A few years ago I made a roasted polenta pear cake. It was really tasty but I forgot about it and never made it again. While reading this month's Bon Appetit, I saw a recipe for an upside blood orange polenta cake which reminded me that long forgotten pear cake. And of course, once I saw the Food52 theme, I immediately began to play with the idea of incorporating those flavors into a polenta cake. My husband immediately turned up his nose when I mentioned cake and feta in the same breath but I solidered on. The first try at an upside down carmelized blood orange cake wasn't quite a success. The pith of the orange was too bitter and thick as evidenced by my husband's plate - all the cake was gone but all the orange slices had been picked off the top and placed to the side. I decided to try again, tweaking the cake ingredients and adding a glaze. Success - all the plates were scraped clean! This is a perfect cake for breakfast or for an afternoon or bedtime snack with a cup of tea. —melissav
Test Kitchen Notes
First and foremost, the Blood Orange Tea Cake was absolutely delicious. It was really moist, toothsome from the cornmeal and still light enough to be somewhat like a sponge cake. The feta in the cake added richness without overwhelming it with cheese flavor or texture. We couldn’t detect actual bits of feta in the cake. The glaze, which uses fresh blood orange and mint, mixed with molecules of feta, gave it a nice freshness and cut through the sugar. The cake isn’t overly sweet, despite copious amounts of sugar in the recipe. Normally when I bake, I cut the sugar in half, but I followed the recipe and it was fine. The recipe made more glaze than I could use -- I had very juicy oranges. At first, I was a bit confused by the flipping directions, but I figured it out. I’m not a baker by nature, but this turned out great. - aargersi —The Editors
1 8 inch round cake
mint finely minced
french sheep's milk feta, grated finely (I used my microplane)
stick of butter, softened
blood orange, zest and juice
Blood Orange Feta Glaze
french sheep's milk feta, finely grated (preferably with a microplane)
Preheat the over to 350. Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, mint, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
Mix the sour cream and feta in a small bowl and set aside.
cream the butter for a minute with a handheld mixer and then add the blood orange zest and juice. Mix and slowly add the sugar until well incorporated.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Fold in the sour cream/feta mixture until blended and then fold in the dry ingredients.
Pour the batter into a greased 8 inch round pan. Lick the bowl. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes and then invert on a plate. Carefully, turn over and place on a rack set over a plate. Prepare the glaze and slowly pour over the cake letting the excess drip onto the plate below.
Blood Orange Feta Glaze
Zest one orange and place in a bowl along with the juice of the two oranges, the mint, and the feta. Slowly stir in the powdered sugar until you have a nice glaze - not too thick and not too thin. You may need more or less sugar depending on how juicy your oranges were.