perfect polenta


Two things I love: Italians and polenta. Mix them together and you get cake!

This is a drop dead gorgeous recipe which has a course texture (like an unshaven Italian movie star) and the secret ingredient of olive oil and dessert wine. I was inspired by a Julia Busuttil recipe I saw on Tasty Tuesday and decided to try out this traditional Italian recipe on the crew of a short film I catered for recently. The cupcakes disappeared faster than the director could say “cut”. And I like to think that the entire film was a success because of them!


Pear and Polenta cake:
(preheat oven to 180C)

  • 180g almonds
  • 1 pear
  • 80g plain flour
  • 180g coarse polenta
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 130ml olive oil
  • 1 orange: juice, and zest

Vin Santo syrup:

  • 40g caster sugar
  • 80ml Vin Santo wine
  • pinch salt



  • Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
  • In a food processor, grind up the almonds and pear.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the ground almonds and pear, flour, polenta, and baking powder. Stir to combine and set aside.
  • In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy.
  • Continue beating and slowly add the oil, orange juice and zest until all are combined.
  • Add in the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Bake until golden (approximately 25 min).
  • Cook up the syrup by placing all the ingredients on a pot on the stove, bring to the boil, stir continually until the sugar has been dissolved, allow to simmer for a few minutes until it has thickened slightly.
  • Drizzle over the cake while still warm so that it seeps in.
  • Dust with a dash of icing sugar or orange zest.
  • Serve with mascarpone and watch the first installment of The Godfather.



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