Sunshine on a rainy day…
Its Spring, a rainy Sunday morning. The weather forecast promises sunny spells this afternoon but I can’t wait for the yellow disc to appear in the sky, so this morning I am making Amalfi lemon polenta cake. It’s in the oven now and I can smell its lemony sweetness.
Italy’s Amalfi lemons are only available in Preston for a couple of months each year but they are worth getting hold of. Larger than normal lemons and more nobbly looking, Amalfi lemons are sweeter and have distinctly more lemoniness about them. They grow as weeds along the Naples coast down and around into the Amalfi Coast. I holidayed in Sorrento a few years ago and they were everywhere. There is a hidden Lemon Grove in the heart of city – a cool shady (hang on a minute the beepers gone off CAKE IS READY) oasis where they sell Limoncello made from the lemons in the grove which are grown organically, delicious. Italians drink a small shot as as a digestif. Back to cake-
This recipe is one of Nigella’s but she doesn’t specify Amalfi Lemons, but if you can get them a lovely cake becomes an amazing one.
200g butter softened
200g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
100g fine polenta(cornmeal)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Amalfi lemons or 2/3 lemons depending on size
4tbsp icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180degC/160degC fan/ gas 4. Grease and line a 23/24cm cake tin.
Mix butter and sugar in a mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand held electric mixer add the almonds, eggs, polenta, baking powder and the zest of the lemons (save the lemons for juicing later) mix well until everything is incorporated.
Scrape the cake mix into the tin, level and bake in the preheated oven for about 40mins. A cocktail stick should come out clean when inserted into the centre.
Whilst the cake is cooking, make lemon syrup by heating the juice of lemons with the icing sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved.
When the cake is ready leave it in its tin and place on a cooling rack. prick all over with a cocktail stick and drizzle over the lemon syrup covering the whole surface of the cake. Leave to cool……then remove from the tin onto a plate. Serve with a dollop of mascarpone and berry fruits for an indulgent treat, with creme fraiche, or just on its own…. a yellow disc of sunshine cake evoking memories of blue sky and warm radiant heat.