Rhubarb Almond Polenta Cake

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I feel like we need to catch up.  Where has time been flying, these days?

Me, I’ve been flying to Philadelphia.  There, I ate hoagies and had an IHOP date with my dad.

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And I made an appearance on a morning show!  (Thanks, Fox 29!)  I also bought butter cookies (with extra sprinkles) at the Ardmore Farmer’s market, but didn’t make it to Rita’s for water ice.  Next time.

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I also flew to the Riviera Maya, in Mexico, to spend a few glorious days in the sun with my cousins.  We were there to celebrate Gramma, and celebrate her we did.  We talked about her beautiful smile, her sharp wit and the way she pronounced the word “orange.”  (AH-ringe.)  We remembered her infectious laugh and fantastic lipstick collection.  Mostly, though, we toasted the amazing family that she built, and felt lucky.

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On the way home from Mexico I carried one of Grams’ handkerchiefs and, apparently, a persistent stomach bug.  No bueno.

The good news is that our house is shaping up.  The main floor, which consists of the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms (one of which is my office!) is feeling good.

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I’m excited to get the chimney fixed so we can actually use our fireplace.

Oh and our kitchen?  It’s old.  1960’s, ish?  I’m not really sure.  It took me a solid 30 minutes to figure out how to work those burners.  (#vintage, amiright?)

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The basement is bare except for a newly procured ping pong table (that’s all you need in a basement, right?) and we’re still working on the upstairs, but it’s starting to feel like home.

With all of the travel, it’s been especially lovely to have the house in order.  There’s nothing like, after weeks away and hours on airplanes, the friendly sights and familiar smells of, finally, home.

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This cake was the first thing I baked in our new kitchen.  It made the whole house smell like sweet, buttery bliss.  The whole thing is bursts of orange, warm pockets of fresh rhubarb, pops of polenta, and a scattering of sliced almonds.  It’s good to be home.

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Rhubarb Almond Polenta Cake

Adapted from Edible Seattle (March/April 2015)

This bright, flavorful cake is damp and crumbly, and happens to be gluten-free (by no design of mine).  It’d be phenomenal with a scoop of faintly sweet whipped cream.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (can substitute frozen)
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar (can substitute granulated)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon polenta
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, for garnish

Directions:

In a medium bowl, stir together the rhubarb and turbinado sugar, and let sit out for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F, and grease a 9-inch springform pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the polenta, baking powder, salt and cardamom.  Set aside.  In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), cream the granulated sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the almond flour, and beat well until combined.  Next add the eggs, one at time, until the batter is light and airy.  Gently mix in the vanilla, orange zest and juice, then fold in the polenta mixture until the batter is homogenous.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and smooth out the top.  Drain the rhubarb in a colander (either save the sugary syrup for cocktails or discard), and scatter it on top of the batter, pressing gently to adhere.  Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top of the rhubarb.

Place the cake pan on a baking sheet and bake the cake for 45-60 minutes, until the cake is deeply golden brown, and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack.  Once it’s reached room temperature, remove from the spring form and slice into wedges to serve.

Makes 1 (9-inch round) cake.

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2 Responses to Rhubarb Almond Polenta Cake

  1. Ileana says:

    House and cake look wonderful!! Love love love that fireplace.

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