Saturday, 25 May 2013

Lemon Polenta Cake

So now for something a bit different - I've never baked with polenta before, in fact I've only cooked with it once, so it's still a bit of an exotic ingredient for me. You can't even get it in Sainsbury's. Well, you can, but it's pre-cooked stuff, which is no good for baking.

I had a bit of a browse around the internet, and I have to say I was a bit worried by the photos I saw of polenta cakes - they all looked rather dry, and I know Italian cakes do have a tendency towards dryness. So I would advise you knock up a quick syrup or glaze to go over this. Or you could just sweeten some lemon juice to taste and pour it over, like I did.

Despite my initial reservations, I am so glad I made this cake. It was light as a feather, moist, and with a hint of crunchiness from the polenta. Take this recipe, my bakelings, and let each lemony mouthful transport you to Sicily or the Amalfi coast (I think that's where Italian lemons come from). But please, please, use the lemon juice. I know I'm normally all over the soggy bottoms, but this is not a cake you want to let dry out.

You will need:

200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
pinch of salt
100g (uncooked Sainsbury's, UNCOOKED) polenta
4 eggs
140g self-raising flour
the zest of 3 lemons

For the sweetened lemon juice:

juice of two lemons
granulated sugar to taste (I used 3 tsp)

1. Preheat the oven to 180/gas 4/160 for fan oven. Grease a sandwich tin and line base and sides with greaseproof paper.
2. Beat your butter and caster sugar together. It might be worth softening the butter first. Otherwise you will have to beat it really hard and it will make your arm hurt. I always forget to soften it and so that is why I have massive biceps. Check out me guns.

3. Beat in the salt, polenta and lemon zest. Your batter should take on the lovely orangey colour of the polenta. You can't really see it here.
 4. Beat in the eggs one by one, then sift the flour into the bowl (remember, sifting from a height gets more air in) and fold it into the batter.
5. Pour into the sandwich tin and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.
6. Leave the cake in the tin to cool, and after about 10 minutes prick all over with a cocktail stick and pour the lemon juice and sugar mixture over a little bit at a time. When the cake is completely cooled remove from the tin and serve with whipped cream, mascarpone or ice cream.

Ciao for now,


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