January 2018. Lemon polenta cake.
Pauline Austerfield asked me to provide a recipe for the start of the new year and as your local cooking councillor. I am pleased so share my favourite cake
based on a Nigel Slater recipe. Not only a taste of summer for the middle of winter but it has the added bonus of being gluten free.
I like to serve this with creme fraiche which balances the lemon perfectly.
210 g soft salted butter
175 g caster sugar (I use golden)
125 g ground almonds
150 g fine polenta
100 g whole blanched almonds
1 teaspoon of gluten free baking powder
3 large eggs
Zest of two lemons (save juice for the syrup)
Ingredients for syrup
Juice of two lemons
125 g icing sugar
First line a 20 cm. loose bottom cake tin and grease the sides lightly with butter. Put the oven on to warm to 180 Deg c/gas mark 4.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and whipped. In a separate bowl mix the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder.
Beat one third of this dry mixture with the creamed butter/sugar mixture.
Break an egg into a cup and lightly mix and then pour into the creamed butter/sugar mixture.
Continue in this pattern until you have used all the eggs and dry ingredients.
Now beat in the lemon zest.
Finely chop the whole almonds (by hand or with a food processor) and stir into the mixture.
If you feel the mixture is too dry add a dessert spoon of milk. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
The best way to see if the cake is cooked is the amazing aroma filling your kitchen, the cake will feel springy and be a golden brown.
Most importantly, it will have shrunk in the tin moving away from the cake tin sides.
You may also wish to use a cake tester which should come out cleanish.
This is important - leave the cake in the tin and place the tin on a plate or wire cooling rack.
Now make the lemon syrup. Simply place the lemon juice and icing sugar together in a sauce pan (a milk pan is best as it easier to pour) and boil,
Once the icing sugar has dissolved this is then ready.
Prick the top of the cake with a tooth pick then slowly pour the syrup over the cake making sure you do this slowly so it is absorbed.
Once cooled remove from the tin and serve