Orange Habanero Polenta Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American Southwest
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
This is the perfect "not too sweet" dessert for after dinner or afternoon snack The habanero chile adds a nice fruity flavor and just the right amount of heat at the finish of your bite. The polenta can have a very grainy texture so I recommend grinding it a little finer in the food processor and soaking it in the warm milk to soften it before adding it to the batter. If you prefer, you can substitute cornmeal for the polenta and skip the food processor and hot milk steps.
  • 1 cup fine polenta or corn meal
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons orange zest, divided
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • For the glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 heaping tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 small habanero chile (about 1 inch long) seeds and stem removed, finely minced
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 9 inch cake pan.
  2. Put the polenta into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the polenta is a finer grind. Pour the polenta in a large mixing bowl. Heat the milk in a sauce pan until little bubbles appear around the edge. Pour the milk over the polenta and stir. Set aside to allow the polenta to soften.
  3. MIx together 1 heaping tablespoon orange zest and sugar, set aside.
  4. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder together in a separate mixing bowl.
  5. Beat the eggs, egg yolk, extra virgin olive oil and honey together until frothy. Combine the egg mixture, the polenta mixture and the sugar mixture together.
  6. Then, add the liquids to the dry ingredients and beat together for 2 minutes. Do not over beat, it will add air bubbles to the cake.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Test for doneness at 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes then, remove from the pan.
  9. For Glaze:
  10. Heat orange juice in the microwave until just about to boil, approximately 1½ minutes. Add the heaping tablespoon of orange zest and stir to infuse the orange juice with the flavor of the zest.
  11. Add the orange juice mixture to the powdered sugar and stir until no lumps are left.
  12. Add half of the finely minced habanero. Let the glaze sit for a few minutes. Taste the glaze on a bite of bread to see if you would like to add more.
  13. If the glaze is too hot, add more powdered sugar and orange juice. Remember that the habanero will be more mild when it has been spread over the cake.
  14. Pour over the cake while it is still warm to the touch but, not hot.
  15. Garnish with whipped cream and orange slices.
Recipe by Everyday Southwest at