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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Orange Polenta Cake

The Altitude Adjustment Section
I found this recipe in Gourmet magazine a few months ago and with a few small changes it was a hit! Orange Polenta cake is not your average dessert!

Ingredients for cake
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 navel oranges
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange-flower water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups ground almonds (7 oz)
2/3 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon water

Procedure
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in middle. Lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper and side with a strip of parchment. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber. Remove from heat and add butter, swirling pan until incorporated, then carefully but quickly pour caramel into cake pan, tilting it to coat evenly.

Grate zest from oranges and reserve for cake. Cut remaining peel, including white pith, from both oranges with a paring knife. Cut oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Remove any seeds and arrange slices in 1 layer over caramel.

Now make the cake batter: Beat butter with sugar using an electric mixer until just combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in orange-flower water and reserved zest. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer at low speed, mix almonds, polenta, and flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined. Spread batter evenly over oranges in prepared pan (preferably with an offset spatula). Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a cake plate and discard parchment.

For the glaze cake: Heat marmalade with water in a small saucepan until melted. Strain through a sieve into a small bowl. Brush top of cake with some of glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.