Last weekend, EHH was off on a boys’ weekend and I had a couple of my friends over for a girly night. EHH was disappearing off during the day on Friday, so I whipped up a quick batch of chocolate and raspberry brownies on the Thursday night for him to take with him.
With EHH gone, I had Saturday to myself to potter in the kitchen and so I decided to have a go at a new recipe that I had spotted in BBC Good Food magazine – a gluten-free lemon polenta cake. I had a few brownies left for dessert for the girls but thought that this would be a good alternative. This week was also my week for Friday cakes at work, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to practise a gluten-free cake to take in with me later in the week.
I was a bit wary about tackling this recipe: it required a 25cm tin and I don’t have one, so I had to adapt it to fit in a 20cm tin. As the original recipe required 300g butter, 300g sugar, 300g ground almonds and 150g polenta, it seemed fairly easy to do two-thirds of the recipe and hope that it worked out ok for the tin! The recipe asked for 5 eggs, so I decided to go with 3 eggs and 1 yolk. I decided to up the lemon zing and added the zest of 3 lemons rather than 2. As usual, I wrapped the cake tin in my magi-cake cake strips before baking and these really helped it to rise and bake evenly.
It’s actually a really easy cake to make and, fortunately, fitted perfectly in the 20cm deep tin. The cake is light and zingy, with rich almond sweetness and texture from the polenta. The texture isn’t that of a normal sponge, but it certainly doesn’t feel like a “gluten-free” poor relative cake. Once soaked in syrup and dusted in icing sugar, it looks elegant and delicious, and would be a great addition to a refined afternoon tea. Definitely a cake that I’ll be making again!
Lemon polenta cake
- 200g butter, at room temperature
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 200g ground almonds
- Finely grated zest of 2-3 lemons
- 3 large eggs and 1 egg yolk
- Icing sugar (to dust)
For the lemon syrup
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- Grease and line a 20cm deep cake tin.
- Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes).
- Add the ground almonds, polenta and lemon zest.
- Beat until combined.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well until smooth (it will still be a fairly thick mixture).
- Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread evenly.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden and springy.
- Remove from the oven and place the tin on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
- While it is cooling, place the lemon juice and icing sugar in a bowl and microwave for 45 seconds, until boiling and syrupy.
- Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and prick with a skewer.
- Spoon the syrup over the cake.
- Leave cake to cool.
- Dust with icing sugar before serving.