Friday, February 18, 2011

here comes the sun...

What brings a bit of sunshine into a gray, not-yet-spring day? Lemons! This super-moist lemon cake is a rustic juxtaposition of earthy/grainy and the bright pop of pure lemon. I enjoyed a piece in the middle of the afternoon with a cup of tea. It's outta this world. The recipe originates with Brit food guru Nigella Lawson, but I first saw it mentioned over at Eryl's blog The Kitchen Bitch Ponders. This recipe is also, amazingly enough, gluten-free.

Lemon Polenta Cake

8 oz butter, softened
finely grated rind of 2 lemons
1 cup caster sugar (I used regular)
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 cup fine polenta
Syrup: 1/4 cup each: lemon juice, sugar
(about 4 lemons total for this recipe)

Preheat oven to 325.
Lightly grease a round cake pan.
Beat the butter, rind and sugar, until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg yolks, beating well.
Stir in the juice, ground almonds and polenta.
Whip the egg whites, until soft peaks form. Carefully fold into the polenta mixture.
Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Meanwhile, boil the lemon juice and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Spoon evenly over the hot cake.


  1. that sounds delightful...lemons always make me smile:)

  2. I could lean over right now and pick you a lovely fresh lemon. Synchronicity again?

  3. How lovely to be able to reach out and pluck a fresh lemon! I'm so envious. (yes--synchronicity)

  4. I was just wondering what to make with the Meyer lemons on my tree! This sounds divine --

  5. You have a lemon tree? Oh, then you MUST make this!

  6. This sounds (and looks) delicious. Almost anything with lemons makes my day!

  7. I made a similar cake....maybe it is the same one...and I just loved the crunch the cornmeal gives it....I'll definitly try this one...Love Nigella!

  8. Your recipes are always so good. I love lemons; sweet or savoury!

  9. There are few things more comforting to me than lemon cake and tea...or even a plain poundcake. Uh oh - I'm ready for bed and I'm craving something sweet now. Thanks, I think.

    P.S. What's the deal with your readers having lemon trees?! I want a lemon tree.

  10. Hi Tess,

    Love Polenta, love lemons, sounds wonderful!!

    Art by Karena

  11. I grow many types of lemon trees in my greenhouse. I've made puddings, pies, cookies, limoncello, strudels, but not this. I'll have to try it. And, of course, I'll have to eat it all myself.

  12. I've never tried cooling with polenta; perhaps now is the time.

  13. Looks delicious, although the only way I've ever eaten polenta was in Uruguay, from chipped bowls, my feet resting on dirt floors & a tin roof overhead. Uruguayans serve it with tuco (red sauce), it is a humble, humble meal.

  14. I go shopping for a few days and return to find a lovely new blog design. Looks great Tess. And you could out-Nigella, Nigella any day.

  15. oh YES!!! Lemons are the key to sunshine and summer aren't they?... what part of the world are you in Tess? I wish I had lemon trees growing in my back yard too, don't you?... I make a really lovely lemon chicken dish which reeks of sunshine and always gets a smile!

    Love the new header painting too!

  16. tess i wonder if this recipe would work with oranges? steven

  17. yes my mouth is watering too. my family love lemon deserts, my mom said she and my gram ate an entire lemon meringue pie but hours before i was born.

  18. You are so right about lemons! The sun has been shinning for several days, we are still in shock since the gas was off. The warmth and lemons are welcome.

  19. I know. I want a lemon tree, too. Dom, I'm in Central Ohio. No lemon trees in my neck of the woods, unless their in a lovely greenhouse, like Donna Baker's. Donna, I didn't know you had a greenhouse! I want one of those, too.

  20. Suki, seems you were destined to love lemons!

  21. I love lemons too! Especially in winter...if you get a chance read my poem post Lemon Cake and Classical Music.

  22. Steven, I've got another Nigella recipe for a similar cake made with clementines, so stay tuned!

  23. Oh joy of all joys. When I see dessert recipes on blogs I usually just keep going because they are never gluten-free but this was you so I stayed and what a delight I did! I promised my husband a choc' caramel pie today (he's still waiting from Valentine's Day :) but I am making this one as well for just me. I am way to excited about this I think.

  24. Somehow, the world turns around lemons these days!
    First, while trying to wind down after studying last night, David Lebovitz served up a midnight surprise, Whole Lemon Bars, tempting me to get baking after midnight. This morning, Carol of Paris Breakfasts does her own lemon waltz, with Paris' best Tarte au citron. And now, you too, dear Willow!

    Is there a message hidden somewhere? ;-)

  25. maybe I could manage to make one, it certainly looks nice enough to eat.

  26. I love your new header!

    Glad the cake was a success. I've just made a spiced apple pudding cake (had a pile of wrinkly apples in the fruit-bowl), which is making the house smell divine; so will do a post on it sometime over the weekend I expect.

  27. I'm making this this afternoon... or rather, I'm helping my daughter make it since3 I am still a right-hand-stitched-and-casted, one-handed-wonder. (Thumb/wrist reconstructed on Tuesday.) Thanks for dessert!

  28. YUM! I LOVE this post! Lemony - just right!

  29. Thanks for bringing sunshine into my life, Tess = ' )

    Your new header is striking!

  30. This looks so yummy, we will have to try it. I always like lemon desserts because they seem to have a lighter feel to them. And your tea sounds perfect with it..with a little lemon, of course : )

  31. Lemons, lemons, lemons,
    so mellow, so yellow,
    and any dessert from them
    is to die for. Yours looks very
    yummy. I was in a "yellow" mood
    a few days ago, and just posted
    like 40 images of bright yellow
    things. It just made me feel
    better about waiting for winter
    to wane.

  32. Hi Tess
    I had Nigella for Christmas so thanks for the recommendation. I've found it on page 272. My mouth is already watering.

  33. I love all of Nigella's recipes and use them constantly, particularly he ones which are quick and easy. This cake is delicious - I have tried it.

  34. One adores lemon cake, and Nigella Lawson is a goddess, so I am sure this cake is divine. Thank you for the recipe, one must try it soon. Reggie

  35. Maybe because it IS so gray, I've been baking up a storm lately . . . yes, to rival the raindrops outside! But I do feel the irresistible urge to make a lemon polenta cake coming on.

    Your header! So bold and interesting. How do you do these amazing things?

  36. I was wishing I had a bite of cake to go with my afternoon tea today. I will make some of this cake for tea another day. Thank you Tess! =D

  37. Great. Now I'm humming the Beatles "Here Comes the Sun" over and over...

    Your lemon cake must smell delicious! And I want a lemon tree too...

  38. Ken, you had Nigella for Christmas, huh? That is very interesting!

  39. Merisi, those lemon bars look divine. I have a recipe I've made for years, but I think I might just have to give David's a whirl. Thanks for the links! You had a lemony-synchonicitous day.

  40. Oh yum, Tess! I will be printing this out and baking in the near future. You always find the best stuff! And, the Kitchen Bitch Ponders???? What a great title!!!

  41. Your daughter has great taste in purchasing the ephemera that turned into your header. Great choice. I think that she was right: it does look like you! And, the feathers top it off for me, personally! Have a great weekend, Tess! I am hoping that the sun decides to peak out this weekend. I guess I got spoiled by the last few weeks of sunshine and now don't like the snow again.

  42. I seem to always come over to your blog when you have a luscious recipe- must be my love of food calling me- I love polenta and we had a sunny bright day today- so I do feel like lemons!

  43. This sounds wonderful!

    I have a question that is probably going to sound silly. Have pity on a new and somewhat inexperienced housewife -- How do ounces translate into tea/tablespoons? How exactly does one measure ounces of butter?

  44. Have never heard of lemon polenta cake. I always have lemons on hand, will be trying this today! YUMMM!

  45. My taste-buds just went into 'slobber' mode.

  46. Thank you for posting this yummy looking recipe! I have a friend who just went glue free. She will appreciate this!


  47. I hope you don't hate this(it's long), but one good recipe deserves another
    cracker chicken...
    4 boneless / skinless chicken breasts-rinsed and patted completely dry
    1 stick butter
    1/2 sleeve of saltine crackers
    1/2 sleeve Ritz crackers
    1/4 cup grated hard cheese-romano/parmesan mix is best
    kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    herbs / spices of your choice...I like a mix of cayenne (careful!), a pinch of rosemary and some basil (pressed garlic works great also, I like to put it in the dish when the butter is melting, this infuses the flavor nicely)

    preheat oven to 350 degrees
    place butter in a glass baking dish and melt in oven - bread pan size is perfect, you want the chicken to be packed rather snugly)
    place all crackers in a ziploc bag and crush (a rolling pin works good)
    add salt, pepper and herbs / spices
    add 3/4 of the grated cheese and mix all
    pour melted butter into a shallow dish
    dredge dry chicken in butter one piece at a time, then add to bag and shake to coat each piece
    place pieces close together in dish (if you fold the thin end of the breast under itself, it evens the chicken out and it cooks evenly)
    pour remaining butter over the chicken and top with renaming crumbs and cheese
    cover tightly with heavy foil
    place in 350 degree oven for 1 hour (do not open or check)
    loosen foil and let sit for 5 minutes (this helps it get crunchy by releasing some steam)
    goes really good with mac / cheese and creamed corn


  48. This sounds delicious! I might just have to give it a whirl. Thank you!

  49. Yum! I love lemons, polenta and Nigella!
    So will definitely try this.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)