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.

Rum Pavé au Chocolat

I love reading Japanese cookbooks! It’s usually much cheaper when they’ve been translated into Chinese, and at least I know just enough Mandarin to get by- ie I can read the ingredient list (sometimes with the help of my mum haha). And the great thing about these books are they usually focus on easy yet “chic” recipes, like this one. It’s basically a ganache set in a tin, left to firm, then cut into squares and dusted with cocoa powder. It’s so easy to make but it’s so good! It’s like a truffle, but softer- it gives slightly when you pick it up with your fingers, and right away you’ll so know that it’ll be soooo good. I spiked mine with rum.. because, why not??

Pavé au chocolat recipe, adapted from Japanese (Chinese) book.

The recipe uses a mixture of milk and dark chocolate but I used all dark. I also doubled the recipe and added a tablespoon of rum. I recommend using whipping cream- I used double but it split because of the high fat content and I had to whisk it quite vigorously to bring it back together. But double cream does make it quite a bit more indulgent! It can be used, but you’d have to be more careful about it splitting. Adding the chocolate to the hot cream instead of the other way round somewhat helps, and if it does split, just whisk it back together.. you’re gonna have to whisk hard!

♡270g dark chocolate, chopped
♡200ml whipping cream
♡vanilla or alcohol (I used rum)
♡20g butter
♡plus cocoa powder to dust

1. Bring cream to a boil on a stove, or in the microwave. Keep a close watch, especially if you’re doing it in a microwave- cream boils and bubbles over very quickly.

2. Place the chopped chocolate and alcohol into the hot cream, and let it sit for 3 minutes for the chocolate to melt. Stir gently with a spatula to combine, you don’t want to incorporate air into it.

3. Add butter, and mix until incorporated.

4. Pour into a small square tin or a loaf tin and chill until firm. Cut into squares and roll in cocoa powder to coat.

Thank you!!

Thank you all for your support and cake orders! It was quite a scary step for me to take but I’m so glad I did it. I love sharing what I make and (hopefully) share my passion and love for baking with others, so this is probably a nice, small step towards that! Thank you so much, you guys- I’m so happy I’ve got such supportive, encouraging people in my life! ♡