It was so summery recently that I baked this sunshiny dessert – my friend managed to eat three servings during an unexpected hailstorm, which goes to prove that this is delicious regardless of the weather; I hope you’ll agree.
There’s no flour in this recipe – polenta and ground almonds create a moist cake with a lovely texture and the addition of a sticky lemon syrup and berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or any combination thereof), means that this is more of a pudding than a cake and you’ll definitely need a fork and spoon to eat it with.
I serve it with extra fresh berries, with or without some plain Greek yogurt, creme fraiche or whipped cream on the side.
POLENTA ALMOND CAKE with BERRIES and LEMON
(Makes 14-16 squares)
6 oz (175g) of butter at room temp
8 oz (225g) of organic golden superfine/caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
5.25 oz (150g) of organic polenta
4 oz (100g) of ground almonds/almond meal
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of baking powder
14 oz (400g) or raspberries
11 oz (300g) of blackberries, blueberries or both
Finely shredded zest of 1 lemon and the juice of half
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
Line a 9 inch (24cm) square shallow cake pan with baking parchment.
Cream the butter with 4 oz (175g) of the sugar until it’s pale and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs and polenta, beating well until thoroughly combined.
Fold in the ground almonds and baking powder – combine well then add the vanilla and lemon zest.
Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold in half of the berries (set aside the other half to serve with the cake).
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Meanwhile make the lemon syrup:
In a small saucepan, bring the juice of half a lemon and the remaining 2 oz (50g) of sugar to a boil and simmer for a couple of minutes until it’s syrupy.
Once the cake is done, leave it in the baking pan and immediately pierce it all over with a small toothpick or skewer and pour the warm lemon syrup all over.
Cool the cake in the pan – invert, cut into squares, dust with some powdered sugar and serve with berries on the side and some optional whipped cream or Greek-style yoghurt.
My friend Donna and I ate cake and drank a bottle of Costco Champagne (yes, Costco have their own label French champagne that’s insanely inexpensive and very good) – and my wine-expert friend Maggie, who manages the Willits Wine & Liquor store in Basalt, recommends a lovely Italian organic Prosecco produced by Mionetto, that’s around the same price – both pair very well with this dessert and both go down very well on their own…. so get partying!