It’s been a long time between posts, I know. Don’t worry I haven’t starved death – the job that pays me has been keeping me out of the kitchen these past few weeks, but definitely not away from the table.
Just quickly, I thought I’d share this lovely Lemon Polenta Cake I made over Easter.
We’d had glorious sunshine for days before the Easter long weekend and I felt compelled to make something to reflect how joyous the blue skies and warm rays were making us all. Heston Blumenthal’s new series, How To Cook Like Heston, delivered me the perfect Lemon Tart – rich lemony pastry, filled with zesty lemon custard. But alas, this was no good for the gluten-free guests we were now expecting for lunch on Easter Sunday.
Luckily the LifeStyle FOOD channel is constantly on at home… hello Nigella Lawson and your Lemon Polenta Cake – the perfect hit of yellow for my sunny inspired (gluten-free) dessert.
Although it might look like a rather plain golden disc (that I’ve jazzed up with some naff Easter decorations) it was so delicious and easy to make. The polenta adds a lovely grittiness to the buttery cake and is perfectly moist with the sweet sharp syrup. Simply served with some crème fraiche, it was a nice break from the annual April chocolate overdose.
It’s not mentioned in the recipe below, but Nigella’s tip when pouring the syrup over the warm cake is to pierce the top a few times with a piece of dried spaghetti (a tip from the Italian’s) to allow the syrup to sink deep in and avoid the damage using a skewer would do.
“Although I am greedily happy to slice and cram messily straight into my mouth, letting damp clumps fall where they will, this cake is best eaten – in company at least – with spoon and fork”. Nigella Lawson.
Lemon Polenta Cake
Serves: 16; Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 40 minutes
200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
100g fine polenta/cornmeal
Zest of 2 lemons (save juice for the syrup)
Juice of 2 lemons
125g icing sugar
– Line the base of your 23cm round springform cake tin with baking parchment and grease its sides lightly with butter.
– Preheat the oven to 180°C.
– Beat the butter and sugar till pale and whipped, either by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon, or using a freestanding mixer.
– Mix together the almonds, polenta and baking powder, and beat some of this into the butter-sugar mixture, followed by 1 egg, then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.
– Finally, beat in the lemon zest and pour, spoon or scrape the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
– If the cake is cooked, a cake tester should come out cleanish and, most significantly, the edges of the cake will have begun to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack, but leave in its tin.
– Make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and icing sugar in a smallish saucepan.
– Once the icing sugar’s dissolved into the juice, you’re done.
– Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester (a skewer would be too destructive), pour the warm syrup over the cake, and leave to cool before taking it out of its tin.