1.13.2014

Citrus Polenta Cake


After a week of flops and failures in the kitchen, I'm back with this simple stunner of a cake that thankfully was a "piece of cake", to make.  Last week was one of those, chalk one up to experience weeks.  Multiple recipes were tested, and multiple recipes ended up in the trash.  It was heartbreaking, and frustrating. Rip your hair out and stomp up and down frustrating if you must know.  Once I had a recipe I thought would work, shooting the photos was well, another challenge. It was time to step away, shake myself up a cocktail and try another day.



But I rallied, and decided that my low sugar challenge post/recipe could wait for later.  I needed to regroup, get my kitchen legs back and bake something that would be a pleasure to make, use seasonal ingredients and soothe my sorry pride. This Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Polenta Cake was exactly what I needed. Lightly fragranced with orange blossom water, the cake is a dream. And speaking of orange blossom water, have you ever tried it?   Let's just say it's my new thing..  I find myself putting it in everything!  


Almond flour compliments the polenta perfectly and the lightly candied fruit provides a sweet and slightly bitter foil for all the goodness going on underneath. Simple and elegant this dessert definitely helped me get my groove back.  Confidence and sanity restored and disaster averted.  Now if all disasters could so easily be managed.  


Citrus Polenta Cake
Recipe adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook

For the topping:
2 medium Blood Oranges
1 Meyer Lemon
1 Cup sugar
1/2 C. water

Slice oranges and lemon 1/8" thick, and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the water and the sugar over medium heat, stirring periodically until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the fruit, stir gently to cover in the syrup and reduce heat to a low simmer.  Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, just until the white pith is beginning to look translucent.  Remove from the syrup with a slotted spoon and set on parchment paper.  Allow to cool while you make the cake batter. Save the syrup for brushing on the cake before serving.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line an 8' cake pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper goes completely up the sides.  Arrange the orange and lemon slices in the pan in a decorative way and set aside. 

For the cake:
6 T. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C. + 2 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 C. sugar
zest from 1 orange and 1 lemon
3 eggs
2 tsp. orange blossom water
2 1/2 C. almond meal
3/4 C. quick cooking polenta

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the sugar and the butter just until incorporated.  Add the eggs one at a time incorporating fully, then add the orange blossom water and the zest.  Add the almond meal, polenta and the other dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Avoid over mixing.  Carefully spoon the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula.  Tap the pan a few times on the counter to evenly distribute the batter.

Place on a baking sheet and bake 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes, then place a serving plate over the pan and flip it upside down.  Carefully lift off the pan, then the parchment paper.  Reheat the sugar, citrus syrup and brush over the cake.  Allow to cool to room temperature and slice.  Serves 8.


25 comments :

Paula - bellalimento said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Pinned and sharing on my FB page tomorrow!

Grandbabycakes said...

This cake looks unbelievable, absolutely gorgeous! I am pinning as I type this!!!

Sarah | The Sugar Hit said...

Seasonal, completely delicious, and visually stunning. This cake is like the perfect example of your work. I totally relate to your recipe creating/styling/shooting problems, and I love your solution! Next time I'm in a rut, I'll just make something completely inarguably gorgeous too. (it sounds so obvious, now)

Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough said...

Ugh, I hate those weeks and I know them all too well. But this cake is a stunner! I'd say you've got your groove back. :)

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

This is so gorgeous, love the citrus and polenta pairing! (I've had my share of flops the last couple days as well, so I'm all about effortless and delicious right now!)

Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen said...

Stunning and lovely, Maria! I'm so glad you got your kitchen legs back. Girl, I know what that is like when you develop special diet recipes and it's a fail...expensive ingredients down the drain or in the trash. Glad you got your groove back on after that cocktail. Thanks for sharing, m'lady. Pinned!

katieatthekitchendoor.com said...

Sorry you had a frustrating week, but this cake is gorgeous!! I want a slice immediately.

Shelly West said...

This is gorgeous! Those weeks you are talking about are no good but it certainly looks like this cake is a perfect rebound to that!

Pink Patisserie said...

Thank you so much for the kind words and for sharing Paula!

Pink Patisserie said...

Thanks Jocelyn! I lurv meyer lemons and blood oranges, one of my favorite things about winter!

Pink Patisserie said...

Go for it Sarah, although I have a hard time imagining you in a rut. You've always got something gorgeous and original going on!

Pink Patisserie said...

Thank you Stephanie, they are the pits no?

Pink Patisserie said...

Thank you Laura! Flops are frustrating for sure, sorry to hear you've been in the same boat!

Pink Patisserie said...

Thanks Katie!

Pink Patisserie said...

Thank you Shelly! I feel imminently better! A good cake will do that for sure. :)

Sophia Del Gigante said...

Oh my gosh this is toooo gorgeous for words! I love colorful food and I love polenta! Pinning this beauty! Gorgeous photos lady!

Erika said...

This cake is stunning! Sorry about the kitchen "miscreations". I have them every week so don't feel bad. Cake makes everything better.. :)

Valerie Gamine said...

Beautiful come-back! Nothing rejuvenates creativity like a splendid cake. :D

laurasmess said...

So, so gorgeous. I definitely understand the difficulty of trying to keep yourself going after some kitchen disasters! Recipe testing can be a soul destroying process at times, but this is complete proof of what you're capable of even after some bad days. I love polenta cakes. Their texture and moistness are absolutely divine. LOVE that glossy citrus topping. I'll definitely be trying this one xx

vanillasugarblog said...

what a gorgeous blog you have.
I'm so glad I clicked on your link thingee at a comment at val's site.
I see some oat bars I might have to print out.

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

Both the cake and the photos are stunning!

Kate@Diethood said...

Ooooh I just had one of those weeks, too!! Everything ended up in the trash can. Well, almost everything. Some of them were good enough to eat, but nowhere near blog perfect. :)

This cake is just beautiful! I love all that citrus on top.

Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes said...

Those weeks are the worst. But then you get a cake like this one and all is good in the kitchen again! I'm all over this recipe Maria! I adore ottolenghi and polenta with citrus, can't go wrong with either! Orange blossom water is used like crazy here in panettone.

Milk and Honey said...

Blood oranges and Ottolenghi - bring it. x

Anonymous said...

This recipe idea looks great, though there are better ways to candy citrus, so I'm going to diverge from the recipe and use a method that requires blanching the citrus to take off some of the bitterness, and cooking the fruit in sugar + water for a longer period of time on low heat so that the fruit candies better.

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