plum, almond and polenta cake

I knew I had some rhubarb in the freezer and planned to use it to make 
Skye McAlpine rhubarb and almond cake. When I looked in the freezer I didn't have enough rhubarb to make the cake but I thought the recipe would work just as well, topped with plums.

Like Skye, I also adapted the River Cafe polenta, almond and lemon cake recipe to make this naturally gluten-free plum, almond and polenta cake. I tweaked the quantities to make the cake a little less dense and upped the baking powder to ensure the plums sank into the batter, part of the magic of plum cake.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Plum, almond and polenta cake
125g butter, softened, plus more for the tin
125g caster sugar 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
Grated rind of 1 lemon (3 tsp) 
2 eggs 
65g polenta or maize flour
1 tbs potato starch 
3/4 tsp baking powder 
110g ground almonds 
15 mls milk 
sea salt flakes 
2-3 plums, halved, pitted and sliced
1 tbs caster sugar 

Heat the oven to 190°C conventional. Butter a 17cm springform cake tin and line it with baking paper. 

Beat the butter and sugar, vanilla and lemon rind together until pale and light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift the polenta, the potato starch and the baking powder into a small bowl then stir through the ground almonds then add a pinch salt. Add the polenta mixture to the batter followed by the milk and stir to form a soft batter. The cake batter can also be made in a food processor. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and then arrange the plum slices over the cake batter. Dredge the plums with a tablespoon of caster sugar before baking. Please note, the plums will sink into the batter as the cake bakes so don't have to be too precise with your arrangement of the slices. 

Place the cake on the centre rack and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the cake is cooked when tested with a skewer and brown on top. Let cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before loosening with a knife. Allow the cake to cool completely before turning out onto a wire rack. The cake will keep for two to three days in an airtight tin.

This cake was an absolute winner. I took my piece home and cut the piece in half to eat over 2 days but it was so yummy, I scoffed the piece in about 2 bites. Skye suggested topping the cake with either blackberries or raspberries but I could see the polenta cake would beautifully as the base for an upside down blood orange or rhubarb cake. Watch this space.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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