Yellow cornmeal, also called polenta, is what’s needed here. Grandma likes the crunch of coarsely ground cornmeal, but a finer grind does well too. As for the Chardonnay wine when kids are around, apple juice does just as well in the batter but the baking powder should be halved to 2 teaspoons. Some cooks sift confectioners’ sugar on the cake before serving, but we all like to see the brown peaked top, like a cracked volcano.

Serves 8
½ cup/125 g butter, diced, more for the pan
1½ cups/185 g flour, more for the pan
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup/125 g coarse yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup/60 g slivered almonds
1 cup/200 g sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup/250 ml fruity white wine
9-inch/22-cm spring form pan

1. Heat the oven to 175˚C/350˚F and set a shelf in the center. Butter the cake pan, line the base with a round of parchment paper and brush again with butter. Sprinkle the pan with flour, discarding the excess.

2. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt in a food processor. Add the cornmeal, almonds, butter and sugar. Work the mixture, using the pulse button, until it forms crumbs that start to clump together, 30-60 seconds.

3. Add the eggs and wine and pulse just until smooth, 30 seconds longer. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake in the oven until the cake is brown and starts to shrink back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, 50-55 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan about 10 minutes, then unmold it onto a wire rack to cool completely.