Orange Polenta Cake
The headnote of the recipe said blood oranges made for a “splendid” effect when used in this upside down cake. Sure enough, the deep ruby colour of the fruit made for an uncommon sight, and the combination of almond, cornmeal and citrus produced a delicious cake. I’ve come to expect no less from this author’s imagination and palate.
I found the recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi’s eponymous cookbook, Ottolenghi. It’s primarily a savoury book, with a few sweet recipes thrown in (he used to be a pastry chef). I’m eagerly awaiting Sweet, his first dessert cookbook, which will be on shelves this fall.
My local grocery store didn’t have quick-cooking polenta in stock, so I took regular polenta and blitzed in a mini food processor. I did the same with granulated sugar, to turn it into superfine caster sugar. Aside from these two ingredients, everything else in the recipe is pretty straightforward. A few deviations to note: I substituted Cointreau for the orange flower water, and skipped the marmalade glaze.
I first made this cake for adults a week ago, when we had more than 15 families with toddlers drop by. Unfortunately, we underbaked it, so the interior was still moist and mushy. Count on needing an extra 5 to 15 minutes if you want it to be completely baked through. The bottom (top, after inverting) is moist, thanks to the juicy, caramelized orange supremes, but the cake is somewhat dry. I would make this again, but would slice the oranges a bit thicker, and overlap them more.
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