Tuesday 4 June 2013

Emma’s Polenta Cake with Clove and Orange Caramel

From Spice Trip, Stevie Parle & Emma Grazette, Square Peg, 2012.
I saw this cake presented on television and it seemed so good that I wanted to have a piece myself. The only way to do this was to make it. While I could have taken the instructions from the internet I decided to purchase the book for it was filled with much more than the TV program. Six spices were discussed: chillies, nutmeg and mace, cloves, cumin, cinnamon and black pepper. The recipes definitely look like ones to try—in fact we have tried the Really Easy Chocolate Cake with Chilli, Salt and Tequila twice already—delicious.
To begin the cake, I buttered a cake tin and lined it with baking paper. The oven was turned on to heat to 180ºC.
I cut two oranges into pieces, placed them in a saucepan and covered them with water. It was brought to the boil and then simmered for 20 minutes. 

I now peeled two oranges and cut them into thin slices. These were laid out on the bottom of the lined cake tin.
The boiling oranges were drained and with a stick blender I churned them to a type of paste.

Using the KitchenAid I creamed 120g butter with 180g sugar. I then added two eggs, one at a time. The orange paste went in next. Then came two-thirds tablespoon ground cloves. This seemed quite a lot but the recipe gave an assurance that it would be all right. Into the mix now went 30g plain flour, 140g polenta and 120g ground almonds. This went into the cake tin over the sliced oranges and into the oven for an hour. 

When the cake came out it was left to rest in the tin while the caramel was made. The juice of an orange and 100g sugar were boiled in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolved and the mixture had turned a golden brown colour and thickened somewhat. It was taken off the heat and one-third tablespoon ground cloves stirred in.
The cake was now turned out of the tin with the orange side on top and the caramel gently drizzled over.
This was a delicious cake. It was bursting with flavour, perhaps a little too strong on the cloves but nevertheless exciting eating. I had a slice while it was still warm and another slice when it was cold. It was better cold as the flavour seemed to have matured and the texture developed a little more—but next time I'd cut back on the cloves a little.
Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔

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