Pear, Almond and Polenta Cake

, from Issue #91. September, 2020
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Pear, Almond and Polenta Cake

Pears, polenta and almonds make great partners and this easy, not-too-sweet cake is also made with oil, which gives it a lovely tender crumb. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or yoghurt.

Serves: : Makes 1 cake


3 large eggs, size 7
200 grams caster sugar
finely grated zest 1 orange
100ml each light olive oil and sunflower oil
200 grams ground almonds
120 grams instant polenta
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon each ground mixed spice and freshly grated nutmeg
2 firm but ripe pears, peeled, quartered, cored, cut into 1cm dice
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon raw sugar
icing sugar, for dusting


Equipment: Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and fully line with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.

In a mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar and orange zest together until very pale and thick, about 5 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the combined oils in a thin, steady stream.

Combine the almonds, polenta, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl then toss through the pears so they are all coated and separated. Tip into the egg mixture and, using a large metal spoon, gently but thoroughly fold everything together. Tip into the prepared tin and sprinkle over the almonds and sugar.

Place on an oven rack in the centre of the oven and bake for about 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely in the tin. Dust with icing sugar.

The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.