An Improvised Cake: Orange Semolina with Blueberries

Taken from TwinCities.com

When I eat at Aperitif in Woodbury, I have the orange semolina cake with blueberries. The not-too-sweet cake soaked in orange syrup and served with blueberry sauce and whipped cream makes the perfect end to dinner.

Now that local blueberries are available in the markets, I decided to try to re-create Aperitif’s recipe. The only thing I didn’t have on hand was the main ingredient — semolina flour. So, I substituted fine polenta, which has the same crunchiness.

The recipe might look like a lot of work, but it didn’t take long. It makes eight jumbo muffin-size cakes, but if you want to make it for a larger group, you could easily bake it in a cake pan or in smaller cupcake tins.

Orange Polenta Cake With Blueberry Compote

Makes 8 servings.

For muffin tins:

Butter

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons polenta

Cakes:

1 cup almonds, ground (see cook’s note)

3/4 cup polenta or fine cornmeal

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided use

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

Orange syrup:

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

Blueberry compote:

1 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 cup sugar or to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Garnish:

Whipped cream for serving

To prepare oven, muffin tins: Preheat
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oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter 8 jumbo muffin tins. In small bowl, blend sugar and polenta. Dust insides of cupcake tins with mixture. Tap out excess. Set tins aside.

To make cakes: In bowl, combine ground almonds, polenta, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside. In mixing bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar for 2 minutes or until whites stand in stiff peaks that are still moist. Remove from mixing bowl and set aside. In same mixing bowl, add butter and 3/4 cup sugar. Mix for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Blend in vanilla. Fold in dry mixture in 3 stages, taking care not to overwork batter. Stir one-third of reserved whites into batter. Fold in remaining whites in 2 stages. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.

To bake cake: Bake for about 45 minutes or until tops are golden and spring back at touch of hand (or when wood skewer inserted into center of a cake comes out clean).

To make orange syrup: Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk water, sugar and orange juice to combine. When cakes are done, transfer tins to rack. Cool for 10 minutes. Turn out of pans. Brush cakes (bottom, sides and top) with some syrup. Cool for 10 minutes. Brush remaining orange syrup over tops of cakes.

To prepare blueberry compote: In medium saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries are soft and release their juices. (Note: Take care not to overcook.) Remove from heat. Let stand, uncovered, until cooled to room temperature.

To serve: Set each cake on a plate. Serve with some compote and generous mound of whipped cream.

Cook’s note: 1 cup ground almonds equals 4 1/2 ounces.

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