Apricot, fig + polenta cake.

Olive oil. Polenta. Greek yoghurt. Fruits of the Mediterranean.
No butter. No machine-powered mixing.
This cake is tall, dense, and almost too easy.
All of which makes it perfect for breakfast.

Inside apricot fig polenta cake

Recipe adapted from Strawberryplum’s Raspberry & Plum Yoghurt Olive Oil Cake.

Gather:
3 apricots*
2 tbsp caster sugar
Half a lemon

1/2 cup polenta or cornmeal
1 + 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 cup plain unsweetened nonfat Greek yoghurt**
1/2 cup light-flavoured olive oil (or vegetable/peanut/canola oil)
2 eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar

2 fresh figs (1.5 if they’re quite large)
Approx. 2 tbsp demerara sugar

Then:

  1. About an hour ahead of time, cut the apricots into quarters, and leave them to soak in a bowl with 2 tbsp of sugar, and the juice from half a lemon.
  2. When you’re ready to make the cake batter, preheat the oven to 175° C. Grease a regular-size springform tin with oil, and line the bottom with baking paper. Set the tin aside.
  3. Take one large bowl for the dry ingredients: add the polenta, then sift in the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom.
  4. Take another large bowl for the wet ingredients: add the oil, yoghurt, eggs and sugar (not wet, but whatever), and mix swiftly with a fork until just combined (i.e. roughly 15 seconds).
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, plus about 2.5 tbsp of the syrup from the macerated apricots, and mix it all together with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, flatten out the top with a spatula.
  7. Cut the figs into quarters, discarding the stem tips, and arrange the quarters — flesh side up — like a star in the centre of the cake.
  8. Press the apricot quarters — skin side up — into the spaces around the figs.
  9. Sprinkle the top of the cake with demerara sugar, paying special attention to the areas of ‘naked’ batter and the fig flesh.
    Unbaked fig apricot polenta cake
  10. Bake for around 50 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  11. Leave to cool in the tin on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes, then remove the sides of the tin.
  12. Eat at room temperature, with more unsweetened Greek yoghurt, and a drizzle of honey. Breakfast is served!Apricot fig polenta cake

Notes
*The apricots can be quite firm/unripe. It’s hard to get good ones these days, but macerating then baking them will bring out the flavour and soften the texture.
**Or sweetened, full-fat yoghurt, if that’s your thing. I used nonfat unsweetened Greek Chobani — the dry-ish, firm consistency really works for baking.

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