Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lemon Almond and Polenta Cake

Yet another cake recipe that makes use of bits I have floating around the cupboards, such as ground almonds and cornmeal/polenta. Nigella's recipes haven't failed me yet - she's brilliant for the home cook. While I made the stupid mistake of leaving out the lemon zest from the cake batter, I just stirred it into the lemon syrup at the end and think everything still turned out alright, though I'd recommend sticking with the original recipe here.

Lemon Almond and Polenta Cake

Adapted from Nigella.com


for the cake
200 grams soft unsalted butter 

200 grams caster sugar
200 grams ground almonds
100 grams fine polenta (or cornmeal)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder 

3 large eggs

for the syrup 
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons
100 grams icing sugar (originally calls for 125 but I only had 100 and it was sweet enough)


  1. Line the base of a 23cm / 9inch springform cake tin with baking parchment and grease its sides lightly with butter. I used a 10 inch silicone round cake tin as it's what I had.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/ 350°F.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar till pale and whipped, either by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon, or using a freestanding mixer.
  4. 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.
  5. Finally, beat in the lemon zest* and pour, spoon or scrape the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. (If you use smaller tin, and your cake is thicker, it may be closer to 40 minutes, as in original recipe.)
  6. 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.
  7. Make the syrup by boiling together the lemon zest*, lemon juice and icing sugar in a smallish saucepan.
  8. Once the icing sugar’s dissolved into the juice, you’re done.
  9. 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.
*As mentioned, I would include the lemon zest in the batter in step 5 rather than in the syrup in step 7. But when I made it, I had to put the zest in step 7 due to my earlier mistake, which is why it is written out this way.

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