1.Position oven shelves; preheat oven to moderately slow. Grease deep 20cm-round cake pan; line base with baking paper.
2.Place sugar and polenta in medium saucepan, using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil while stirring; reduce heat, simmer, stirring, about 4 minutes or until polenta is soft and thick. Spread polenta mixture onto greased tray; cool to room temperature.
3.Beat butter, rind and extra sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined between additions.
4.Transfer mixture to large bowl, stir in polenta mixture, flours and figs. Spread mixture into prepared pan.
5.Bake cake in moderately slow oven 45 minutes; cover loosely with foil, bake further for about 45 minutes
6.Stand cake in pan 10 minutes, turn onto wire rack then turn top-side up to cool. Dust cake with a little sifted icing sugar, if desired.
Polenta is a flour-like substance made of ground corn (maize); it is slightly finer and lighter in colour than ordinary cornmeal. Finely chopped seeded dried dates could be substituted for figs. Lemon rind can be substituted for orange rind.Note