The best tea cake (Amor polenta)
Clicking on equipment pictures takes you to Amazon where you can buy the items. We get a small revenue share of anything you buy which helps keep the site running.
- 100 grams (4 oz) Fine polenta flour (fine cornmeal, fine maize flour)
- 125 grams (4 1/2 oz) Cake flour
- 100 grams (4 oz) Cornflour (pure white starch)
- 140 grams (a bit less than 5 oz) Icing sugar (powdered sugar, confectioners' sugar)
- 140 grams (a bit less than 5 oz) Caster sugar
- 10 grams (1/2 oz) Acacia honey
- 170 grams (6 oz) Egg yolk
- 160 grams (a bit less than 6 oz) Egg white
- 250 grams (9 oz) Unsalted butter (soft)
- 4 grams Baking powder (a scarce tsp)
- 25 grams (1 fl oz) Maraschino liquor (OPTIONAL) You can substitute Maraschino with rum or Amaretto di Saronno.
I recommend the use of a digital scale and measuring of all the ingredients in grams.
- To the 170 g of egg yolk add just 60 g of egg white (in the bowl you will then have 230 g of egg wash).
- Mix the 230 g egg wash energetically for a good 30 seconds.
- After you have completed the above tasks, you should be left with a 230 g bowl of egg wash (left of the picture) and 100 g of untouched egg white (right of the picture). Cover, both, with cling film and refrigerate.
- Take all the flours (polenta flour, cake flour and cornflour) and the baking powder.
- Sift all the flours and baking powder together (using a medium size glass bowl) and then set aside.
- Have the butter, the icing sugar and the honey to hand.
- Roughly cut the butter into pieces and put it into a large size glass bowl.
- Start mixing with the electric hand mixer, to soften the butter.
- When the butter is soft and paler, start adding the icing sugar. Add the icing sugar in two or three lots, while mixing with the hand mixer.
- Once the icing sugar is fully incorporated with the butter, add the honey and mix for few seconds with the hand mixer.
- Here, we have a fluffy, pale butter/icing sugar/honey mix.
- Next, take the 230 g egg wash from the fridge and add 1/3 of it to the butter/icing sugar/honey mix.
- Mix with the hand mixer and when the egg wash is fully incorporated with the butter/icing sugar/honey mix, add another 1/3 of it. Keep going until all the egg wash is incorporated with the butter/icing sugar/honey mix.
- Job done! Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside (not in the fridge).
- Now, we prepare the meringue. Take the 100 g of egg white from the fridge and put it into the electric mixer bowl.
- Mix with high speed for few minutes, until a white foam starts to form. Then, while still mixing, add the caster sugar in two lots. At that point the meringue will considerably increase in volume.
- Mix until the meringue forms a firm peak. To give you an idea, it took roughly 7 minutes for me, to achieve this stage with my Kenwood mixer.
- Add 1/3 of the meringue to the butter mix and gently fold, using a spatula, from the bottom to the top. Once the first 1/3 of meringue is fully incorporated, add 1/3 of the sifted flours. Then, start again, with another 1/3 of meringue and then, again, another 1/3 of sifted flours. Keep going until all the meringue and flours are incorporated in the butter mix.
- Gentle and correct folding is important because you want to mix the ingredients together but at the same time you want to maintain the light consistency of the whole mix.
- This is the final mix, the one I will put in the cake moulds.
- I have used non-stick cake moulds so I just needed to grease them inside with some butter. Fill the moulds to 3/4 of their depth.
- Put the cake moulds into a pre-heated oven and bake the large mould for 45 minutes at 165°C (330°F) and the small one for 40 minutes. My oven is fan assisted.
- These are the two moulds after baking.
- I have levelled the base of the cakes with a serrated knife.
- Here are the cakes cooling down on the wire racks.
- Here is the dusting (use icing sugar) of the traditionally shaped Amor polenta cake. Traditionally, you should have a central line with no icing, so I have used a round wooden stick to do the job.
- Here is the dusting of the little cake I have made with the loaf tin.
- Finally, the two cakes ready for my afternoon tea.