This fig polenta mini cake is a the easiest, quickest, most delicious gluten-free dessert recipe to try this fall. Honestly, I am not a big fan of forcing free-from cakes just for the sake of it, but this one is naturally gluten-free due to the almond and polenta used in the batter instead of flour. I adore the texture that polenta gives to cakes and the freshness provided by my favourite fall fruit; fig! The mini cakes are loaded with orange zest, drizzled with the most delicious home made orange rosewater syrup, a dream come true really!
This fig polenta mini cake is incredible moist, fruity and floral at the same time and comes together in no-time! Try it today!
First let’s start with some important notes regarding the ingredients of Fig polenta mini cake recipe
- read the recipe carefully
- avoid using substitutes unless aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavours
- measure your ingredients with the help of a digital kitchen scale
For the polenta mini cake
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. Butter needs to be at room temperature to be able to easy cream it with sugar
- Sugar: Use simple granulated sugar. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Egg: Room temperature as always
- Polenta: Polenta is made of stone-ground dried yellow corn kernels that have a flaky texture. It is naturally gluten-free and can be beautifully used in cakes or savoury dishes
- Almond: Look for almond flour or ground almond, worth to buy good quality ground almond, without skin
- Cardamon: One of my favourite spices to use every fall
- Baking powder: Has two functions: increase the volume and lighten the texture
- Orange zest: Using lemon or orange zest makes the desserts wonderfully flavourful and aromatic. Make sure you use fresh, organic orange (or one which has no chemicals on the skin) and only grate the orange part of the skin, not the white. First take the zest off then simply squeeze the juice out which will be used for the syrup
For the syrup
- Sugar+Water: Sugar and water are the base of any simple syrup. This time we use 2 more ingredients for an incredible fruity and floral touch
- Orange juice: Freshly squeezed juice of the orange you took the zest of earlier. See above
- Rosewater: Please note that there is a huge different between pure rosewater, pure rose essence and all the other fake ones. Make sure to only use 100% natural pure rose products for your health and also for your desserts´ taste. In terms of rosewater and rose essence, rosewater is sold in a larger bottle usually and you have to use more of that vs. rose essence. I am using ½ table spoon here. If you have rose essence at home, which is a much more concentrated product, then you only need to use a tiny amount, like ½ teaspoon or even less. Rosewater is rather a love it or hate it flavour, so feel free to skip it if you don´t like it. In the meantime if you haven´t tried it before, I really recommend start using it in desserts, it pairs amazing not just with Middle Eastern desserts but also with e.g. raspberry
Now let’s continue with some important notes about the technique of making Fig polenta mini cake
It is the easiest dessert ever and you don´t have to over complicate. There are however a few tips worth to bear in mind and consider when you are baking this fig polenta mini cake.
1. Use Silicon mould for baking mini cakes
This recipe can be done either in a cupcake tin or I recommend using Silicon mould for mini cakes. Silicon moulds are extremely useful, you can use them for mini cakes like this, mousse cakes or mini cheesecakes. I just love how this pro baking equipment provides a neat, professional looking dessert every time.
2. Mixing ingredients
Do not overmix the ingredients. Beat sugar and butter until fluffy then mix in egg however after that switch to a spatula and fold the dry ingredients without over mixing the batter.
3. Do not overfill your baking tin
I get that, first time it is a bit tricky to decide how much you should fill your tin. If in doubt, it is always better to fill less than more. If you overfill your tin it will result in “mushroom style” mini cakes and who wants that? No one! If you don´t fill it enough, they will rise but will stay tiny. I recommend to fill the Silicon mould up to a bit more than ½ then press half a fig into the batter. In this way the batter will reach up to ¾ of the tin before baking and will come out beautifully even risen after baking.
4. Let the mini cakes completely cool down
Since the batter does not contain flour, the mini cakes can be extremely fragile after baking and drizzling with syrup. It is very important that you let them cool down in the Silicon mould completely before attempting to release them or they might break. Once they cooled down I like to pop them in the freezer for 3-5 minutes and they always come out perfectly neat and beautiful.
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Now let´s see the recipe of this Fig polenta mini cake!
Fig polenta mini cake
For the mini cake
- 2 Eggs
- 90 g Granulated sugar
- 100 g Unsalted butter
- ½ Teaspoon Cardamon
- ½ Teaspoon Baking powder
- 85 g Polenta
- 50 g Almond flour
- Orange zest zest of 1 orange
For the syrup
- 3 Figs half in each mini cake
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Heat oven to 180 C / 356°F
- Mix together the dry ingredients; almond flour, polenta, baking powder, orange zest and cardamon
- With a Electric hand mixer beat together the wet ingredients; room temperature butter and sugar until the mixture becomes creamy and pale then mix in eggs, one at a time
- With the help of a Rubber spatula fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients, do not overmix
- Fill Silicon mould till ½ then press half a fig into each. The batter should come up to ¾ before baking
- Bake for 30 min
- Towards the end of the baking time make the syrup by boiling orange juice, water and sugar until it syrupy then remove from heat and mix in rosewater
- Once mini cakes are baked, pour the warm syrup over particularly around the edges of the mini cake. The syrup will sink in
- Once completely cool remove mini cakes from the Silicon mould (do not attempt to remove them while still warm, they are very fragile due to the lack of flour)