It's February, National 'God I wish I was somewhere warm, WHY must I wear all these layers?!' Month. Cloudy, face-numbing cold days call for warming, exotic cakey treats. If you haven't heard of sumac, it's a wonderful, deep pink spice with a zingy, lemony flavour often used in middle eastern cooking. Combined with orange, almond and the glorious yellow of polenta, this cake is a slice of warmness IN YOUR FACE.
You can find Sumac or Sumaq in the world section of most supermarkets.
Spiced Sumac Polenta Cake
You will need:
For the cake:
- 200g butter, softened
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 150g polenta (fine cornmeal)
- 50g self-raising flour
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 2 tsp sumac
- Zest 1 orange
- Handful flaked almonds
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- Juice of 1 orange
- Small pinch saffron strands
- Sumac and almonds, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 165C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm baking tin.
- Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
- Measure the polenta and flour into the bowl.
- Beat the eggs in a jug, together with the sumac and orange zest.
- Pour the egg mixture into the polenta and beat to combine.
- Stir in the flaked almonds.
- Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean.
- Place on a wire-rack and leave to cool in the tin.
- Whilst the cake is cooking, put the caster sugar, juice and saffron strands (don't overdo these) in a pan, along with 2 tbsp water.
- Simmer over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until the liquid has reduced slightly.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Use a skewer to poke holes in the top of the cooling cake. Spoon the syrup over the top, making sure to cover the whole cake evenly.
- Decorate with a dusting of sumac and a scattering of flaked almonds.