We made this when figs were in season and brought it to a friends house for lunch, then forgot about it. Here’s the recipe for the next time you find some fresh figs.
Fig, orange and polenta cake – to serve 8
- 220g butter
- 220g golden caster sugar
- 150g almonds
- 150g ground almonds
- 3 large eggs
- 150g polenta
- a level teaspoon of baking powder
- finely grated zest and juice of a large orange
- 12 green cardamom pods
- 6 figs
FOR THE SYRUP:
- the juice of 2 oranges
- the juice of 2 lemons
- 4 tbsp honey
Line the base of a loose-bottomed non-stick 20cm cake tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour boiling water over the almonds, drain with a spoon and remove the skins. Finely chop the almonds in a food processor or by hand, then add them, along with the ground almonds to the cake mix.
Break the eggs into a small bowl, beat them lightly and add to the mix. Mix the polenta and baking powder together, then fold them into the mixture together with the grated orange zest and juice. Crush the cardamom pods and remove the tiny black seeds, then grind them to a fine powder with a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Add to the cake mix.
Cut the figs in half. Put half the cake mixture into the lined tin, add the figs, then add the rest of the cake mix and smooth the top level. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 160°C/Gas 3 and bake for a further 25-30 minutes or until the cake feels firm. Insert a metal skewer into the centre of the cake – if it comes out clean the cake is ready.
To make the syrup , squeeze the orange and lemon juice into a stainless steel saucepan, bring to the boil and dissolve the honey in it. Keep at the boil for 4-5 minutes or until a thick syrup has formed.
Poke holes in the top of the cake with a skewer, then spoon over the hot syrup. Leave until almost cool, then remove from the tin. Serve with some thinly sliced oranges and natural yoghurt.
(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Tender Volume II, Fourth Estate, London 2010.)