Lemon Polenta Cake

Lemon Polenta Cake: a wheat free/ gluten free cake which works perfectly well as a simple dessert or afternoon tea treat.

I had a packet of dried polenta sitting in the cupboard doing nothing. It’s not something I really cook with to be honest. I think I was going to cook a ragu type casserole to serve with it back in January or February and we ended up with something different.

I read somewhere that polenta is great for making gluten free cakes and goes perfectly with ground almonds. I love making gluten free cakes but it is great to try alternatives to the gluten free flour you can find out there. Hence the Lemon Polenta Cake. I had a few lemons which needed using up so this was a perfect way to add them into this simple, but scrumptious cake.

Please don’t be put off by this cake’s appearance. As cakes go, it is plain and boring to look at but appearances are deceptive. It also doesn’t rise very high or look that appealing. But I assure you as soon as you take a bite of this zesty treat, you will not be disappointed.

Not the most appealing looking cake but definitely a great tasting one.
View from the top: watch taking your cake out of the pan! Unlike me, who caught it on the side of the tin when I was in a hurry to get it out.
You could serve your cake with whipped cream, ice cream or creme fraiche.Cau
Or you could eat it straight out of the box as Mr S did yesterday when he came in from work hung

Here’s how to make the simple, yet delicious Lemon Polenta cake.

  • Serves 8
  • About 30 mins preparation time.
  • 45-50 minutes baking time.
  • Suitable for freezing (if it lasts that long!
  • Ingredients:
  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar (175g for the cake, 25g for the lemon sugar syrup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 75g dried polenta
  • 175g ground almonds
  • 2 lemons (zest and juice needed)
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • You will need a 22cm (9″) diameter round springform cake tin which has been greased and and the base lined with a baking parchment circle.
  • Preheat your oven to 150oC fan (160oC conventional/ 235oF or Gas 3). I baked my cake in a fan oven.
  • Cream the butter and 175g of the caster sugar. Keep back 25g of it to make a sugar syrup later on.
  • Add the eggs, one by one and whisk carefully after each addition.
  • Fold in the polenta and almonds using a large metal spoon.
  • Fold in the zest of the two lemons and the baking powder.
  • Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin. Smooth the surface of the cake to make it level.
  • Bake the cake for approx 45-50 minutes. As mentioned before, it doesn’t rise much but it will spring back when it’s done.
  • Leave the cake to cool down in the tin for about 10 minutes or so.
  • While the cake is cooling, you can make a syrup to drizzle on top of the cake. Put the juice from the two lemons you have already used the zest from in a saucepan, along with the remaining 25g of caster sugar. Heat this up on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Turn the cake out onto a cake rack and prick holes in the top of the cake. Gently spoon the lemon sugar syrup onto the top of the cake so it pours down the holes and soaks into the sponge.
  • Serve the cake on its own or with ice cream, cream or creme fraiche. We enjoyed it with whipped cream and it was heavenly.

If you don’t fancy making this cake with lemons, then I think that it would work well making it with other citrus fruit such as oranges or limes.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

The Great British Bake Off Christmas- Seedy Flatbread Crackers.

Sunday 10th December 2017.

Mr SmartCookieSam loves cheese and biscuits. He loves a plate of cheese and crackers washed down with a glass of wine more than a piece of cake or some chocolate. Normally I’d buy in a couple of packets of cream crackers or oatcakes to put in the tin for whenever he fancies some cheese.

But looking through The Great British Bake Off Christmas book which I’m baking a lot from this month, I noticed a recipe for some crackers. I don’t really bake savoury biscuits that often but I was keen to have a go. After all, it might stop me stuffing my face too!

On Sunday afternoon I just didn’t fancy going out. It had started snowing (not settling though) but was still freezing. The fire had been lit in the lounge and Mr SmartCookieSam was on Dad’s taxi duty collecting our son from work and taking him over to a friend’s house. Me being the baking addict I am, started twitching and thinking right what can I bake now?

The seedy crackers contain polenta which luckily our local Morrisons had. It took me a while to find it, though. Was it going to be with the baking stuff? Or with the Italian food? Not with the flours in the baking aisle and the only polenta I could find was the ready made stuff along with the pesto sauce and the like. I almost gave up until I walked past where there were some lentils! Lo and behold, I could find some! Not only that but this recipe needed pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. There was a gap on the shelf where the pumpkin seeds were meant to be but in the end I bought a mixed bag of seeds to save buying three separate bags. I had some milled flaxseed left over from the other week when I baked a vegan banana loaf for a family get together.

The recipe introduction makes these delicious sounding flatbread crackers a perfect idea for presents wrapped up in a gift tin as they are “easy to make and keep exceptionally well,” The recipe also, to me sounds really adaptable as you can “experiment with different seeds, such as poppy, hemp and chia or you could try brown mustard seeds, cumin or coriander,” Not sure if I’d get that far, to be honest but I like poppy seeds.

All the seeds, polenta and flaxseeds were tipped into a large bowl and mixed up, along with some sea salt, some olive oil and some boiling water. I then stirred everything together so that it became a big dough.

On my work top I laid down two rectangular pieces of baking parchment. Half the dough went on each piece. Then, I cut two more identical sized pieces of baking parchment and put them on top of the mixture. Out came the rolling in and I rolled the dough, which was sandwiched between the baking parchment. This was to get the dough as flat as possible without it sticking to the rolling pin and the work top! When it was rolled flat, I trimmed the rectangle of dough neatly and then scored it into neat little rectangles. I ended up with two baking trays full of crispbreads.

My oven was set to 200oC and the crackers were baked for about 45 minutes until they came out crisp. They broke easily along the scored lines and were left to cool down on a wire rack. When Mr SmartCookieSam came back he wondered what they were. We still had a while to go until our dinner was ready and he ended up having a couple of crispy flatbreads with some Stilton cheese. He wasn’t that impressed with them, to be honest. I think he’s not a seed lover. He’ll eat cream crackers but he’s not keen on water biscuits or anything with “bits in” I couldn’t see my son eating them, either. Maybe if I experiment and keep out the big chunky seeds then he won’t notice. I wondered if I didn’t put enough salt in them, I suppose homemade crackers are a lot different to shop bought ones.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx