4 March 2012

The Eden Project and Polenta Cake

I went to The Eden Project a couple of days ago with my friend next door, Diane.  Yet another great thing about living in Cornwall is the £5 locals’ annual pass to Eden; what a bargain!

I was eager to visit the tropical (rainforest) biome to see if it was any good for my homesickness but in that respect if was a disappointment; much more humid that Tortola and none of my friends were there!  It was wonderful, nevertheless with lots of interesting stuff to see, not only plants ...


Interesting birds ~ these chaps were wandering about in the tropical biome quite at home, more like visitors than exhibits.  They have strange stubby tails, as you can see, which they wagged in a doggy fashion and were very friendly.  If anyone reading this knows who they are could you please let me know.


Artworks ...


Advice ...


... and  Strange comfy seating.


After an hour or two in the rainforest we retired to the dining area which was also interesting not least because it is run on an honesty system.  You eat what you like and then tell the people at the till what you had!  I hope it works for them.
  

Diane and I both had a slice of Orange and Ginger Cake which I immediately identified as a polenta cake. 


It was utterly yummy although Diane felt it should have been gingerier, apparently this is a word – I originally put more gingery but my spell check wanted gingerier.  She suggested that I come up with a recipe or things might go badly for me.   So here it is, it’s basically a recipe from the Beeb but I’ve added ginger and a pinch of salt and glazed with hot glaze when hot as opposed to cold glaze when cold as their recipe says.

Orange & Ginger Polenta Cake
  
250g butter at room temperature; soft but not runny
250g sugar + another 100g
4 eggs
140g fine polenta
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
finely grated zest and juice 2 oranges (divide the juice in 100ml and whatever is left!)
2 knobs of ginger from the jar – coarsely chopped (or finely if you prefer)

~   Preheat the oven to 325°F/160ºC/140ºC fan/gas 3.
~   Grease a cake pan – I used a 23cm springform.
~   Mix together all the dry ingredients.
~   Cream together the butter and 250g sugar till pale and fluffy.
~   Beat in the eggs one at a time, if the mixture looks a but curdled add a spoonful of the dry ingredients.
~   Once the eggs are incorporated add the dry ingredients and mix in.
~   When the dry ingredients are all mixed in add the orange zest, the chopped ginger and any orange juice in excess of 100ml
~   Decant into the prepared cake pan, level the top and bake for 45-50 minutes till risen and cooked.  (I have a confession to make here – mine really sunk in the middle which may be because I had the oven on the wrong number 130ºC instead of 140ºC.  Nevertheless it tastes great).
~   Whilst the cake is cooking stir together the remaining 100g of sugar and 100ml or orange juice in a small pan over a medium heat till the sugar has dissolved or melted or whatever it does in this situation.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 or 4 minutes.
~   Turn the cooked cake out onto a rack and stand the rack over a large dish.
~   Drizzle the hot syrup over the cake which, being warm, should absorb it but excess will be caught in the dish and can be licked up when no-one is looking.
~   Cool and serve with clotted cream if possible.

The Heather flowering on the way out of Eden was gobsmacking.



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3 comments:

gailllc said...

I have not had enough polenta in my life, and cannot wait to try the delicious sounding cake here. I especially like the ending of the instructions, about what to do with the glaze that runs off ;) Looking forward to many more visits to your blog -- thanks for the tasty introduction!
gail

Sophie Munns said...

Great post... went to the Eden Project for a week last year on a search trip from OZ.
Loved it so enjoyed being taken there today. Cake recipe looks delish!
Sx

Andycossey said...

The little birds you ask about are Malaysian crested wood partridges