Bolognese polenta & apple cake (Bustrengo)

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)


Serves 10   Approx time: 65   Difficulty: super easy


  • 1 knob butter
  • 100 g polenta
  • 200 g plain flour, sifted
  • 100 g stale breadcrumbs
  • 100 g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 500 ml full-fat milk
  • 3 large free-range eggs, beaten
  • 100 g runny honey,
  • 55 ml olive oil
  • 100 g dried figs, chopped or torn up
  • 100 g raisins or sultanas
  • 500 g firm eating apples, peeled, cored and roughly diced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 oranges, zest of
  • 2 lemons, zest of
  • 1 teaspoon salt


This is a superb moist cake, a bit like a clafoutis in France, but by adding breadcrumbs and using polenta it becomes very much like an Italian bread and butter pudding. It's something that Italians would cook in the embers of the fire after dinner.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and butter a shallow 28cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Mix the polenta, flour, breadcrumbs and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, eggs, honey and olive oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, making sure you stir it all together well. Add the figs, raisins, apples, cinnamon, orange and lemon zest and salt, and stir again.

Pour the mixture into your cake tin and bake for about 50 minutes. Keep an eye on it – you may need to cover it with some foil if you find that it starts to brown too much at the edges. Before serving, sprinkle over some caster sugar. Then make sure you eat it warm – lovely with a dollop of crème fraîche and a glass of vin santo!

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