nectarine + polenta upside-down cake from ‘homemade memories’


This gorgeous cake comes from a book that I’ve been eagerly anticipating for months, if not years. Kate and I started our blogs on almost exactly the same day back in 2011 and over the years that we’ve been blogging, we’ve become firm friends in real life. The more that Kate and I have got to know each other, the more that we’ve found that we have in common (quite apart from our love of cake). We grew up relatively close to each other in London and have a number of mutual friends. I’d put money on us both have being at some of the same terrible teenage parties.

I was so thrilled when Kate announced that she was writing her first book and the result has totally blown me away. Homemade Memories contains recipes for almost all of my favourite childhood treats – from a triple chocolate chocolate caterpillar cake (!) to peanut butter and jammie dodgers.  One look at the cover – which features Kate’s homemade jaffa cakes – and my fiance declared it to be his favourite ever cookbook. A lot of the recipes have a unique twist or ingredient combination that I would never have thought of (like her rosemary and sea salt caramels) but none of the recipes feel unachievable – I can vouch for the utter ease and deliciousness of her one bowl chocolate cake with yoghurt ganache.

In the midst of all of these eye-catching recipes (like the afore-mentioned jaffa cakes or the butterscotch devil’s delight), this cake is, perhaps, a simpler affair but, honestly, it’s everything that I want in a cake. The cake itself is light and fragrant, with that wonderful texture you get from using polenta.  On top is a layer of sweet and sticky fruit (nectarines as per the recipe but as Kate says, other fruits would work equally as well) with a hint of caramel from the clever use of muscovado sugar. Kate understands how to write recipes that work and that I want to make time and time again. I think it’s my favourite ever cookbook now too.



nectarine + polenta upside-down cake

Serving Size: Serves 6 – 8

This is absolutely my kind of cake and I knew as soon as I read the recipe that it was one that I wanted to share with its layer of sticky, sweet fruit and the crunch of the polenta in the sponge. The only slight change that I made was to use vanilla extract in the cake rather than lemon zest but I’ve written Kate’s recipe below. This works equally will with any other kind of soft fruit (apricots, plums etc).


    For the topping:
  • 2 medium nectarines
  • 75g light muscovado sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • For the sponge:
  • 120g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 75g fine or ‘quick cook’ polenta
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°Cfan/375°F/Gas mark 5. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin with butter and line the bottom with baking parchment. Generously grease the parchment with butter too. It’s best not to use a loose-bottomed tin here, but if that’s all you have, tightly wrap a double layer of aluminium foil around the outside of the base to prevent any juices escaping.
  2. Quarter the nectarines and cut them into thin slices. Toss with the sugar and lemon juice then arrange in a single layer, slightly overlapping, round the bottom of your tin. Scrape any excess sugar syrup over the top.
  3. To make the sponge, cream the butter and sugar in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Fold in the almonds, polenta, baking powder, lemon zest and salt
  4. Spoon the batter over the nectarines, smooth the surface with a spatula then tap firmly on the work surface to remove any bubbles. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until risen and gold.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven, run a sharp knife round the edge then leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate.


Recipe from Homemade Memories by Kate Doran, published by Orion


Note: I received a copy of Homemade Memories from Orion but wasn’t compensated for this review in any way and my opinions are all my own. 

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