We had a can of date syrup in our cabinet for a few years. I know, shame on us. We’ve also been wanting to try cakes with polenta or olive oil or both for sometime. So why not kill three birds with one stone? The recipe is lightly adapted from one that appeared in Bon Appetit in 2006. We wanted to use date syrup in the batter, not just on the side and we never have couscous in the house, but always have polenta. We also chose a Muscadet over a heavier sweet wine and ditched a whipped topping. To our Western tongues date syrup tastes a bit like molasses, but thinner and sweeter. You can find it at Middle Eastern markets.
Polenta and Olive Oil Cake with Date Syrup
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 cup uncooked polenta
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Muscadet wine
- 6 large egg yolks
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Zest from one orange
- 1/2 cup date syrup, plus extra for brushing
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line bottom of springform pan with parchment paper round; brush parchment and pan with olive oil. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Stir in polenta. Whisk olive oil and wine in another medium bowl.
Using stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks, eggs, and 1/2 cup sugar on high in large bowl until thick and pale yellow, about seven minutes. Stir in orange peel. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in flour mixture alternately with olive oil mixture each. Stir in date syrup. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Tap pan lightly to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake cake until dark brown and beginning to pull away from sides of pan and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer cake to rack and cool in pan at least 30 minutes. Brush top with extra date syrup while still warm. Top with chopped dates for garnish if desired.