When I think of cake, I definitely think of flavors like chocolate, lemon and the like. But after learning to love polenta here in Peru (I will tell you the love story later this week!) I just knew before I even started out that I was going to love this cake.
I can say that none of the components are favorites for me. Polenta in pancakes or cakes provides and interesting crunch, ricotta in a cake sounds a bit strange and figs belong in newtons and not much else. But as I read through the recipe, I was sure it would be a winner for me and among my friends. I thought about scaling is down…quartering or fifthing recipes has been happening a lot in my kitchen. but I knew I would regret it with this one! I went for it, making the entire recipe and enjoying all of it. (Oh, I shared too!)
You may not especially love the ingredients as individual items, but I have a feeling that once you put them all together you will enjoy the cake more than you could have imagined!
8 dried figs, steeped in hot water then drained and chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup of medium-grain polenta (Once I put them in the oven, I looked up “polenta bramata” and learned it meant coarse ground polenta! Oops!)
1/2 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
260 grams of ricotta (I just used the whole package that I bought, so it may have been a bit more than I needed)
1/2 cup of tepid water
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla
100 grams butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
Preheat to 325F. Butter a 10-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom (I used 8 1/2-cup tartlet pans and 3 1-cup ramekins) and put it on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together the polenta, flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the ricotta and water together with a hand mixer on low speed until very smooth (Mine never got really smooth). At medium speed, add the sugar, honey and vanilla and beat until light. Beat in the butter, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Then, add the dry ingredients, mixing on low only until they are fully incorporated to achieve a pourable batter (Mine wasn’t liquidy, but it was easily scoopable).
Place a couple of tablespoons of the batter into the bottoms of the pans and scatter over the figs. Cover figs with the rest of the batter, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, if necessary. (When I remembered that I should have put butter on top, I thought I was better off without it!)
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cakes should be honey brown and pulling away just a little from the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake to a rack and remove the sides of the pan after about 5 minutes. Cool to warm, or cool completely.
My love of food was cultivated early on by my family but has come alive while living in Peru. During the 12 years of living in Lima, Peru, I have also enjoyed numerous trips to other areas of the country.
Here on Provecho Peru you will find Peruvian recipes in English, American favorites prepared overseas, news about Peruvian Cuisine and interesting tidbits about life in Peru.