With the warmer weather set to go AWOL for a while, entertaining our broods will likely take the form of indoor activities. If you (and your house!) are looking for a change from the painting and glitter, then perhaps this AMAZING Lemon polenta cake recipe might be a welcome alternative….
I tried this cake a few weeks ago whilst meeting up with one of my best friends who was over visiting from Australia. We left the husbands in charge of the kids and escaped for a night of catch ups and chats. We stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast in Petersfield where we were greeted with earl grey tea…and this cake!! Well, all I can is that it was so delicious that not only did we enjoy a second slice (and could easily have devoured a third!) but it was one of those cakes that I needed to attempt to make myself. The landlady, clearly an excellent cook, gladly shared the recipe with me and promised that it’s not difficult to get a perfect result….
I was given a very well used piece of paper upon which the recipe had been written by a friend of my landlady’s many moons ago. Apparently, the recipe was copied from a cook book but she didn’t know which one - so the creator of this delicious delight remains, for now, a bit of mystery….
200g unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
200g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
100g fine polenta/cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten free if required)
zest 2 lemons (save juice for the syrup)
For the syrup
juice 2 lemons
125g icing sugar
1 x 23cm springform or other round cake tin
Line the base of your cake tin with baking parchment and grease its sides lightly with butter. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4.
Beat the butter and sugar until pale and whipped, either by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon or using a freestanding mixer.
Mix together almonds, polenta and baking powder, and beat some of this into the butter-sugar mixture, followed by one 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 the 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.
Apparently, the cake can be baked up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in a cool place. Will keep for a total of 5-6 days.