Lemons are everywhere here at the moment. I use lemons a lot in my cooking to brighten up soups, curries, salads and dips. Most of my dishes are finished of with a squeeze of lemon before serving. It just highlights all the other flavours and brings the dish to life.
I saw Nigella make a lemon polenta cake that looked delicious. Hers had quite a bit of butter in it so I thought I’d try to make it with olive oil instead. I have some amazing first press newly harvested local stuff to play with and I’m always looking for excuses to use it in anything.
You should always keep olive oil (or anything really) in glass bottles if you can. Plastic affects the chemical make up of things especially when heated. Like you should never use cling film when microwaving things. Or drink water out of a plastic bottle that has been in the sun. Microwaves are nasty anyway. Ours broke a few years ago and we have never replaced it. I honestly don’t miss it at all.
Most recipes also use a mixture of polenta, plain flour and ground almonds. I wanted to make a gluten-free, dairy-free version so I tried it without the flour. It works…
Lemon Polenta Olive Oil Cake
Makes a 24cm/9 inch cake, serves 12. Dairy-free, gluten-free.
Adapted from A Meandering Mango
Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 45 mins
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 160 gr (3/4 cup) brown sugar (or raw sugar)
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
- 2 large lemons, zested & juiced
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 190 gr polenta (cornmeal)
- 75 gr (1/2 cup) ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 150 C and oil a 24 cm loose bottomed cake tin.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and creamy (about 4 mins). Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, continuing to whisk until all the oil is combined. Whisk in the lemon zest and vanilla.
In another bowl, stir together the polenta, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Sieve this mixture over the eggs and sugar in 3 batches, alternating with the lemon juice, folding until just combined.
Pour into the oiled cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve with a light dusting of icing sugar. You can also make a lemon syrup to drizzle over if you think it needs it. Heat up some lemon juice and icing sugar in a pan until the sugar dissolves. Use a cocktail stick or piece of dried spaghetti (authentic Italian version) to make holes all over the top of the cake. Pour the syrup slowly over the top of the cake letting the syrup sink in.
In my next post I will be making an exciting announcement about what I will be getting up to over the next month…