Desserts and Treats

Gluten Free Vegan Pear and Polenta Cake

Many years ago, before having to go wheat and dairy free I once made a delicious pear and polenta cake. I currently have several pears that could do with using, so planned to make it again.
I had to tweak the recipe a bit to get it working well. The first attempt was very flat so I swapped the flax egg for aquafaba and gluten free vegan pear and polenta cake is born 😀
I can’t remember how it compares to the original cake but this version was light, soft and yummy. I call that success!

gluten free vegan pear and polenta cake

Aquafaba

Aquafaba is the liquid that is found in canned chickpeas and other pulses. It can also be created by cooking dried pulses. A lot of people drain this and throw it away without a second thought but it can be used as a replacement for eggs in cooking.
Aquafaba can be used as a binder and is ideal for vegans or anyone who suffers with egg allergies/intolerances.
The name aquafaba has been created using the Latin words for water and beans, aqua (water) and faba (beans). The proteins and starches contained in aquafaba closely resemble those found in egg whites. This allows them to be used in the same way and even to create egg free meringue!
Generally 3 tbsp of aquafaba should be used to replace one egg. It can also be stored in the fridge for several days or frozen. Freezing in tbsp portions using ice cube trays is an ideal way to do this. The cubes can then be stored in a freezer bag or container to use at a later date.

Pears

Pears are a delicious and healthy fruit that are available in many varieties. They contain a range of vitamins and minerals including niacin, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc.

Some health benefits of eating pears include:

  • Pears are a good source of dietary fibre, containing approximately 8% of fibre per 100g.
  • They are a good source of nutrients such as beta-carotene and lutein which can help protect against harmful free radicals.
  • Pears help to boost the immune system due to the fact that they contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and copper which help to fight off disease.
  • The fibre content in pears helps to promote good colon health and reduce the chances of cancer.
  • They are one of the least likely foods to cause an allergic reaction.
  • The potassium in pears helps to keep your heart healthy and muscles working well.
  • Boiling the juice of Chinese pears with honey creates a warm tea that is very healing for the throat and vocal cords.

 

Polenta

Polenta is a cornmeal grain that has many uses in cooking. It is often cooking in water and then left to set solid before being sliced and baked grilled or fried. It can also be used in baking in place of other grain flours and adds a pleasant sweetness and texture.
Polenta is made from milled corn, is an excellent source of carotenoids and is a low carbohydrate food. It is a source of vitamins A and E and is gluten free. Polenta also contains traces of the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and zinc.

Gluten Free Vegan Pear and Polenta Cake Recipe

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp liquid from canned beans or chickpeas (aquafaba)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 soft pears (tinned can be used), peeled, quartered and cored
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup gluten free flour blend such as Doves Farm
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup fine polenta
  • Sprinkle cinnamon
  • Sprinkle sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and grease or line a 7 inch cake tin.
  2. Whisk the aquafaba as you would eggs.
  3. Lay the pear quarters in the bottom of the cake pan. Sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar over the pears.
  4. Mix together the aquafaba, vanilla extract and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the oil.
  5. Sift the flour, polenta and baking powder into the wet mixture and stir to mix well.
  6. Beat in water to create a smooth batter.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before turning over and serving.

 

Photo source – free photos, [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

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