The best tea cake (Amor polenta)

The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery

The best tea cake (Amor polenta)

Amor polenta is, in my opinion, one of the best tea cake we have in Italy. It is absolutely delicious and, if well prepared, is also light and fragrant to the palate. The name comes from the use of polenta flour, but not the coarse one used to make polenta; for the cake we use a refined version called “farina di mais fioretto” or the super refined “farina di mais fumetto”.
Nowadays, it is a cake that has gained popularity all over Italy because of the internet, but in the past it was something you could have come across only if visiting the north Italian provinces of Varese and Bergamo (Lombardy region). I’m from Lombardy and I have always wanted to publish this recipe so people can enjoy it, no matter where they live….so let’s make it global!
There are different versions of course, depending on who is making it, but generally and traditionally speaking I would recognise two main versions. One version requires finely ground almonds, with vanilla as flavouring, and the other version no almond or vanilla, but a bit of Maraschino liquor is added in the final mix.
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Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Calories 650 kcal

Equipment

Utensils:
A large size glass bowl
A medium size glass bowl
A flour sieve
An electric mixer with balloon/wire whisk attachment
An electric hand mixer
A 18x8x6 cm loaf tin
A 28x11x5 Amor polenta ridged cake tin
A hand whisk
A spatula
Note: you may also need a wire rack to cool down the cake and a small sieve for the final dusting with icing sugar.

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Ingredients
 

  • 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.

    Instructions

    • 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).
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Mix the 230 g egg wash energetically for a good 30 seconds.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • 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.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Take all the flours (polenta flour, cake flour and cornflour) and the baking powder.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Sift all the flours and baking powder together (using a medium size glass bowl) and then set aside.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Have the butter, the icing sugar and the honey to hand.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Roughly cut the butter into pieces and put it into a large size glass bowl.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Start mixing with the electric hand mixer, to soften the butter.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • 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.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Once the icing sugar is fully incorporated with the butter, add the honey and mix for few seconds with the hand mixer.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Here, we have a fluffy, pale butter/icing sugar/honey mix.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Next, take the 230 g egg wash from the fridge and add 1/3 of it to the butter/icing sugar/honey mix.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • 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.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Job done! Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside (not in the fridge).
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Now, we prepare the meringue. Take the 100 g of egg white from the fridge and put it into the electric mixer bowl.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • 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.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • 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.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • 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.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • 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.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • This is the final mix, the one I will put in the cake moulds.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • 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.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • 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.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • These are the two moulds after baking.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • I have levelled the base of the cakes with a serrated knife.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Here are the cakes cooling down on the wire racks.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • 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.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Here is the dusting of the little cake I have made with the loaf tin.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    • Finally, the two cakes ready for my afternoon tea.
      The best tea cake (Amor polenta) | Bakery
    Enjoyed the recipe?Buy us a glass of wine!
    Federico
    Jeremy

    Buon appetito! Thank you from Federico (recipe Maestro) and Jeremy (web Geek).

    Nutrition

    Calories: 650kcal
    Keyword Bakery
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    Published
    Categorised as Bakery

    By Federico

    Federico Pezzaioli is an ex-badass Italian Paratrooper on a mission - to make creating delicious authentic Italian food really easy. He researches, writes and photographs each recipe with the same attention to detail he used to apply to packing his parachute.

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