Sunday, 18 July 2010

Polenta Honey Apricot cake: perfect Summer Birthday treat

I have been experimenting (might I say pretty well) a lot lately. From homemade rye bread (gluten-free of course), to double red quinoa and bean salad, to oatmeal choc-o-cookies to this last fabulous invention. All my other treats have literally disappeared before I have had a chance to snap a pic...and I think they are not quite perfect enough to share yet. Note: I thought (an still kind of do) that xanthum gum has a weird taste, so I try an bake without it. However, I whipped up some fat-free banana - fig muffins this morning and used brown rice flour and a bit of Bob's Red Mills AP mix. Now don't get me wrong I love Bob's stuff, but I think the Garbanzo bean flour in his mix (the others do not seem as offensive: sorghum, tapioca, potato) seems to bake up with a weird after taste. I just cannot get over it! Please anyone else doing GF baking tell me if you agree. I love chickpeas to death, but could it be that bean flours have a weird taste? So far I love brown rice four, teff and amaranth. Of course oat flour is a must (taste good in everything) and still to try quinoa flour. I think I am going to make quinoa bread soon...

But getting to the good stuff...the stuff that needs no adjustment, because it came out so heavenly.

This cake - Polenta Honey Apricot Cake- is just divine. Not too sweet, and delicate but definitely a thing of character with the crunch of the cornmeal and honey jam of the melted apricots. It was my wee brother's birthday on Friday! He is not so wee and did not think a cake with candles was necessary, but I did of course. He is mad for chocolate but he loved this, everyone at the table dipped in for seconds. I think that says something of a cake made with no chocolate. For all summer birthdays this is a beautifully light (and pretty healthy) treat. I love you Jay! Happy Birthday!

Polenta Honey Apricot Cake

prep and cook time: 1 hour +

3/4 cup ground almonds
½ cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup rice flour
3 whites and 2 egg yolks (from large to extra large eggs)
½ cup agave/honey blend
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons fats/fat replacement ( I did (3) coconut oil, (2) olive oil and (2) applesauce)
8-10 apricot halves with honey

Preheat the oven to 350 F. The cake will take 40-45 minutes to bake, and if made into muffins they would take 20 minutes. (NB: I was going to do muffin cakes but I did not know if the apricots would stick to the bottom of the muffin trays, now thinking back you could probably make a parchment paper design/sleeve.)

Cut a circular piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of your 9 inch cake pan. This can be done be tracing the bottom and then cutting the traced circle out. Insert the circular parchment paper in the pan. Then grease the rim and the bottom over the parchment paper.

Mix the flours, baking powder and salt together. In another bowl mix the honey, melted oils, applesauce, two egg yolks and vanilla. Mix the wet slowly into the dry. Whip the three egg whites into peaks and slowly (1/3 at a time) fold them in. The batter should be pretty wet. Arrange the apricot halves "belly" up in the pan. Dollop honey in each belly and then pour the batter over them. Even the batter out. Pop in the oven. Keep in the oven for at least 40 min or until finito. Let the cake cool and garnish with organic powdered sugar. I know I avoided sugar in the recipe (intentionally) but it really made the cake pretty and added a good bite when sprinkled on top. NB: Cake even better next morning for breakfast!

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