Celebrate Mother’s Day by baking this dressy cake that is surprisingly simple to make. Blood oranges combine with hazelnuts, polenta, maple syrup, and olive oil for a heart-healthy treat that tastes like it’s covered in orange marmalade.
I got my love of baking from my mother Dorothy, and this beautiful silver tray from my mother-in-law Corinna. This post goes out to both of you with love, and to all of you mothers out there, whether you are mothering children, pets, the earth, or your fellow humans.
This cake came into being because I had four blood oranges from our CSA basket, and it seems wrong to simply peel and eat them. They are so beautiful and sweet, with nice thin skins. I started thinking about an upside-down cake to show off their color, and remembered this amazing lemon olive-oil polenta cake I had at fellow blogger Sally Cameron‘s house last year.
So I looked at five or six upside-down cake recipes, and about five or six olive-oil polenta cake recipes, and started to meld them. Usually I pick one recipe that’s close to what I’m envisioning and go from there. I used Sally’s recipe as a starting point, because it was already gluten-free (she’d adapted it from a cookbook by Deborah Krasner to make it gluten-free for a client).
I wanted it to be vegan and have no granulated sugar, as I need to get back off the granulated bandwagon. Is there a Granulated Bandwagon? That actually might make a good name for a band.
I had to adjust the recipe considerably, as using a liquid sweetener instead of a dry granulated product can be tricky. I also had no idea if this would even work.
Would the blood oranges cook enough? (Yes.) Should I have peeled them? (No.) Would they caramelize enough with just vegan margarine and maple syrup? (Yes.) Should I throw some fresh thyme in? (Yes, although it was subtle.) Did the hazelnuts work with the oranges? (Yes!)
The batter is made in the food processor, plus a small saucepan for the glaze, so it’s very easy. Kids could help with this by arranging the fruit on the bottom of the pan. It’s always fun to flip the finished cake over and see what it looks like.
How do you like to celebrate Mother’s Day? Do you have a favorite cake or tradition? Please tell us about it in the comments.