I was trawling the web for a simple but crowd-pleasing cake recipe when I spotted this lemon lovely. I was doubly pleased when I realised it had the added bonus of allowing me to use up the polenta and ground almonds kicking around in my cupboard. It turned out really nicely- a colleague thought I had bought it somewhere pricey like Ottolenghi. This colleague clearly has a discerning palette as the original recipe is indeed adapted from Ottolenghi. The cake is pleasingly sharp, dense and buttery. The polenta adds some extra bite.
Makes one 20cm loaf cake
- 150g butter
- 105g caster sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly
- 1 lemon (zest and 6tsp juice)
- 90g instant polenta*
- 180g ground pistachios**
- 40g plain flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt (1/2 if you use unsalted butter)
*If you don’t have enough polenta in your cupboard, you can make up the weight with more plain flour
**These are not widely available, so you can either substitute ground almonds or grind pistachios yourself (I used a spice grinder as my hand mixer is broken)
For the glaze
- 3tbsp sugar
- Juice of one lemon
For the lemon icing
- Juice of half a lemon
- 150g icing sugar
- 50-80g pistachios, roughly chopped
1. Pre-heat oven to 170C. Grease a 20cm loaf tin.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until combined, around 1-2 mins
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate
4. Add the lemon zest and juice, polenta and pistachios
5. Sift remaining dry ingredients into the batter and stir until just combined
6. Transfer batter to prepared loaf tin and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a knife comes out clean.
7. Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
8. Prepare the glaze/drizzle. In a small saucepan, combine the lemon juice and sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
9. Pour the hot glaze over the still-warm cake, then leave to cool (still in the tin so the glaze doesn’t leak everywhere) completely.
10. Prepare the icing. Mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice. The icing should be pretty thick, but feel free to add a few drops of water if you feel it is too stiff.
11. Turn the cake out of the tin. The bottom side is likely to be the most presentable so leave it inverted.
12. Pour the icing over the top of the cake. Help it down the sides, particularly over any areas you want covered. Sprinkle the pistachios on top.