Some of you know that my life is made inordinately more difficult, oops, I mean inordinately more interesting because I have to avoid wheat and dairy in my diet. I didn't always. Once, in my halcyon days, I could eat whatever took my fancy and did (and looked a bit like it - but we won't go there). Sometimes, when I'm in a restaurant or looking at the display of delectables in a bakery or coffee shop, I wish I were back in those days making choices based on taste and whim rather than whether my stomach will burst into tears at the thought of digesting it all. However, it has not all been bad. I have learnt a lot about food, become a much more adventurous cook, and learned to love foods I may never have tasted before (how can one live without buckwheat pancakes, I ask you?).
Monday's lemon polenta cake was a first and one that I may revisit with a few tweaks here and there. A number of you have asked for the recipe and, because birthday-cake cooking comes loosely under the umbrella of "Emma's creative life", I thought I'd share it here rather than send it to you all individually. (Plus, it saves me from having to take a photo, in bad light, of my latest triptych and thus prolongs the anticipation you are all surely feeling at my eventual revealing of it. Cough.)
It comes from this lovely book. From which I've made some absolutely sterling recipes.
Those roasted vegetable tarts on the front are a case in point.
Okay, the recipe goes a little something like this:
10 ounces dairy-free margarine, softened plus extra for greasingI hope you enjoy it. Let me know if you have a go and what you think (photos would be good too).
1 cup fruit sugar
4 extra large eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons honey
heaped 2 1/3 cups quick-cook polenta
1 cup finely ground blanched almonds, plus extra for topping
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
juice of 1 1/2 lemons and grated zest of 1 lemon, plus pared or grated zest of another lemon to decorate
- Heat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a deep 8-inch spring-form cake pan with dairy-free margarine and line the bottom with a circle of non-stick baking parchment paper.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, then the honey.
- Using a metal spoon, fold in the polenta, ground almonds, and baking powder, then the lemon juice and zest. Mix thoroughly and pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Bake in the hot oven 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown around the side and firm to the touch, and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean; you will notice cracks all over the top. Take the cake out of the oven, leave to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- Sprinkle with the extra ground almonds and the pared or grated lemon zest.