Reading this title you probably thought that something had gone wrong. Perhaps a supper dish from Italy? But a cake? Made from savoury ingredients? Have I gone mad? No, my dear readers I have not gone mad. This cake is indeed a delicious and light sponge perfect any time of day from breakfast to dinner, as my husband can attest. It also happens to be healthier too as it is not made with butter.
This cake was deliberately chosen to use up some store cupboard ingredients I found in my January clear out. I don’t particularly like polenta as a starch for a meal so this recipe was ideal way of trying it in a different way. I have to admit though it is a little drier than one would expect a teatime cake to be, probably because of its lack of butter, but this was definitely balanced with some poached fruit or yogurt on the side. The polenta gave a fine gravelly, but not unpleasant, mouth feel. Buon appetito!
Polenta and Olive Oil Cake
6 medium eggs
1 cup white caster sugar
freshly grated zest of 2 lemons
1 and 1/2 cups of plain flour
3/4 cup instant fine polenta
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup olive oil
drizzle: juice of the 2 lemons and 100g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 ºC/160 ºC fan. Lightly grease a 9″/20cm springform pan with oil.
Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and with the whisk attachment, beat for at least 5 minutes until light in colour and tripled in volume. Pour in the oil and sift over the dry ingredients. Start the mixer on very slow, beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides a couple of times. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and place in the middle of the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes until risen and slightly coming away from the sides; a skewer should come out clean.
While the cake is in the oven, dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice for the drizzle; you may need to heat it in a small pan to get it to dissolve fully. Once the cake is cooked and taken out the oven, sit it on a tray and pour over the drizzle. Allow to cool fully in the pan before turning out.