The Saturday Paper
Upside-down peach, almond and polenta cake
Time: 45 minutes preparation + 40 minutes cooking time
• 9 peaches
• 1 tsp thyme leaves
• 80g rapadura sugar
• salt flakes
• 150g castor sugar
• 150g butter, diced and softened to room temperature
• 1 vanilla pod, scraped
• 2 medium lemons, finely zested and juiced (hopefully you will have about 80 millilitres of juice)
• salt and ground white pepper
• 5 eggs, separated
• 150g polenta, blitzed in a blender until it’s slightly broken down
• 200g almond meal
• 1 tsp baking powder
• cream, for serving
1. Line the base of a 28-centimetre springform tin and set aside.
2. Peel your peaches, cut them in half, remove the stones, and place them cut-side up on a baking tray. Sprinkle over the thyme and half the rapadura sugar, season with salt flakes and place the peaches under a hot grill. Cook until the sugar starts to dissolve and darken, and the peaches have softened ever so slightly (about six to seven minutes). Remove the tray and set aside.
3. Place your lined cake tin on a baking tray and evenly spoon the remaining rapadura sugar along the base. Pop this under the grill for a couple of minutes until it starts to melt. Remove the tray from the oven and, once the peach halves are cool enough to touch, lie them face-side down over the sugar, to cover the base of the tin. Set aside. 4. Preheat your oven to 160°C fan-forced. 5. In a large mixing bowl combine the castor sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon zest and a very generous pinch of salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix vigorously until the mixture creams. Alternatively, use an electric mixer. Once the mixture looks pale and fluffy, add in a yolk, mix to fully incorporate, and continue until all the yolks are mixed in. 6. Pour in the lemon juice and fold through to combine. It may look like it has split a little but don’t worry.
7. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the polenta, almond meal and baking powder, stir, and then fold this through the creamed mix. As you do this the mix will become more uniform.
8. Whisk the egg whites to a glossy medium peak and, in a couple of batches, fold about two-thirds through the cake batter until well combined. There’s no need to be too gentle here. 9. Scrape the cake batter over the peaches and use your spoon or spatula to press down the mix. With damp hands, take the remaining whites and pat them over the top of the cake. This will cook to form a delicate crust.
10. Place the cake tin into the oven and bake until a skewer poked into the cake comes out clean (about 40 to 50 minutes). 11. Remove the tin from the oven and allow it to cool. Once the cake is cool enough to handle, remove the outside of the tin and then use a plate to flip the cake so the peaches are on top. Serve with some lightly whipped cream.