Plum & Custard Polenta Cake
To me, there is no more quintessential winter dessert than one starring soft, baked fruit and accompanied by piping hot custard. Reminiscent of my Dad’s custard-drenched post-Sunday-Roast Apple Pies and Rhubarb Crumbles, there is something about fruit baked at 180 for 40 minutes and devoured whilst still tongue-burningly-hot that hits me right in the childhood.
I made a Zesty Blueberry Polenta Cake recently as part of an Instagram campaign and instantly fell in love with the chunky golden crumb. On top of that, I am an absolute sucker for fruit sunken delicately into sponge and so it just felt natural to slice up my favourite stone fruit and press some slices into the batter before baking. You could try this out with any fruit you have to hand – canned fruit like peaches or pineapple would work particularly well, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to get your hands on fresh blueberries or raspberries you’d really be on to a winner.
Polenta is made from corn and is naturally gluten free! It’s also pretty forgiving when it comes to being baked in a cake. I used self-raising flour in addition to the polenta here to give the cake a bit more structure, but gluten-free self-raising would work just as well. For a slightly more nutty flavour, you could also swap out 100g of the polenta for ground almonds.
Of course, you could serve this cake as-is, sliced up alongside a cup of tea or coffee, but for a real winter-dessert feel I highly recommend whipping up some custard and drenching a slice in the stuff – ideally right after you’ve finished your Sunday mountain of roast potatoes. If custard doesn’t float your boat (I know some have been unfortunately scarred by gloopy offerings post-School-Dinner), vegan yoghurt, cream or ice-cream also make a fantastic accompaniment!
Plum & Custard Polenta Cake
- 225g polenta
- 150g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 heaped tbsp custard powder (make sure it’s dairy free)
- 30g golden caster sugar
- 100g light brown sugar
- 120ml vegetable oil
- 125ml soya milk
- 120g soya yoghurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 plums, stones removed
- 1 tsp demerara sugar
- 1 tbsp golden or maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
- Place the polenta, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, custard powder and sugars in a large bowl and mix to combine.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, soya milk, soya yogurt and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Fold the wet ingredients to the dry until just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the batter into a greased cake tin and spread it level using the back of a spoon.
- Slice each plum unto 8 and scatter the slices evenly across the top of the batter. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar.
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- When the cake is done, remove from the oven and brush over the syrup while it is still hot. Allow to cool a little before slicing. Serve with a generous helping of custard!
If you make this, or any of the other recipes on my website, make sure to tag me at @charlotteemmma on Instagram so I get to see them!