Cherry-Rhubarb Polenta Cake

Our spin on the cheery Italian-style torta di polenta cake featured in this month’s Edible Seattle magazine.

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup baker’s or granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon flour, for coating the pan
2 cups almond flour
3 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice of ½ orange
Zest of 2 oranges
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon polenta
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons almond slivers, for garnish

Method:
1. In a bowl, mix rhubarb and cherries with turbinado sugar. Set aside for about an hour at room temperature, or until all the sugar is dissolved.

2. Preheat oven to 325°. Using wrappers from the butter, grease then flour a 9-inch cake pan and cut a circular piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom. (A springform pan is ideal for this recipe, but if you don’t have one, slide two extra thin strips of parchment underneath lining, leaving excess on both sides. This will create ‘handles’ to help you pull out the cake once it is finished.)

3. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the softened butter and baker’s/granulated sugar until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes at medium speed). Stir in the almond flour, then beat in the eggs one at a time, until batter is airy and soft. With a large spoon, fold in vanilla extract, orange juice and zest. Add polenta, baking powder and salt, folding in gently. Fold cardamom gently in as well.

4. Spoon the batter into prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Take one cup of the marinated rhubarb and cherries out of their syrup and drain on a paper towel. Press piece gently into the batter and scatter almonds over top. Set cake pan on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, until the cake set in the middle and deep golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes. Gently remove from pan and leave on a wire rack to cool.

5. Cook the remaining rhubarb and cherries over medium-low heat until liquid has reduced and is thick and syrupy. Serve over finished cake with fresh cream, ice cream or crème fraîche.

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