Vegetarianized Recipe: Apple Sage Upside Down Polenta Cake


Inspiration found me this week at the farmer’s market. Apples coming in to season . . . corn on its way out . . . and free fresh sage – yes, free! I infused a brown sugar-butter glaze with sage and apple cider, set crisp apple slices in it, and poured on a polenta and cornmeal batter studded with sage on top. Baked, cooled and inverted . . . all in less than 30 minutes active time.

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Servings: 8
Time: Less than 30 minutes active; about 80 minutes total

6 tablespoons butter, divided (preferably plant-oil based)
1/2 cup apple cider, divided
1/4 cup brown sugar
About 15 fresh sage leaves, divided
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup polenta
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 apples, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter with 1/4 cup cider, brown sugar and 10 whole sage leaves in a small pot over medium low heat. Whisk under sugar is dissolved. Simmer 1 minute, then remove from heat and set aside.

3. In a mixer, cream remaining 4 tablespoons butter with white sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add remaining cider, milk, eggs, vanilla and 1 tablespoon very finely chopped sage, and beat on high until incorporated. 

4. On low speed, mix in cornmeal, polenta baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside.

5. Toss apple slices in lemon juice. Remove sage from the brown sugar glaze, and then add to a cake pan coated with cooking spray. Lay apple slices over top in a circle to cover the bottom. Pour batter in and bake 30-35 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes in pan before running a knife around the edges and inverting onto serving platter. Cut and serve.

Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog,, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty – just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun and, above all, tasty lifestyle.