Monday, August 16, 2010

Gluten-Free Fig Cornmeal Cake (AKA Polenta Cake)

It has been so hot lately, that I have not wanted to cook anything that would require using the oven or burners. This summer seems to be hotter than any I remember. Maybe it’s because I spent so many years working during the day. Now that I am retired, I can see the weather as it happens.

Finally, the temperature dropped a bit after a few storms rolled through.

Saturday is a day that I normally bake, but it was hot again, so no real cooking!

Sunday afternoon, decided to make a fig polenta (cornmeal) cake. I haven’t seen a gluten free one that really grabs me and says “Come here, make me”.

So I looked at a few regular ones and then decided what ingredients and flour mix I wanted to use.
First, I needed to use some slightly over-ripe figs. I wanted to add either sour cream, yogurt or ricotta cheese. I also wanted to either include some almond or coconut flour.

Flour mix:
- Cornmeal: 50%
- Almond flour: 25% (actually meal, ground in the food processor)
- Coconut flour: normally 25% reduced to 12.5% because recipe already has lots of fiber
Yogurt, Sour Cream or Ricotta Cheese:
- Discovered that I had whole milk Ricotta, definitely would use it!
Butter and Shortening
-Shortening – Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread (also like to use salt free Fleishman’s margarine, didn’t have any)
Honey, agave, granulated sweetener
Wild Flower Amber Honey and Zulka granulated sugar (a Mexican coarse grained raw sugar)

Once the whole milk Ricotta was going to be used, decided to limit the eggs to two. It’s not that this dessert is low fat or low sugar; at least I did not want to add more that I needed as to get a really tasty treat!

Well, the cake came out delicious. This is my second cornmeal cake (AKA polenta cake).

Gluten-Free Fig Cornmeal Cake (AKA Polenta Cake)
Very nice aroma while this one is baking. It has a cake like crumb. As with so many gluten free baked goods, it is brittle when it first comes out of the oven. Once cooled, the brittleness goes away,

1/3 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
1/2 cup Turbinado or Demerara sugar (used Zulka brand)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Wild Flower Amber Honey (used the 365 brand)
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange juice + 2 tbsp divided
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup whole almond meal (grind in food processor)
1/8 cup coconut flour
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
6 black figs, sliced
2 tbsp coarse grained sugar for topping

  • Gather all of the ingredients

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or spray with an oil spray, a 10 1/2 -inch cast iron skillet (well seasoned).
  • Combine cornmeal, cornstarch, coconut flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. If you grind your own almond meal, sift all together to get rid of any lumps, set aside.

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and Ricotta until creamy.
  • Add shortening and beat until fluffy. Whisk in the honey.

  • Add eggs, mixing well. Mix in vanilla and 1/2 cup of the orange juice.

  • Whisk the cornmeal mix into batter, just until mixed. If the batter needs more liquid, add the additional orange juice. It is ok to add it anyway.

  • Pour 3/4 of batter into prepared skillet. Spread the figs evenly over the batter. Spread the remaining batter over top. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons coarse grained sugar evenly over top of batter.

  • Bake 30 to 32 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and tooth pick in center comes out clean or with small crumbs.

  • Remove from oven and allow cooling. Cut and serve plain or with a dollop of cream.

Great plain -

With a little cream

With a little cream and a swirl of chocolate – contrasting flavors!

Servings: 12

Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 1/12 of a recipe.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.
Amount per Serving
Calories 232.04
Total Fat 9.84g
Saturated Fat 4.65g
Cholesterol 54.02mg
Sodium 112.55mg
Potassium 180.37mg
Total Carbohydrates 33.56g
Fiber 2.69g
Sugar 22.7g
Protein 4.43g

Almond Flour/meal
The price of almond flour / meal is quite expensive. It is cost effective to grind your own using a good food processor or grain mill.
Grinding almond meal
  • Basically you have a choice of using blanched or skin on almonds, in either roasted or natural. My preference is natural almonds. Natural almonds have more moisture than roasted, so the flour/meal will clump a bit when frozen. That is why it needs to be sifted when using in a recipe.
  • Each cup of almond meal needs about 1+1/4 cups almonds.
  • I ground about 6 cups natural almonds, placed it in a zippered bag in the freezer.

When it was too hot to cook inside on Friday, I pulled the George Foreman grill into the driveway and grilled baby eggplant and salmon, before the next rainstorm came in. A nice green salad went well with the eggplant and salmon. There is a Sabra Hummus ‘event’ going on, so I used a hummus sauce to top the salmon.

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