Lemon, Polenta and Almond Cake

Although I’m in the “milky/creamy” camp when it comes to picking desserts, lemon is definitely one of the exceptions. I love tart, lemony treats of all kinds- lemon tarts and slices and drenched syrup cakes. This particular cake, however tops the list of lemony cakes (for now). It’s flourless, so its texture is crumbly but really moist and dense from the ground almonds and it is seriously lemony. It’s sharp flavour balances the heft of the cake, and you don’t realise just how rich the cake is- it’s definitely not shy on the butter.

I don’t claim credit for this recipe as it’s one of those wildly popular cakes here in the UK. I’ve compared and tweaked several recipes and have come up with this one.

♡225g unsalted butter, room temperature
♡225g caster sugar
♡225g ground almonds
♡3 large eggs
♡115g polenta (cornmeal)
♡1tsp baking powder
♡1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
♡4 unwaxed lemons, zest and juice
♡2 clementines, both zested 1 juiced
♡Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 150º

2. Grease and line a regular sized loaf tin. There will be some extra batter- you can make mini cakes or alternatively, you can use a 7″ or 8″ round cake tin. I’m not too fussy when it comes to choosing a tin, I like shaking things up and make cakes of different shapes and sizes.

3. Zest the lemons and clementines and juice the lemons and 1 of the clementine. Strain the juice to remove the seeds and pips.

3. Cream the soft unsalted butter, vanilla seeds and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Fold the ground almonds into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Add the eggs one at a time, mix well after each addition. Add the lemon zest and juice.

4. Fold in polenta and baking powder over the egg batter, the mixture will be runny- that’s ok!

5. Pour the mixture in to the prepared cake tin,  and  bake for 1 ½ hour. Test by poking a skewer in the middle of the cake- if there’s wet batter clinging to it, bake for another 5-10 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and cool until just slightly warm before removing from tin.

Lemon Glaze

♡100g icing sugar, sifted
♡juice of 1 lemon, sieved

1. Slowly add the lemon juice to the powdered sugar, stirring constantly. Not all the juice may be needed- the glaze should be and opaque white and pretty viscous.

2. Use a spoon to spoon the glaze onto the cake, pushing the glaze over the edges of the cake so it drips prettily down the cake.

Posted in Cakes, Lemon | Lemon, Polenta and Almond Cake

Chocolate & Lemon-Vanilla Bean Sablé

I’ve been reading quite a lot of Japanese recipe websites, blogs and books lately, and have been obsessed with their perfect pastries and cakes. They always look like how they should! I’ve come to realise that they are very fond of making sablés, a French biscuit which are sandy and light and melts in your mouth. Inspired, I made lemon-vanilla and chocolate ones. I had quite high hopes for the chocolate sablés since they’re a Pierre Hermé recipe, but I found them really underwhelming. The texture was perfect, light and tender, but it tasted almost like nothing at all. Which isn’t very surprising considering the tiny amount of sugar and cocoa powder in it. Hmm.. well it could just be me, though. The lemon zest and vanilla one were better, but still.. slightly boring. I guess I like my desserts not so dainty and delicate haha. Anyway, isn’t this a bit of a fail of a blog post?