This is a cake we’ve been waiting a long time to taste. Looking wistfully at the picture in Ottolenghi, gathering the ingredients (including orange blossom water), and stirring the caramel crust for what seemed like forever (is it dark yet? or still golden?)…
The aromas wafting from the oven had us thinking that this cake was definitley something special. But it wasn’t until we had removed it, waiting five (long) minutes, flipped it, spread it with marmalade and garnished it with blueberries and currants that we were sure.
This was the best cake we have ever made.
Well, perhaps that doesn’t mean much, as we are still amateurs at this whole food-blogging, cake-making buisness. But it’s wonderfully infused with orange, the garnish provides some tartness, and it came out perfectly moist. What more can two citrus lovers ask for?
Also, it should not be overlooked that this cake also featured some local BC blueberries (and currants), in honor of the Blueberry Festival this week at UBC. Ottolenghi’s recipe just calls for oranges, but we placed blueberries in between the slices of orange, as well as cooking some into a syrup for garnish.
Orange-Blueberry Polenta Cake:
For Caramel Orange-Blueberry Layer
- 1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 2 navel oranges
- 1/3 cup blueberries
- 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons orange-flower water
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups ground almonds (7 oz)
- 2/3 cup quick-cooking polenta
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1 tablespoon water
For Blueberry-Currant Sauce
- 1 cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup currants
- 2 tablespoons water
Make Caramel Orange-Blueberry Layer:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper and side with a strip of parchment.
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber.
Remove from heat and add butter, swirling pan until incorporated, then carefully but quickly pour caramel into cake pan, tilting it to coat evenly.
Grate zest from oranges and reserve for cake. Cut remaining peel, including white pith, from both oranges with a paring knife. Cut oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Remove any seeds and arrange slices in 1 layer over caramel. In the leftover space between these slices, place blueberries in a single layer as well.
Beat butter with sugar using an electric mixer until just combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in orange-flower water and reserved zest.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer at low speed, mix almonds, polenta, and flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined.
Spread batter evenly over oranges (preferably with an offset spatula). Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a cake plate and discard parchment.
- Heat marmalade with water in a small saucepan until melted. Strain through a sieve into a small bowl. Brush top of cake with some of glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Bring blueberries, currants, sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir constantly until mixture thickens to desired consistency.