Sugar-free Grapefruit Polenta Cake
British cooks have really embraced all things Italian. Polenta is one ingredient that has been happily adopted, here with ground almonds giving a lovely texture to a cake. Refined sugar is replaced by clear, mild acacia honey and there is more honey in the soaking syrup along with grapefruit and blood orange juices. The unusual topping is made from heavily reduced maple syrup mixed with creamy mascarpone.
Kit you’ll need: 1 x 20.5cm round, deep cake tin (not loose-based), lined* and then brushed with melted butter; a baking sheet; a sugar thermometer
FOR THE CAKE MIXTURE
150g ground almonds
80g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g unsalted butter, softened
140g clear Acacia honey
finely grated zest of 1 large red grapefruit
2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten to mix
FOR THE CITRUS SOAKING SYRUP
200ml freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice
200ml blood orange juice (freshly squeezed if possible)
160g clear Acacia honey
FOR THE MASCARPONE CREAM TOPPING
150g maple syrup
300g mascarpone, chilled
FOR THE CANDIED PEEL DECORATION
1 red grapefruit
250g clear Acacia honey
1. Heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3. To make the cake, weigh the ground almonds, polenta and flour into a bowl. Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix thoroughly. Set aside. Put the soft butter into a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a free-standing electric mixer, and beat with a hand-held electric whisk, or the mixer whisk attachment, until creamy. Add the honey and grated grapefruit zest and beat thoroughly until the mixture is very light. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. With the whisk on slow speed, gradually mix in the polenta mixture until it is all thoroughly combined.
2. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread evenly. Set the tin on the baking sheet and bake in the heated oven for about 40 minutes until the cake is a good golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
3. While the cake is baking, make the soaking syrup. Pour both fruit juices into a medium pan, add the honey and bring to the boil, stirring. Boil rapidly until the syrup reaches 105°C on a sugar thermometer. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
4. When the cake is done, set the tin on a wire rack, Prick the hot cake all over with a skewer, then spoon the syrup evenly over the surface and let it soak into the sponge – do this gradually until the cake will absorb no more syrup. Leave to soak in and cool for at least 30 minutes.
5. To make the topping, weigh the maple syrup into a small pan and set over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then leave the syrup to bubble away until it reaches 108°C. Leave the thick syrup to cool completely. Put the chilled mascarpone in a bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add 60g of the cold, thick syrup and beat well. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to assemble.
6. To make the candied peel decoration, peel very thin strips of zest (the coloured part of the peel) from the grapefruit and oranges, taking care to leave the white pith on the fruit. Put the peel into a medium pan and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Set over medium heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain, then return the peel to the pan and repeat this ‘blanching’ procedure two more times to remove any bitterness. Drain the peel.
7. Put the honey and water into a small pan and heat gently until liquefied, then bring to the boil and leave to bubble away (it will froth up so take care) until it reaches 115°C. Add the peel to the pan and cook gently for 5–7 minutes until the strips of peel turn translucent. Drain and leave to dry on kitchen paper.
8. To assemble, unmould the cake and set it on a serving plate. Spread and swirl the mascarpone mixture on top, then decorate with the strips of candied peel. Serve immediately. Any leftovers can be kept to enjoy the next day.
PASSIONFRUIT & PINEAPPLE ICE-CREAM ROLL
An impressive dessert for a birthday celebration, made with a decorated lemon sponge and finished with toasted Italian meringue rosettes and chocolate flowers or swirls. This is from the dairy-free ice-cream roll Challenge so coconut milk is used for the custard-based passionfruit ice-cream filling. There is also a fresh pineapple jam to be made, so plenty of work, but worth it!
Kit you’ll need: a sugar thermometer; an ice-cream maker (optional); a piping bag fitted with a No. 3 fine writing nozzle; a 20 x 30cm swiss roll tin, lined* and lightly brushed with oil; a large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle; a kitchen blowtorch; a small disposable piping bag
FOR THE ICE CREAM
1 x 400g tin coconut milk (not reduced fat)
6 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
130g clear Acacia honey
55g golden syrup
175ml passionfruit juice (sieved from about 15 passionfruit or ready-squeezed juice), chilled
FOR THE SPONGE DECORATION
1 large egg, at room temperature
30g golden caster sugar
25g plain flour
10g cocoa powder
FOR THE LEMON SPONGE
3 large eggs, at room temperature
100g golden caster sugar
½–1 teaspoon lemon extract, to taste
1–3 drops of yellow food colouring
75g self-raising flour
FOR THE PINEAPPLE JAM
450g ready-prepared chopped fresh pineapple
1 small Bramley apple
265g caster sugar
5 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons bottled apple pectin
FOR THE ITALIAN MERINGUE
70g egg whites (from 2 large eggs), at room temperature
140g white caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
50g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), broken up
1. To make the ice cream, put the coconut milk and egg yolks into a medium pan and stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until the mixture reaches 75°C and has slightly thickened to lightly coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and golden syrup. When the mixture is smooth, stir in the passionfruit juice. Cool quickly by setting the pan in a sink of icy water. Once the mixture is very cold, transfer it to the ice-cream maker and churn until just frozen. Scoop the ice cream into a plastic container and keep in the freezer until needed. (The ice cream can also be made in a container in the freezer; stir the mixture well every 15 minutes until it is evenly firm.)
2. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ gas 4. Start by making the sponge decoration. Put the egg and sugar into a bowl and whisk with a hand-held electric whisk until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage*. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and carefully fold in*. Transfer the mixture to the piping bag fitted with the writing nozzle and pipe a diagonal lattice over the base of the lined swiss roll tin. Put it into the freezer to chill while you make the lemon sponge.
3. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl, or the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer, add the sugar and whisk to the ribbon stage*. Add lemon extract to taste and the yellow colouring and whisk briefly until evenly combined (without streaks). Sift the flour into the bowl and fold in*. Carefully spoon the mixture into the swiss roll tin, on top of the piped lattice, and spread evenly with a palette knife.
4. Bake in the heated oven for about 13 minutes until the sponge is golden and springy when lightly pressed. Set a sheet of baking paper on top of the sponge and then a chopping board (or wire rack). Holding them together, invert the whole thing. Lift off the tin and carefully peel off the lining paper, then cover the sponge with a second sheet of baking paper. Set a wire rack on top and invert so the sponge is now crust-side up. Leave the sheet of baking paper in place, then quickly roll up the hot sponge, from one short side, around a hollow tube or bottle about 7.5cm in diameter. The lattice pattern will be on the outside. Leave to cool.
5. To make the jam, finely chop the pineapple and put into a large pan. Peel, core and finely chop the apple. Add to the pan with the sugar, lemon juice and pectin. Set over medium/low heat and stir gently until the sugar has completely dissolved, then bring to the boil. Boil, stirring frequently, until the jam reaches 104°C on the sugar thermometer or setting point (see Blackberry and Apple Jam on page 11 for more details). Pour the jam into a heatproof bowl and leave until completely cold and set. The jam will need to be easy to spread (but not a purée) so, if necessary, blitz it briefly in a food processor.
6. To assemble the roll, carefully unroll the sponge and spread it with a thick layer of jam (you won’t need all of it). Working quickly, scoop the ice cream out of the container and on to the middle of the sponge to form a neat log 20 x 7.5cm (you may not need all the ice cream), then roll the sponge around the ice cream. Wrap the roll tightly in clingfilm to hold it all together, then place it in the freezer to firm up.
7. In the meantime, make the meringue. Put the egg whites into a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a free-standing mixer, and whisk just until frothy. Gently heat the sugar with the water in a small pan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. Boil until the syrup reaches 110°C, then start whisking the whites until they will stand in stiff peaks*. As soon as the syrup reaches 118°C, slowly pour it on to the whites while whisking at top speed. Continue whisking until the meringue is stiff and cool.
8. Transfer the meringue to the piping bag fitted with the star nozzle. Unwrap the roll and set it on a freezerproof serving plate. Quickly pipe the meringue along the top of the roll to make 3 rows of 6 rosettes each. Lightly tinge the peaks brown using the kitchen blowtorch. Return the roll to the freezer.
9. For the piped chocolate decorations, melt* the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of steaming hot water, then temper it: slightly increase the heat under the pan so the temperature of the chocolate rises to 45°C – keep stirring so the chocolate heats evenly. Remove the bowl from the pan and set it in a larger bowl of cold water to quickly cool the chocolate. Gently stir until the temperature falls to 27°C. Set the bowl over the pan of hot water again and reheat the chocolate, stirring, until it reaches 29–30°C. Remove the bowl from the pan and cool slightly. Spoon the chocolate into the small disposable piping bag, snip off the tip and pipe small, neat swirls or flowers on to a sheet of silicone paper – you will need 5 perfect decorations but make extra in case of breakages. Leave until set.
10. To serve, peel the chocolate decorations off the paper and gently press into the meringue. Spoon the passionfruit flesh over the roll and serve immediately.
Recipe taken from The Great British Bake off: Celebrations.