|Lemon-Vanilla Polenta Cake|
Corn in my cake? What?!?
I know you probably don’t typically think of corn & cake together. But trust me when I tell you this recipe is well worth your time. Corn gets such a bad rap nowadays that we could almost forget that it can be a healthy option, too. Forget the refined corn in syrup and the GMO-plagued crops. Think organic corn, lovingly grown, and eaten in season and fresh, or dried, stone-ground, and delivered to your local store as polenta or cornmeal. Adding this whole grain to your cake will provide vitamins B1 and B5, folic acid, protein and fiber, the last two of which help balance your blood sugar – so eat up!
Polenta makes a delicious, savory base to pasta sauces and meat sauces and caramelized onion-feta combinations. In a pinch, it can be used to replace cornmeal in cornbread – you’ll get a slightly more pudding-like cornbread which is absolutely delicious.What is the difference between cornmeal and polenta?
Essentially, it’s the grind that makes the difference. Cornmeal comes in three different grinds: fine, medium and course. Polenta is a course grind and is used to make an Italian dish by the same name. Confused yet? Don’t worry. Fine grind cornmeal is essentially cornflour and good for making things like corn tortillas – although looking for masa harina, a corn flour that is of especially fine grind is a good idea if you want your tortillas to hold together well. Medium grind cornmeal is what you want for nearly every recipe calling for cornmeal, unless it specifies the grind in the recipe. However, medium grind cornmeal will impact this recipe differently as the grind impacts the volume and the liquid absorption, so I don’t recommend you use them for this cake or for recipes calling for polenta. If you don’t have or can’t find polenta, use course cornmeal for this recipe or as a replacement for polenta in general.
|Simple, delicious cake for any day.|
In this cake, polenta paired with almond flour and lemon provides a perfect, undemanding, bright and flavor-filled confection to enjoy with your afternoon cup of coffee or tea. It has a wonderful crunchy-on-the-outside-soft-in-the-middle texture and enough lemon to get your taste buds tingling. The lemon flavor is buffered gently by the large quantity of vanilla, and the combination is addicting.
You can easily make this gluten-free by using all-purpose gluten-free flour. If gluten isn’t a problem for you or the people you’ll be serving it to, feel free to use regular wheat flour for this.
Leaving town? Take it with you.
This is a sturdy cake that stores, freezes, and travels well. You can leave it on the counter, covered, for a few days and slice off a sliver every time you pass by, until, eventually, you run out of slivers and find yourself looking around, wondering who it was that ate all of your cake, anyway. You can freeze it whole and serve it for last minute company. You can freeze it in slices and pull out a slice every now and again, allow it to thaw on the countertop for 30 minutes and happily enjoy the good fortune of having cake in the freezer on a day when you don’t feel like baking but “just need a little something”. Or, you can pack the whole think along for a picnic or a potluck, and make your friends love you just a little bit more.
You can use a mixer or beat this all by hand. Bake it off, let it cool slightly, and you are all set to make friends and influence people.
|Lemon-Vanilla Polenta Cake|
Lemon-Vanilla Polenta Cake
8 oz / 225g butter at room temperature
3/4 cup / 1.5 dl Indian sugar, coconut sugar (or other sugar of your choice)
zest of 2 organic lemons
juice of 2 organic lemons
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup / 125 g polenta (preferably organic, stone-ground)
2 cups / 215g almond flour
6 tablespoons / 60 grams all-purpose or gluten-free flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 180°C / 375°F. Oil a bundt pan and pour 1/4 cup polenta into. Rotate the pan around so that the polenta sticks to the sides. This well make it easy to remove the cake from the pan once it is baked.
Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until well combined. Add the eggs, lemon juice and vanilla and beat together until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine the polenta, almond flour, flour, baking powder and salt. Using a whisk or fork, combined the mixture really well, making sure to break up any lumps of almond flour.
Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir with a spatula until there are no visible dry bits left. Spoon the cake batter into your prepared bundt pan, smooth the top, and bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown, the top is slightly cracked, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Invert the cake onto a cake rack and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.