Polenta Almond Cake
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
- 1/2 cup finely ground polenta
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons melted, for pan
- 1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for pan
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread sliced almonds in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl; set aside to cool. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, finely grind whole almonds; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, polenta, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Pour melted butter into an 8-by-2-inch round cake pan, swirling to coat bottom and brushing up sides of the pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar and toasted sliced almonds; set aside.
Combine butter and remaining 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Beat in orange juice and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients, slowly beating just until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer baking pan to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan, and cool completely.