Blood Orange Upside Down Polenta Cake
This cake was inspired by one featured in the March 2010 issue of Bon Appétit
You actually bake the cake in the frying pan. This recipe is also made Gluten Free by exchanging the all purpose flour for a 50/50 mix of soy and rice flour.
7 tablespoons sugar, divided, plus 3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
3 unpeeled small to medium blood oranges
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
½ Cup polenta
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons half and half
Special equipment: Ovenproof 10-inch-diameter skillet with 2 1/2-inch-high sides
For the cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Combine 6 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons water in 10-inch-diameter ovenproof skillet with 8-inch-diameter bottom and 2 1/2-inch-high sides.Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is golden amber (not dark amber), about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and whisk 2 tablespoons butter into caramel. Set aside.
Using a sharp knife, cut oranges into 1/16- to 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Remove and discard any seeds. Arrange orange slices, overlapping slightly, in concentric circles atop caramel in bottom of skillet.
Whisk flour, polenta, baking powder, and coarse kosher salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup sugar, remaining 6 tablespoons room-temperature butter, and vanilla in another medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beating batter just until incorporated.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into batter to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Drop batter by large spoonfuls atop orange slices in skillet, then spread evenly.
Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in skillet 10 minutes. Run small knife around cake to loosen. Place platter atop skillet. Using oven mitts, hold platter and skillet firmly together and invert, allowing cake to settle onto platter. Cool cake completely at room temperature before slicing.