lemon polenta cake
Sun, 13 March, 2016
Sunshine on the plate which is lemon polenta cake, one of those cakes you cannot resist. I borrowed Nigella’s lemon polenta cake recipe, skipped the syrup and upped the butter: it’s just as good and even easier.
I can easily resist chocolate. I’ve declared several times that chocolate doesn’t do that much for me. Admittedly, I’ve been known to devour a bar or two especially in times of stress, usually followed by a bag of savoury nuts, followed by another chocolate bar since you need to alternate sweet and savoury when cravings attack. But it never has the effect on me that it has on some people, which is similar to high class substance addiction symptoms. Me, I can swim in a lake of chocolate and never lick my lips.
Cakes are another story. They require of me tremendous willpower and I promise it’s not easy when there’s always cake of some description in the house. Naturally, chocolate cakes are the least tempting (unless chocolate blondie or white kladkakka) so in times of need to lose a couple of pounds I tend to bake a brownie or a chocolate fondant.
But this little number is nigh on impossible to resist.
It’s very lemony, which I sometimes up even more, grating zest from two lemons, not just one. It’s tender and not too sweet. And it’s wonderfully crunchy on the bite thanks to the polenta which in my view should mainly be used in cakes and pies instead of being presented as a side gloop with your main in a random Italian restaurant.
It’s also gluten free (but use gluten free baking powder) and while that’s incidental in my books, it could be a top asset in others’. It really is tough to be a sufferer from an intolerance – and even tougher to feed one. Once you’ve tried the ready-mixed gluten free flours and realised they are bloody awful, all that there’s left is oats and polenta. Good job then that they can make really wonderful products like the one below.
The cake is easy, once you remember to get your butter out of the fridge in advance. If you take the eggs out as well and let them come to room temperature, you’ll avoid the terrifying curdle that will otherwise appear once cold eggs are added into the batter. No magic there, and a tip for general cake baking: if all the ingredients are the same temperature, the batter is less likely to curdle. But even if the mix looks more like scrambled eggs gone wrong – ignore it, the cake will still be totally delightful.
lemon polenta cakeServings: 10-12Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 225g (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 200g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 200g (2 cups plus 1 tbsp.) ground almonds
- 125g (1 cup) medium polenta (not the instant type)
- 1 tsp baking powder
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. Butter and line with a disc of parchment a round cake tin, 20cm in diameter.
2. Beat the butter until fluffy with an electric hand-held mixer or in the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat it in well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating continuously. The mixture may curdle horribly at this point – in fact it might look like scrambled eggs gone awfully wrong – but ignore it, the cake will come out fine nevertheless.
3. Add the lemon zest and juice, then beat in the polenta and the ground almonds, mixed together with the baking powder.
4. Transfer the mix into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface with a spatula.
5. Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for half an hour, remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
6. Dust with icing sugar, serve with creme fraiche or unsweetened whipped cream.