… so, sunshine and heat here in the UK. Who’d a thunk it? Well of course we do get some glorious weather here on occasion but this week was as though someone suddenly remembered to turn the light on… or that there was indeed a light and oh, what does this button do? Well blow me, it make it bright and sunny and we needn’t have been clamouring around in the cold and damp for the past month. I love the British weather but sometimes it would be nice to have a consistent stretch of the same weather for a couple of weeks so that at least we could plan barbecues or picnics in the park instead of having to rush around like lunatics at the last minute purchasing nasty bits of meat and cheap sausages and chucking them onto too hot coals… and then just as we’re getting the hang of it the weather changes and it all gets put away for another week or two until the next bout of sunshine deigns to give us a little bit of hope. In other news, my personal trainer and I have ‘decided’ that I should give up sugar for a month. Obviously this has been a bit of a shock to me and I had to sit down for a while to recover. The idea is that I can eat natural sugars in fruit but not regular sugar or honey. It also means no alcohol. I’m on day one and i’m already craving a glass of wine… here’s the last cake I made as a tribute to the month…
lemon polenta olive oil cake
this cake is basically sunshine on a plate… it sings with the zesty freshness of lemons and sugar and is the most wonderful golden yellow colour from the polenta. Some people aren’t crazy about the texture of the polenta as it has a definite bite to it but I love this added crunch as it’s really not expected in a cake and the whole thing is still incredibly light and of course gluten-free and dairy-free which is a double win for many. The cake works very well left entirely plain but the strawberries dipped in milk chocolate added a little something else to the proceedings which I was very happy with.
for the cake
160ml good quality extra virgin olive oil
200g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
100g gluten free flour mix by Dove’s Farm (or you could use just increase the polenta and ground almonds)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3 large free-range eggs
zest of 2 lemons (save juice for syrup)
for the syrup
juice of 1 lemon
50 grams icing sugar
grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm springform cake tin with baking parchment and pre-heat the oven to 180°C
in a large bowl beat the oil and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and frothy – roughly 5 mins
mix together the almonds, flour and baking powder, and beat some of this into the butter-sugar mixture, followed by 1 egg, then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.
finally, beat in the lemon zest and scrape the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes
the cake is cooked if a skewer comes out cleanish and the edges of the cake begin to shrink away from the sides of the tin.
remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack, but leave in its tin and prick all over with a skewer
make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and icing sugar in a smallish saucepan or microwave and then pour the warm syrup over the cake.
leave to cool before taking it out of its tin
eat and of course, enjoy!