Polenta in a cake? Whaaaaaat? I’ve had polenta in restaurants, tried it in the cooking class in Tuscany two summers ago but was frightened away by the amount of butter the chef put in it. I mean, of course it tasted like dynamite but yikes, I could not eat it prepared that way on a semi-regular basis, would just feel too guilty. I tried it in a wonderful Italian cafe in Berlin in a vegetarian “lasagna” type dish where the lasagna noodles were replaced with thin slices of polenta. It was amazing and flavorful and the chef assured me it was healthy. I had polenta in my cupboard as I’ve been meaning to experiment with it for quite some time so I just thought, hey why not? Worth a shot! Sooooooo….I ground my own almonds in my coffee grinder (thank you Tesco for the good deal on that coffee grinder). Only a few ingredients to whip this cake up and all of which I seem to have in my cupboard or refrigerator most all of the time! Could this be a new “go-to” cake? Well yes it indeed is! Wait until you taste it! It is tart, sweet, nutty and fabulous! I didn’t want to change a thing after the first, second or even last bite. Try it and let me know what you think….
Lemon Polenta Cake
This recipe is from Nigella Lawson and can be found on her website here
For the cake
- 200 gram(s) unsalted butter (soft (plus some for greasing))
- 200 gram(s) caster sugar
- 200 gram(s) ground almond(s)
- 100 gram(s) Polenta (or cornmeal)
- 1.5 teaspoon(s) baking powder (gluten-free)
- 3 medium egg(s)
- 2 medium lemon(s) (zest – save juice for syrup)
For the syrup
- 2 lemon(s) (juice)
- 125 gram(s) Icing sugar
- Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment and grease its sides lightly with butter.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
- 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.
- It may seem wibbly but, 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.