I never speak about my job on this blog, and don’t really plan to (especially not on Fridays!), but forgive a brief reference. One thing I do is help identify, document and share “lessons learned” from my organization’s work, so that we can keep using approaches that are successful and remember not to repeat past mistakes. I thought of this aspect of my job earlier this week, while considering the fact that it has been a couple of months since my last Fave on Friday.
“Why such a lapse?” I asked myself. And therein lay a lesson learned: I should not tie myself down to doing anything in particular on Fridays. What was I thinking? On Fridays, I am a get home from work and have a glass of wine kind of person, or a de-stress by playing a set of tennis kind of person (and, I must admit, sometimes I am BOTH kinds of people). On Fridays, I am not, however, a cook something tasty and write about it kind of person.
Which is why I decided that I need to become a prepare something tasty on Wednesday, write about it on Thursday and simply press “publish” on Friday kind of person.
This orange polenta cake is moist, moist, moist – almost to the point of disintegrating before your very eyes. The orange and lemon make it light and bright, and the polenta adds a distinct heartiness to the texture. It is a welcome dessert after a heavy meal, or a fantastic accompaniment to your afternoon tea. And, as befits a Fave on Friday (even one prepared on Wednesday!), I’ve baked this cake again and again and again….
Now, those of you in
Full disclosure: I brought back quite a bit of polenta from my trip to Rome – mealie meal is just too fine to use as a substitute. For ground almonds, check
Orange Polenta Cake with Whole
From Food and Home Entertaining, July 2005
125 grams / 1 stick plus 1 scant tablespoon butter, softened
225 grams / 1¼ cup castor (granulated) sugar
3 large eggs
75 grams / ½ cup plus scant tablespoon self-raising flour
75 grams / ½ cup plus scant tablespoon cake flour
125 grams / generous ¾ cup fine polenta
60 grams / generous ½ cup ground almonds
80 grams / 1/3 cup sour cream
Rind of 1 lemon, grated
Rind of 1 orange, grated
60 milliliters / 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Whole orange syrup
2 whole oranges with skin, thinly sliced
180 grams / ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons castor sugar
300 milliliters / 1 1/5 cups water
Crème fraîche, to serve
Grease and line a 20-centimeter / 8-inch cake tin and preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F).
In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and castor sugar together until pale. Continue whisking as you add the eggs one at a time. If your mixture looks a bit curdled, don’t worry – everything will come together once you add the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, sift the flours together. Then, add the flours to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the polenta, ground almonds, sour cream, zest and lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin. Bake for 75 minutes, covering the cake with tin foil during the last 15 minutes if it is getting too brown.
Meanwhile, place the oranges, castor sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is thick and syrupy – about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Once the cake is baked, let it rest for 15 minutes before turning it out onto a plate. Cool for another 15 minutes. Then, use a wooden skewer or piece of dry spaghetti to make holes in the top of the cake. Pour the orange syrup over the cake. Decorate the cake with the orange slices, and serve slices with a dollap of crème fraîche.