Upside down Orange and Polenta Cake
This orange and polenta cake is loosely based on the classic Victoria Sponge recipe, but part of the flour is replaced with a mixture of ground almonds and polenta. Why polenta? To be honest, I am not quite sure but for some reason I just had a need to make a polenta cake. I was pretty happy with how it turned out It is more substantial than a regular Victoria Sponge, and has a very pleasing, slightly gritty texture.
I made orange marmalade for the first time earlier this year. A very satisfying if slightly time consuming process. However, I did not realise just quite how much orange marmalade I was making.
Much as we like the odd bit of toast and marmalade, I am now trying to think of ways of up ‘using it up’, as my dad would say. I have already given you a recipe for Marmalade Bread Pudding but in this Upside Down Orange and Polenta Cake, oranges takes front and centre stage.
From making marmalade I learned that you you have to cook orange rinds for quite some time if you want to soften them enough to be edible. For this cake I poached the orange slices beforehand. Once cooked I am using them straight away as part of the cake. You could however dry them on a wire rack and they would harden into pretty crystallised orange slices, which would keep in the fridge until you found a use for them (dipped in chocolate perhaps?).
I think this cake is absolutely delicious served slightly warm with caramel sauce (see recipe below) and creme fraiche.
Last time I made it I also sprinkled some gold leaf (thank you Magasin Du Nord), over the top. It made a very impressive dinner party dessert.
Upside Down Orange and Polenta Cake
A gorgeous dense, slightly gritty upside down orange and polenta cake.
- For the Orange Top
- Two oranges,thinly sliced
- 1 cup/7 ounces /200g sugar
- 1 cup /240ml water
- For the Orange Cake
- 250g /9 ounces butter, softened ( 2 1/4 sticks)
- 250g/9 ounces/11/4 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 140g/5 ounces/scant cup of plain or all-purpose flour
- 100g/31/2 ounces/scant 2/3 cup polenta
- 100g /3/12 ounces/one cup ground almonds
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 large tablespoon marmalade
- 2 tablespoons of the liquid from the poached oranges slices
- Step 1 Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/320F
- Step 2 Line a 9inch springform pan with parchment paper
- Step 3 To make the sliced oranges
- Step 4 In a large frying pan or skillet dissolve the sugar in the water.
- Step 5 Add the orange slices and gently poach in the liquid for around an hour and a quarter or until the rind is soft and almost transparent.
- Step 6 Arrange the slices in overlapping circles at the base of the springform tin.
- Step 7 To make the cake
- Step 8 Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly
- Step 9 Add all the dry ingredients to a separate bowl and mix together, then fold into the creamed mixture
- Step 10 Finally add the marmalade and the liquid from the poached orange slices.
- Step 11 Add a little milk if the mixture seems too dry.
- Step 12 Transfer the mixture to the tin, spread evenly, over the orange slices.
- Step 13 Cook for about 45 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Step 14 Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
Make your own caramel sauce to add to desserts. Will keep in fridge for a couple of weeks. YUM!
- 101/2oz/300g/11/2 cups sugar
- 3fl oz/80ml/1/3 cup water
- 10 fl oz/310ml/11/4 cup heavy cream
- splash of vinegar or lemon juice
- Step 1 In a heavy bottomed pan add sugar, water and a little splash of vinegar. The vinegar stops crystals forming but does not affect the taste.
- Step 2 Melt the sugar over a low heat until it is dissolved. Do not stir. Increase heat to medium and boil until sugar turns a deep brown, be careful as mixture goes from perfect to burnt very quickly. 5-7 minutes, do not be tempted to stir
- Step 3 Be careful caramel is very hot! Once it has reached the desired color take pan off heat.
- Step 4 Slowly add the cream, it may bubble up.
- Step 5 Return pan to a low heat and stir until the mixture is smooth. The caramel will thicken as it cools
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