Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Lemon Polenta Cake with Rosemary Syrup

Photo: © childsdesign

Is it a cake or is it a pudding? I’ll let you decide, but it is so moist and delicious and you need a fork to eat it… or a spoon so I’m electing it for pudding. Aside from the obvious chocolate cake, this is another baked delight that has the ability to assuage any intense cravings for comfort food. In my case, anyway.

Juicy with the full flavour of refreshing lemons and a texture which is pleasingly crumbly, moist and sticky, all at the same time, I can never refuse a slice. And there’s the temptation to lick the plate! 

Rosemary may seem an unusual ingredient in a sweet cake, but I can assure you that it really works.
Do use fresh rosemary though, for a real fragrant flavour.

Rosemary seems to be the only herb in the garden that can survive the ravages of winter. The others have died back and gone to sleep, or look forlorn and lack the essential oils of the summer season.
So if like me, you can’t wait for the return of the full flow of spring, rosemary will always be at the rescue.

For the cake
175g polenta
50g plain flour
11/2 tsp baking powder
good pinch salt
5 tbsp natural yogurt
5 tbsp rapeseed oil (use extra virgin cold pressed)
2 lemons, juice and grated zest (see my tip on how to get more juice from your lemon)
3 eggs
200g caster sugar

For the syrup
200g caster sugar
200ml cold water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas 4. Prepare a 20cm round cake tin by oiling it and lining with baking paper.

Sift together the polenta, flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

Put the yogurt, oil, lemon zest and 2 tbsp lemon juice into a jug and stir well to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they achieve a creamy consistency. Then beat in the yogurt mixture until smooth. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined being careful not to over-mix.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The best way to tell if the cake is cooked all the way through is too insert a skewer into the centre which should come out clean when you pull it out.

Meanwhile make the syrup. Put the sugar in a saucepan with 200ml water and the rosemary sprigs. Heat gently until the sugar completely dissolves and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then strain through a sieve into a jug.

When the cake is cooked, place it on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, then invert and remove the baking paper.
Place the cake on a plate and prick all over using a skewer. Drizzle over half of the rosemary syrup and allow the cake to cool completely.

To serve, slice the cake and drizzle over more syrup You can also serve with a scattering of raspberries and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
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