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Lemon Polenta Cake

December 21, 2012

photo 5   Though we are up to our elbows in cookies, and time is running short, there is something more pressing to share. If you’re looking for something to bring to that holiday party that won’t cause heart disease (or be the only dessert left over), this is it.

I first tried this cake a few months ago when my dear friend John brought it over. It bowled me over, but I so often am by whatever John makes. So I (along with everyone else who tried it) asked for the recipe, but dismissed it as just another product of John’s culinary genius.

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We had friends over last week, so I decided to try my hand at it. Earlier I’d bought a box of polenta for no apparent reason, so I had the cornmeal. I had everything else I needed: some almond meal and lemons. I had no excuses. But I also had a backup plan.

Despite my reservations about cooking a cake for the first time for guests with a flourless recipe that uses weight instead of volume measurements, it turned out pretty great. So great that I highly, enthusiastically, emphatically recommend it to anyone who needs to impress people. Not because this cake is pretty – it’s not. Not because it’s exotic – I think cornmeal is pretty run of the mill (haha?). But because it’s stunningly delicious. It’s fresh and bright yet moist and substantial. It’s now on the top of my list. No backup necessary.



I’m going to copy and paste the recipe the way I got it from John. I’m not sure where he got it from, but I Googled around a bit and it seems to resemble a Nigella Lawson number. It can (and should, I think) be made a day ahead. Makes 1 (gluten-free) cake that feeds about 10.

Dry Ingredients
100 g cornmeal
200 g almond meal
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2-3 pinches of salt

Wet Ingredients
200 g caster sugar
200 g soft butter
3 eggs
zest of 2 large lemons

125 g icing sugar
juice of 2 large lemons
rum (ad lib)

Preheat oven to 180C/350F degrees. Sift dry ingredients together once, making sure there are no clumps.
In a separate bowl, beat butter & sugar until creamed and light in color. Add eggs and dry ingredients in alternation to the butter-sugar mixture.
Butter and line a spring-form pan. Bake at 180 for 40-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix icing sugar and lemon juice for glaze. Heat on the stove for a few minutes and whisk to combine. Add rum when the glaze comes off the heat. Remove cake from oven, puncture its surface (an uncooked spaghetto does the trick) and douse the hot cake with the hot glaze.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lindsay permalink
    January 4, 2013 2:27 am

    This cake was DELICIOUS! Thanks for sharing the recipe (& for serving it to us!)


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