Clementine Polenta Cake

This is a soft, grainy cake that is light but densely flavoured by the zest of clementines and juicy syrup. Perfect served with a cup of tea, Christmas film and your favourite comfy jumper.

Cooking Time 40 minutes Gas Mark 4


200g soft unsalted butter
200g ground almonds
100 g Polenta
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder
Zest of 4 clementines
For syrup:
125g icing sugar
Juice of 4 clementines

How to Bake

Cream the butter and sugar together. You can do this the old fashioned way with a wooden spoon in a bowl, cutting the butter into the sugar until it becomes a uniform lump which you can then start to blend and whip with your spoon.
Measure the dry ingredients together. Don’t be nervous about polenta. It’s very readily available, and supermarkets like Waitrose stock large bags of it (1.5kg bags), which are often named Cornmeal. It’s a grainier version of semolina.
Add around a third of the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, with one of the eggs. Repeat this until the dry ingredients and eggs are incorporated. Then add the zest of the clementines. This is by no means easy, as clementines are so darn juicy, but attempt to do this without losing the juice, as this is needed for the syrup. Give it a final mix, before putting this batter into a 23cm greased cake tin, bottom lined with parchment.
Place your cake pan in the middle of your preheated oven. Set your timer for 40 minutes, but check after 35 minutes too see if it is done. It will be golden brown, may be a bit soft but it will look done.
Once cooked, cool in the tin. As it cools, juice the clementines into a small saucepan and add the icing sugar. Over a low frame, mix until the sugar is dissolved and the juice becomes syrupy. As its cooled, pour over the syrup and leave until cooled and soaked into the cake.
Now slice, serve, sit back and put on your favourite Christmas film. For the record, mine is Miracle on 34th Street!

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