We have almost turned our new place into a home: we have a bed, a wardrobe to put all my clothes in, a functioning bathroom and kitchen, and a table for meals. Almost there! I still have to figure how the heating works but luckily we are going towards the summer so it is not too big an issue.
One thing I have to get used to is the that all the appliances in the kitchen are electric, when I have always been cooking with gas. Hopefully it will not take me too long be able to bake cakes again, but for now I am going back to the basics while I tame the beast.
While I am testing and adapting my recipes with my new gear, here is a little treat I made just before leaving the old flat, when we were trying to get rid of everything we had in the cupboards before the move. We had a lot of polenta and some lemon curd to get rid of, so I baked individual lemon-polenta cakes, with lemon buttercream. I made them two ways: one version with the cream on top of the cake, and one with the cream sandwiched between two layers. It just depends how you like it best!
I had never tried polenta in cakes in cakes, but it was a nice surprise. It produces a nice grainy texture and a rich yellow colour which makes the cake look even more appetising. Polenta is made of cornmeal so it is gluten-free, which makes this cake a tasty alternative for anyone trying to steer clear of gluten.
For the cake: 150 g soft butter – 150 g caster sugar – 150 g ground almonds – 75 g polenta – 1 organic lemon – 3 medium eggs – 2 tbsp icing sugar
For the lemon buttercream: 4 tbsp lemon curd – 50 g softened butter
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grate the zest off the lemon and juice the lemon.
2. Beat the butter and caster sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
3. Add the almonds, polenta, lemon zest and beat well. Then add the eggs and beat until smooth. Pour the mixutre into individual 8-10 cm round cake tins. Spead evenly.
4. Bake for about 15- 20 mn or until golden and firm to the touch. Leave in the tins to cool down then prick the top of the cake with a toothpick all over.
5. While the cake is cooling down make the syrup and buttercream. For the syrup, mix the lemon juice and icing sugar together,then put in the microwave for twice 20 seconds. Spoon the syrup over the cake and let it soak in.
6. For the buttercream, mix the lemon curd and butter together with an electric mixer until you obtain a smooth cream. Top your cake with buttercresam and a few lemon zests to decorate.
You can also sandwich the cream between two layers of cake. If you do this, you will need to cut the top of the cake before pouring the syrup, to make sure the top of your cake is flat. Then pour the syrup on both layers, and sandwich the cream between them. You can then dust your cake with icing sugar to decorate.