar (and juices from zested fruit)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch springform plan and dust with flour.
- Grate the zests of the lemon, lime and orange and put in a small bowl.
- Set aside the fruits for the glaze.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, polenta, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment beat the eggs and sugar together on medium high speed until they are pale yellow and have tripled in volume 3-4 minutes. (You could also use electric hand beaters.)
- Beat in the zests.
- Alternate adding the dry mixture and the olive oil to the sugar-egg mixture. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then half the olive oil, the second-third of dry ingredients, last half of olive oil and last 1/3 of the dry. Beat only until each addition is incorprated. Scrape down the sides.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes (check at 20 minutes - this cake will dry out). Rotate it halfway during the baking time.
- The cake is done when it pulls away from the pan and springs back lightly when touched. Cool in pan 15 minutes, carefully remove sides of pan and let cool completely.
Gina has you sift 2 cups of the confectioner's sugar in a large bowl and squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice from each fruit and whisk until smooth. If dry, she suggests adding a little water - 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches the desired constency. And then of course you really should just drizzle the glaze over the cake. Much prettier.
I squeezed all the juices out of the citrus fruits, whisked them with the sugar, made the mistake of tasting it, squealed a happy squeak and then poured it on.
If desired: With a knife or spatula, carefully remove the bottom of the springform pan to move the cake onto a serving platter. You may also dust with confectioner's sugar (I didn't - I had already poured enough glaze on the hapless cake!)
Leftover cake can be wraped in plastic and kept at room temperature for the next day. Enjoy! And there's one more day to enter the CSN Give-away if you are so inclined. Details are here.
Have you noticed that since I have been "mindfully eating" for three months I have posted more posts about cake?