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. 

Tagged with →  
23 Responses to "nectarine + polenta upside-down cake from ‘homemade memories’"
  1. Kate says:

    You’re so sweet Kathryn! What a lovely lovely post and what beautiful photos to boot. This is my Dad’s favourite cake ever so will definitely be making it again myself very soon :-) xxx ps let’s do dinner soon!

  2. This looks lovely! It really is a fantastic book isn’t it? :)

    ps – glad to be in such good company on the blog tour!

  3. Erika says:

    This cake is so lovely… much like the American southern favorite pineapple upside down cake.

  4. Oooh, polenta + nectarines? I’m intrigued, it sounds like a wonderful combination. Can’t wait to check Kate’s new book out!

  5. This is such a gorgeous cake. My Grandmother used to make something similar with plums and only ground almonds, but I love the idea of the polenta. I will have to try this! And love, love your photos here.

  6. Alana says:

    Love that you two are friends IRL and that you started your blogs almost at the exact same time!! This upside-down cake is GORGEOUS and Kate’s book is too! I’m definitely going to have to order me a copy cause, I need jaffa cakes too!!

  7. Abby says:

    Oh, this post is the loveliest, Kathryn! Your photos are gorgeous, and what sweet words about Kate and her beautiful book. I love the flavors in this recipe. xx

  8. Emma says:

    Wow, sounds like I have to get my hands on this book (peanut butter and jammie dodger? yoghurt ganache? HOMEMADE JAFFA CAKES?!?!). I love the look of this upside down cake, so elegant and summery!

  9. This looks so lovely! I’ve never made an upside-down cake, but since this one comes so highly recommended, I look forward to making this soon. It seems like the perfect way to use up over-ripe nectarines (it’s rare that they don’t get eaten immediately, but in the off chance…)! Thanks for the gorgeous recipe, and the cookbook recommendation. I’m intrigued!
    xx Sydney

  10. What an interesting idea to use polenta in the cake. I love upside down cakes and would definitely like to try this some day!

  11. Sacha says:

    This is my kind of cake; I’ll be making it as soon as stone fruits start showing up at the markets here. I can’t wait to hold my own copy of Kate’s book.

  12. That’s so neat that you two found each other through blogging and had so much in common! This sounds like the perfect book to have on hand for when a sweet + nostalgic night is needed. Gorgeous fruit and photos too Kathryn!

  13. I just got a whole bushel (or is it bundle?) of nectarines, plus I have polenta! Love everything about this cake Kathryn – buttery, nutty sponge, sweet and tart topping! Yes! Perfect way to celebrate summer if you ask me! I will have to check out Kate’s book too!

  14. This is certainly a gorgeous cake!! Oh my. Simple cakes are my very favorite too. I have been looking forward to buying Kate’s book, now I can’t wait!

  15. You and Kate have such an adorable backstory and it’s so lovely to hear you’ve become friends in real life! The texture of polenta and cornmeal cakes is one of my favourite textures. I can never get over the slight graininess, which I think is perfect, although many people prefer smoother cakes. We don’t have nectarines or peaches back in season here yet but I have a feeling that my love of stone fruit and polenta will lead me to this cake!

  16. Joanne says:

    How gorgeous! And I am so happy for Kate. I’ve followed her blog for a while now also and it is always stunning. Must look into getting that cookbook!

  17. Babs says:

    Made this tonight with the peaches I had instead of nectarines and it is amazing! The sugar-fruit combination makes a wonderful caramelized crust. Thank you for the recipe, I’ll be making again soon.

  18. Erika says:

    WHAT IS A CHOCOLATE CATERPILLAR CAKE?! I MUST KNOW NOW. Excuse me while I go stalk her book for the next half hour. I LOVE real-life blogger friends! That is so cute, and this cake looks uber delicious. Kathryn, you just have me craving all the cake. Lord help my waistline.

  19. I <3 Kate's book! I just want to make *everything* out of it! So far I've only done the chocolate cake with yoghurt ganache but now I reeeeally want to make this right now!

  20. Alison says:

    Yum! One of my favourite cakes is a lemon syrup polenta cake… will def put this on my ‘must-make’ list for summer! ;)

  21. wow this looks beautiful! I’m thinking of making a peach upside cake today. Love that you included polenta in it, so unique! : )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *