I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of electronics switching back on and booting up. Lights that had been left on when the power went out were suddenly shining bright into my sleepy eyes. The storm of heavy wet snow had knocked out our electricity for over twenty-four hours. “We’ve done this before”, I thought – stoke up the fireplaces, light the candles, pack up the perishables into a cooler and place outside in the snow.
Spring break and the volume of snow meant the plows were slow to get all the way up the mountain to us, so with nowhere to go, we settled in. Once the wind had calmed down, Ric helped a neighbor pull her car out of a ditch and I played in the snow with our pup who was over her head in the white stuff, we read, wrote and relaxed.
Luckily, I had made this lovely treat the day before. We drank your steaming lattes and nibbled on the not-too-sweet Caramelized Blood Orange and Polenta Cake in front of the fireplace and I thought to myself, “this is not such a bad place to be.”
|Caramel ~ Caramelized Blood Orange and Polenta Cake|
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 oranges
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly butter a 9- inch round cake pan and then line the bottom of the pan with a parchment round and the sides of the pan with a strip of parchment.
- Zest the two oranges and then peel them.
- Save the zest for the cake recipe below.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut the pith off of the flesh of the oranges and then cut the oranges in ¼ inch slices and set aside.
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium heat.
- Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Boil the mixture until it begins to turn golden brown.
- Stir in the butter until the mixture is smooth and amber in color.
- Pour the caramel into the pan and swirl it around to distribute it over the entire bottom of pan.
- Arrange the orange slices over the caramel.
|Caramelized Blood Orange and Polenta Cake|
- 1 ¾ sticks unsalted butter,
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup orange marmalade or apricot jam
- 1 ½ cup finely ground almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup polenta
- 1½ cups water
- Zest of 2 oranges
- Place the water into a small pan and bring to a boil.
- Add the polenta and beat with a wooden spoon as it begins to thicken.
- Cook the polenta until it becomes very thick, 10 minutes or so.
- Turn the heat off and cover the pan, allowing the polenta to steam and continue to soften.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together for two minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing in each one well before adding the next.
- Mix in the vanilla, orange blossom water and orange zest.
- Add the cooked polenta and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the AP flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until combined.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan and place on the center rack of the oven.
- Bake for one hour or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then invert onto a cake plate or serving platter.
- Remove the parchment.
- Place the jam in a small saucepan and heat until it becomes liquid.
- Strain through a small sieve, and drizzle over the cake.
- Use the back of a spoon or a small brush to distribute the glaze.