I lost myself to this cake earlier today. I was fiddling around with it in attempt to get some good shots (it can be very hard to take a good photo of a fairly plain cake) and I thought I might try the ‘half eaten’ shot. So I cut myself a piece and ate a few forkfulls, got distracted with a thought and after a quiet moment realised I had eaten the entire piece. Yes, it was that good.
Aside from the standard butter and sugar (and of course lemon), its key ingredients are polenta and almond flour. They make the cake incredibly tender and give it an almost gritty texture, it is then saturated in a lemon syrup which further enhances the lemon flavour and makes it even more buttery, rich and dense.
I am a huge fan of lemons so liking this cake is very easy for me but there is more to it than that, it’s hard to describe and the only word I can think of is ‘lush’ – so I will leave it at that.
200 grams/14 tablespoons soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
2 cups almond meal/flour
3/4 cup fine polenta/cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Zest 2 lemons (save the juice for the syrup)
Juice from 2 lemons
Heaping 1 cup icing (powdered) sugar
Line the base of a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper and grease its sides lightly with butter. Preheat the oven to 350f/175c.
Beat the butter and sugar till pale and whipped using a mixer.
Mix together the almond meal, polenta and baking powder, and beat some of this into the butter-sugar mixture, followed by 1 egg, then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.
Finally, beat in the lemon zest and pour, spoon the mixture into your prepared pan and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. When tested, a skewer should come out cleanish and the edges of the cake will have begun to shrink away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack, but leave in the pan.
Make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar in a smallish saucepan. Once the confectioners’ sugar has dissolved into the juice, it is ready. Prick the top of the cake all over with a toothpick and pour the warm syrup over the cake. Leave it to cool before taking it out of its pan.
Notes: As you can see, I chose to drizzle a little lemon glaze over the top – more for visual affect than anything else. I made this by mixing a squeeze of lemon juice with a little icing sugar.
Source: Nigella Lawson
© 2011, Michelle. All rights reserved.