Completely Board Post #11: Peach Polenta Upside Down Cake

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014


In the post about the jello pretzel salad, I mentioned that I wanted a cake for my veggieversary but hadn’t had the time to make it yet.  That has been remedied.  It may have been a week late, but it did not disappoint.

Peach Polenta Upside-Down Cake Slice

I made the Peach Polenta Upside Down Cake from Braisen Woman (a vegan site).  I followed the recipe as written, only making a substitution for the all-purpose flour.   In place of the all purpose flour, I used 3/8 cup sorghum flour, 1/8 cup tapioca starch, 1/4 cup arrowroot and 1/4 tsp xanthan gum.  If you don’t have an 1/8 cup, 1/8 cup=2 Tbsp.  My original intention was to try it without the xanthan, but the batter was too thin.  That 1/4 tsp really did make a huge difference.

That being said, this batter still seemed a little thin for a cake, but go with it.  The polenta swells up in cooking and it just works. The cake is moist and a little bit gritty.  Normally, I would consider gritty a bad thing in a cake, but when it’s coming from polenta, it is so far away from bad.  The cake is also sweet without being too sweet.  It would be a perfect addition to Saturday or Sunday brunch.

I don’t really know how else to say how good it is, so I’ll let this photo do the talking. I took a slice to my friend at work the other day.  She had not eaten it yet when I left.  When I returned to my desk the following morning, I found my plate just like this:

More Please!

That says it all.  I’ll definitely be making this one again.  I’m already thinking of variations :)


For the original recipe, click on the image of my pin below

Pin of Peach Polenta Upside Down Cake

Saturday Breakfast: Brown Sugar Arepas with Peaches and Maple-Cayenne Pecans

I took yesterday off from cooking/posting and spent some time shopping with my sister and our friend.  Then I saw 3, yes 3, movies (2 documentaries and Iron Man 3…again).  I got home late and just wanted to chill out.  But this morning, as on many Saturday mornings, I woke up ready to make breakfast.

Saturday breakfast is my favorite because usually I can take my time and just hang out in the kitchen preparing.  Then, I can sit at the table for as long as I want, enjoying the sunshine coming from the nearby windows and most often the company of my mom and my sister.  It’s the only morning during the week I can do this, and I like to just drink it in.   While I’m drinking it in, I usually want something just a little sweet.  If I can add just a tiny bit of hot to that sweet, it’s that much better.  Along that line, I present to you Brown Sugar Arepas with Peaches and Maple-Cayenne Pecans.

Brown Sugar Arepas with Peaches and Maple-Cayenne Pecans |Veg-am

I’m a big fan of arepas. I use them as sandwich/burger bread.  I stuff them with avocado, tomatoes, Daiya, beans, mushrooms, vegetables, and any combination of those things.  Back during Vegan MoFo 2011, I even made a bbq portobella/slaw sandwich in an arepa “roll”.   But I’ve never had a sweet arepa.  In fact, I don’t ever remember hearing about a sweet arepa.  It was time to give it a go. This is the yummy result.

If you’re trying to impress someone with your dainty table manners, you may want to hold these for another day. They are messy to eat, as the best arepas are, so keep a fork and a napkin handy.


Brown Sugar Arepas with Peaches and Maple-Cayenne Pecans
(makes 6)

  • 1 recipe peach filling
  • 1 recipe Maple-Cayenne Pecans
  • 1 recipe Brown Sugar Arepas

Start the peach filling first.  In between steps, you can work on the arepas.  After the peaches are removed from the heat, and the arepas are still being cooked, mix the pecans. The pecans go in the oven at the same time as the arepas.

When the arepas are cooked, slice horizontally 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to form a “pocket”.  I find that a small serrated knife cuts them the best. Stuff with approximately 1/3 cup of the peach filling and top with 1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp pecans.

Serve hot arepas immediately or keep warm by loosely wrapping in foil. Arepas should be eaten hot, as they tend to toughen up when they get cool. Reheat arepas by grilling again, or by warming in a microwave for 30 seconds and then slapping on the grill if you want the interior very hot and the crust recrisped.


Peach Filling:

  • 6 peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced (keep divided into two batches – 4 peaches/2 peaches)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot

In a small saucepan, place 4 of the sliced peaches and coat with lemon juice and sugar.  Cook on medium low heat.  When the peaches have broken down, softened, released their juices and started a low boil, reduce the temperature to low.  After a couple minutes, when the temperature has dropped, add the arrowroot, being careful to stir out any lumps.  Then return the peaches to a low rolling boil over medium low heat, stirring regularly.  When they begin to boil, once again lower the heat and allow the juices to thicken.  When they reach desired consistency (like a pie filling), remove from heat and add the 2 uncooked, sliced peaches.  Stir until the two kinds of peaches are well combined.  Let sit until arepas are complete.

While the peaches are cooking, make the arepas.


Brown Sugar Arepas:

Based on the Venezuelan Style Arepas from Viva Vegan!  by Terry Hope Romero

If you’re gluten free, be sure to check the brand of masarepa you purchase for possible gluten issues.  The most popular brand, Harina Pan, states that it my contain some wheat ingredients.  The brand I use, Doñarepa, does not and I’ve never had any issues with using it.

  • 2 cups white or yellow Venezuelan- or Colombian-style masa harina flour (masarepa)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-1/4 cups warm water, or more
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • A small amount of vegetable oil (use a high-smoking-point oil, such as refined canola) for grilling
1. Preheat a well-seasoned cast-iron griddle or other thick-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Lightly brush with vegetable oil. Also preheat the oven to 350F and have ready a baking sheet. The griddle is ready to use when a drop of water dropped onto its surface sizzles loudly.
2. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, warm water and vanilla extract until the brown sugar is melted.  Add the masarepa, cinnamon and salt.  Use your hands to mix   eliminating any lumps and creating a smooth moist dough. The dough should have the consistency of very firm, moist, and heavy mashed potatoes. If the dough seems too stiff, drizzle in a little extra water.
3. Divide the dough into six equal portions and roll into balls. Place a ball in your palm and, with gentle yet firm patting motions, begin pressing down your arepa. Use your palms to occasionally press the disk just a little flatter, then use your fingers to shape and press the edges outward. Do a little of this motion all at once while incrementally turning the arepa in your palms to work on the edges. Shape each arepa into a disk 3-1/2 to 4 inches wide by 1/2″ thick

4. Gently place two to three arepas in the preheated, lightly oiled pan, leaving enough room that they can be easily flipped. While the other arepas cook, place the remaining shapely new arepas on a cutting board and cover with either a damp, clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Cook each arepa for 8 to 10 minutes on each side to form a crust, flipping just once. Some dark, browned spots are ideal. Then place the grilled arepas on the baking sheet and bake for another 14 to 16 minutes, flipping halfway through. The arepas are ready when they have a firm crust and sound slightly hollow when tapped underneath.


Maple-Cayenne Pecans:

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped raw pecans
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 3+ dashes cayenne, add to taste

In a small, foil-lined pan, add all ingredients and toss to coat.  Cook in 350F oven for 16 minutes.  When you pull them out, they’ll still be a little syrupy, but as they cool to room temperature the coating will harden in to a nice light candy. They will stick to the foil as they cool, but they peel off pretty easily.




Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: