Whenever I go to the Italian café in my town, I always ask for a piece of their Orange Polenta Cake, which is loaf-shaped and cut into a slice, rather than round. It is also the most deliciously light, moist and more-ish cake I have eaten. I have never managed to replicate it at home, and their recipe is a closely-guarded secret. So, when I came across a Lemon Polenta Cake in Nigella’s book, Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home, I was more than a little excited.
It worked. It was delicious. It will be made again!
Orange & Amaretto Polenta Cake
Adapted from ’Lemon Polenta Cake’ by Nigella Lawson (Kitchen)
For the cake:
200g unsalted butter, plus a small amount to grease the tin
200g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
100g fine ground polenta
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Valencian orange extract
1 tablespoon/15 ml Amaretto liqueur
For the syrup:
Juice of one orange
2 tablespoons/15 ml Amaretto liqueur
125g icing sugar
For the Mascarpone Cream:
Save some of the syrup (around 30 mls) and whisk into 150g marsarpone
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
2. Line the bottom of a 23cm springform tin with baking paper and spread a little butter around the edges too for good measure.
3. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat well until light, pale and fluffy. I used a stand mixer, but an electric whisk or wooden spoon would be fine.
4. Mix the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder together and in a separate bowl lightly mix your eggs. Still beating, add these to the butter and sugar, alternating as you go along.
5. Add in the orange zest, orange essence and Amaretto, if using, and mix well.
6. Tip the mixture into your tin and bake in the oven for around 40 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when it’s ready.
7. While the cake is cooking, make the syrup by boiling the orange juice, Amaretto and icing sugar in a pan just for a minute or so until the icing sugar melts.
8. Once the cake is cooked, prick the top of the cake all over with a toothpick and while it is still in its tin, pour the syrup over the top (saving a bit for the mascarpone cream if you are making it).
9. Once the cake has cooled down, take it out of its tin. If it isn’t eaten in one sitting it will keep well in an airtight container for a few days.
I’m sending my post over to Sarah at Maison Cupcake, for my second bite of the cherry in this month’s Italian-themed ’Forever Nigella’ competition - Ciao Italia!