Lemon and Fruit Polenta Cake

I enjoy the crumbly and buttery style of most polenta or cornmeal cakes but, just for a change, this one is more of a rich fruit loaf. It's a distant cousin of a Northern Italian cake but made the lazy way with a breadmaker. Like a lot of moist fruit cakes, I think this works best as a dessert with cream or something along those lines, but that doesn't stop me eating it with a cup of something warm in the afternoon.

The order of the dough ingredients given here is correct for Panasonic breadmakers which add liquids last; other breadmakers reverse this order so it's probably best to follow the manufacturer's advice.

Polenta Fruit Cake 5
For the dough:
   ¾ tsp easy bake dried yeast
   150 g white bread flour
   150 g  fine cornmeal (polenta)
   ¼ tsp salt
   80 g caster sugar
   25 g butter, softened
   1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
   zest of 1 small lemon, very finely chopped
   1 small eating apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
   120 ml water
   50 ml lemon juice
For the fruit:
   100 g raisins
   1 tbsp dark rum
   75 g or about 5 soft dried figs, chopped
For the top:
   1 beaten egg
   1 tsp caster sugar

Soak the raisins in the rum for at least 30 minutes.

Put all the ingredients for the dough into the breadmaker. Select the basic dough program. If your breadmaker adds fruit or nuts automatically, then simply add the soaked raisins and the figs to the hopper and choose the appropriate setting. If not, then you'll need to add them manually at the point the manufacturer recommends.

Once the program is complete, pour the dough into a greased 19 cm round cake tin. Ideally the tin should be around 3.5 cm deep, though it isn't critical if it's a little deeper. Cover the cake with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave it somewhere warm to rise for around an hour. At this point, if your tin is 3.5 cm deep then the mixture should pretty much fill it.

Carefully brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle over the caster sugar. Bake at 180°C for 25 – 30 minutes until brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes or so and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Polenta Fruit Cake 1


  1. We have just unpacked our ancient Panasonic breadmaker after moving house last year. This seems like a perfect recipe to test the machine in its new home.
    Although ours is the version that doesn't automatically add the fruit - you have to listen out for the "raisin beep" and if you miss that short window of opportunity when you can safely open the machine and chuck in the fruit.....you've had your chips! No fruit!


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