I don’t really like cake. I know, I am used to the look of shock on most peoples faces when I say that. However, it is the truth. Even as a young child, I always chose ice cream for my birthday over cake. This is also coupled with the fact that I am a bang average baker, however I like the challenge of baking a cake so I am sure you will see more cakes in the future (successful or not). And the question of who is going to eat these cakes? Luckily I have a friend nearby who comes to taste test my cake attempts with me and she always leaves with at least 2 or 3 extra slices. Doug is also a terrific eater so I can always count on him to have a couple of slices.
On Friday I was my birthday (24! eek!). My friends, family and boyfriend know me too well and my gifts consisted of an assortment of cooking and baking paraphernalia from a new muffin tin, a subscription the Donna Hay Magazine as well as a whole lot of exotic spices, oils and vinegars. Oh, and my flat is literally covered in flowers which is amazing!
Since I was my birthday and I had friends popping in and out for tea all day, I decided to attempt to make a birthday cake. I tasted a cake a gluten-free orange cake with almost a bitter chocolate icing a few months. It was delicious and has been on my mind ever since. Other potential birthday cakes floated across mind along the way but I had my heart set on making that cake.
The cake is gluten-free to all you gluten intolerant people out there and the polenta and ground almonds give the cake a large crumb with a slight ‘crunch’ from the polenta, a nice change typical white cake flour cakes.
The orange glaze helps keep the cake moist and gives an extra kick of citrus. I kinda made up the icing as I went along. It turned out really light and fluffy and although I found it a tad on the sweet side, everyone else who tried it said it was great and not too sweet at all.
Orange Polenta Cake with Chocolate Icing
Adapted from The Italian Cookery Course by Katie Caldesi
200g soft salted butter
200g castor sugar
3 large eggs
150g fine polenta
150g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
zest of 2 oranges
Juice of 2 oranges
Caster sugar, same weight as orange juice
100g soft salted butter
50g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (dissolved in a little bit of hot water)
80g (1 slab) milk chocolate, melted and cooled (an alternative to the icing would be to add dark chocolate instead)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly
3. Once combined at the dry ingredients and the orange zest
4. Line the base and sides of a 27cm cake tin with baking parchment and carefully spoon the cake mixture into the tin. Make sure that the mixture is spread out evenly
5. Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack
7. To make the glaze, measure the juice of 2 oranges and add to a saucepan with the same weight of castor sugar
8. Bring the pan to the boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes
9. Allow to cool before brushing the cake with the glaze
10. To make the icing, cream the butter until light and fluffy, then add the icing sugar and mix until combined
11. Add the vanilla essence and melted chocolate and combined
12. Add the cocoa powder and mix to combined.
13. Careful spoon the icing on the cake and smooth out until even