A beautiful winter bake, this gluten-free, dairy-free Rhubarb Strawberry Polenta Traycake is baked low and slow for a gorgeous golden brown crust studded with perfectly caramelized winter fruit. Enjoy as a teacake or serve warm as a pudding with a dollop of cream or ice cream. Delicious either way!
Baking Gluten Free Cakes With Polenta
If you are looking for a great gluten free tea cake, look no further. This Rhubarb Strawberry Polenta Traycake has been a regular fixture at my past workshops. With an almond base and using polenta instead of flour, this cake develops a beautiful crust as it bakes. Olive oil gives this cake a fresh fruity aroma profile. I like to try baking this with a variety of seasonal fruit, but it works best with rhubarb or a combination of rhubarb and strawberry.
The fruit is cut into tiny pieces. I slice the rhubarb quite thinly and cut each medium-sized strawberry into quarters and then sliced twice across yielding 12 pieces from a single strawberry. The size of the fruit is important to have the most perfect crusty top that is roasted enough to caramelize the fruit and still have a tender. Larger pieces will yield a mushy top with pockets of wet fruit which doesn’t make a very pleasant eating experience.
If I can’t find lemon thyme, I substitute with an extra sprinkling of grated lemon zest or just leave it be. I have tried baking this cake at a variety of different temperatures. A low temperature and longer bake ensures a complex texture that is somewhere between a tart and cake and is absolutely divine. I use a standard sized rectangular slice tin. If you are using a smaller tin, the cake will be higher and more cake-like. It will also need time and temperature adjustments (probably 180°C for 40 minutes).
- 150g rhubarb stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 80g strawberries (about 7–8 small or medium), hulled, cut into quarters and then sliced twice across
- 1/4 cup (55g) raw sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3 eggs
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (75g) raw sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
- 1 cup (120g) almond meal
- 1/3 cup (55g) polenta
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons lemon thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced).
- Grease and line a rectangular slice tin (27cm x 17.5cm x 3.5cm) with baking paper.
- Place rhubarb, strawberry, quarter cup sugar and salt in a bowl. Toss well. Set aside.
- Place eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk until pale and creamy. Add the olive oil. Beat for another 30 seconds until well combined.
- Fold through almond meal, polenta and baking powder with a silicon spoon.
- Spoon polenta mixture into the prepared slice tin. Spread it evenly and smooth the top.
- Top with the sugared fruit. Sprinkle with lemon thyme leaves. Bake for 60 minutes until the crust is golden brown and fruit is semi-dried. Turn off the oven. Leave the cake in the hot oven for a further 5-8 minutes if you wish to colour it more.
- Remove from oven, slice and serve warm.
- Cake will keep well in the fridge for up to three days. Because of how thin the cake is, sliced pieces freeze well and can be toasted in the toaster.