Olive Oil & Cornmeal Cake by Marisa Churchill

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This year I decided to become a bit more involved in all the processions surrounding Easter.

By “involved” I mean that I decided for one day (hey you gotta start somewhere) not to eat meat, eggs or butter.

This also seemed like the perfect opportunity to put myself to a dairy free, egg free baking challenge.

The result was this delicious polenta and olive oil cake served with a fruit compote.

It was so delicious that it actually has me thinking about going for two days of fasting instead of one next year!

Here is the recipe you can enjoy of course any time of the year

Olive Oil & Cornmeal Cake

•    1 ¼ cup cake flour
•    ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal
•    2 tsp. baking powder
•    ¼ tsp. salt
•    ¼ tsp. cinnamon
•    1 cup sugar
•    zest of ½ orange
•    zest of ½ lemon
•    ½ tsp. rosemary, finely chopped
•    ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
•    ½ cup orange juice

Fig and Orange Honey Compote

•    1 pint of fresh figs
•    2 oranges
•    ½ cup honey
•    ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. water
•    2–4 tsp. fresh lemon juice, to taste

The Recipe

For the cake, preheat oven 350 degrees. Prepare 8” x 2″ round cake pan with parchment circle, oil and a very light dusting of flour.
Sift the cake flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Place sugar, orange and lemon zest and finely chopped rosemary in a food processor and blend a couple of minutes until the mixture is aromatic.

Pour mixture into a large bowl and whisk in the oil until smooth.

Add the orange juice and blend thoroughly.

Gently stir in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until just blended.

Do not over-mix.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

Cool for 10 minutes.

Run a thin knife or spatula around edge of cake and invert.

Remove parchment paper and flip the cake bake over onto a serving platter.

Cool completely.
For the compote, slice the peel and white pith from the oranges with a very sharp knife.

Carve out the orange sections over a bowl to collect all the juice.

Cut the figs into quarters and add to the bowl of orange slices.

It can be difficult to find figs in May, so if you don’t have figs you can add more oranges, or some dried cherries.
Place the honey and water in a saucepan and warm over low heat until dissolved and blended.

Remove from heat and add the lemon juice to taste.

Toss the fruit with honey lemon syrup.
Dust the cake with powdered sugar and serve with fruit.

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