Cake & Cocktails: Citrus Polenta Cake & Old Fashioned’s

The other weekend my friends Ruby and Amy came over to my  house for a girl’s afternoon. Our goals for the day were to 1) have some coffee, 2) bake a cake, and 3) drink some G&T’s. We achieved our first two goals, but when we realized we didn’t have any gin, we had to make some substitutions with our cocktails. Luckily, I had some vanilla-spice infused Bourbon (recipe coming soon!) on hand, and we whipped up some Old Fashioned’s, which went perfectly with our Citrus Polenta Cake!

I had made a version of this cake once before, and it got rave reviews. The original recipe is a Clementine Polenta Cake from the Leon: Baking and Puddings cookbook, which Amy originally told me about; it has lots of gluten free friendly recipes (which is rare for a main-stream baking cookbook) and it’s now one of my favourite cookbooks. Ruby, Amy and I changed the Leon recipe up a little by using a variety of citrus fruits, and also invented a ginger-citrus glaze for the top.

Amy (who photographed my blog’s banner photos) brought her camera over and took lots of lovely photos of the day, so I’ll let those tell the rest of the story! Thanks Amy! (Click on any of the photos to see a larger version)

Citrus Polenta Cake with Zesty Ginger Glaze

Citrus Polenta Cake

Makes: One 9 or 10 inch cake

  • 250g /1+ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g /1+ cup caster sugar (regular sugar will work too; use unrefined, if possible)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g /7 oz fine polenta (a.k.a. fine cornmeal)
  • 100g /3.5 oz almond meal (a.k.a. ground almonds)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • Juice of ½ an orange
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Juice of ½ a grapefruit

Ginger Glaze

  • Approximately 2+ Tablespoons Ginger Syrup*
  • Approximately 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Juice of ½ an orange
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Juice of ½ a grapefruit

Preheat your oven to 170 C / 340 F. Line a 23 cm/9 inch cake pan with baking paper. (You could use a 25 cm/10 inch pan if necessary)

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs in one at a time, making sure to mix well after adding each egg.

In a separate bowl, mix the polenta, almond meal and baking powder. Mix this into the butter mixture and beat until well combined. Pour the citrus juice into the cake batter and stir gently by hand.

Transfer batter into the lined baking pan, using a spatula to spread it evenly. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and a fork inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, make your glaze: Combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer gently until reduced to a syrup (about 15 minutes); if your syrup is not thick enough, stir in more sugar, half a tablespoon at a time, and continue to simmer. You can also add more ginger syrup, to taste.

When the cake has come out of the oven, pour the syrup over the cake, and let cool slightly before serving.

*If you do not have ginger syrup and don’t want to make it, you could substitute it by adding a thumb of sliced ginger and a couple tablespoons of water to the citrus juice and sugar. Proceed as directed for making the glaze, and strain before pouring over the cake.

Adapted from “Clementine Polenta Cake” in Leon: Baking & Puddings, by Claire Ptak and Henry Dimbleby

Spiced Old Fashioned’s

Continuing with the citrus theme – not your typical accompaniment to cake, but it was actually quite nice!

Makes: 1 short drink

  • 2 shots/60mL/2 fl oz Spiced Bourbon (recipe coming soon – can be substituted with normal Bourbon or Whiskey)
  • ¼ shot/8 mL/ ¼ fl oz simple syrup (or ginger syrup/maple syrup/agave nectar)
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Orange

Stir Bourbon with a couple ice cubes in a short glass. Add in syrup and bitters, and stir well. Holding your orange over the glass, use a citrus peeler to make a long twist of orange rind, then set aside (it is important to peel the orange over the glass, so it will catch the orange oils and add flavour to the drink). Add a couple more ice cubes and stir again. Top up the glass with ice,  give it a final stir, and garnish with the orange twist. Cheers!

Note on Bourbon: Even though many spirits are made with wheat and barley, they are gluten free due to the distillation process. (As opposed to beers and ales, which are fermented, a process that leaves gluten in the final product.) However, sometimes caramel colouring and/or flavours are added to spirits after distillation (usually with cheaper brands) and can contain gluten, so it is important to read labels and contact the manufacturer if you are unsure.  This is still a slightly controversial subject, so if you have a severe gluten intolerance, do some research before consuming spirits.
This link was shared on:
Gluten Free Wednesdays @ The Gluten-Free Homemaker
Allergy Free Wednesdays @ Tessa the Domestic Diva
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5 thoughts on “Cake & Cocktails: Citrus Polenta Cake & Old Fashioned’s

    • Thanks! I agree, polenta is great (I don’t eat it enough) but this is kind of a different way of using it.
      You’re blog is beautiful too – I always appreciate blogs with lovely photos, design & recipes!

  1. i adore citrus, and in cake form even better! You’ll see me sneaking all sorts of citrus into my recipes whenever I can, and I love you idea here! Glad you found us, hope you keep coming back!! Thanks for shainrg on Allergy Free Wednesdays!

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