Crumbly Cake

I hope you're not starving right now, because reading this blog post is NOT going to help you! I've always wanted to try and make a polenta cake - never mind the fact that it is naturally gluten-free, it just sounds interesting. KnowwhatImean? So here we have a beautiful cake recipe that I've adapted from the folks behind cocomaya (a London bakery - sidenote, every adorable place I hear about these days is in W2 - maybe I should move there?) - the recipe was published in a recent sainsbury's magazine issue, I think in conjunction with Mother's Day (which is in March in the UK). I love that it is naturally gluten-free, but I decided to take it a step further and make it egg-free, dairy-free, and soy-free as well. Also no refined sugar! And what we have is a pretty darn healthy cake recipe. Unfortunately, it is also extremely crumbly. No gluten + no eggs = crumbles. But the flavors are divine and certainly worth reworking. I'm going to attempt this again in the near future because it's too good not to.

Polenta, Lemon and Pistachio Cake

(a la cocomaya)

Ooooh do you see the steam rising? The lemony drizzle was fresh from the stove.

The particulars:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup soft vegan margarine
  • 1 cup caster sugar (I used agave nectar instead)
  • 3 eggs (i used 6 tbsp rice milk mixed with 3 tsp egg replacement powder)
  • 1 1/2 cups polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • for the drizzle: zest and juice of 3 lemons + 1/2 cup sugar (i used 1/2 cup agave nectar)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / gas mark 4. Whiz the pistachios in a food processor or blender until finely ground.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the margarine and sugar/agave nectar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs (or egg replacer), mixing well after each addition. In another bowl, mix the polenta, ground almonds, pistachios and baking powder. Add this to the margarine/sugar/egg mixture and mix well. Stir in the lemon zest and juice and mix until combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into a cake tin (preferably round), level the top, and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Cover the top of the cake with foil after 30 minutes or so to stop it browning too much.
  4. To make the syrup, in a small pan bring the lemon zest and juice and sugar to the boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Once the cake has cooled a little and been released from the cake tin, pour the hot syrup over it, then leave to cool completely.

Lesson learned: crumbly isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is tricky to eat with a fork though. You might want to crumble it over ice cream or eat it in a bowl with a spoon. Pistachio ice cream! Or lemon sorbet!! ;)