Monday, September 17, 2012


It's Monday and that usually means I have cooked a recipe from Mark Bittman's Cookbook for The Food Matters Project. This week Jen from Prarie Summers was our host and she picked Bittman's recipe for Apricot Polenta Cake. I don't bake much and we don't eat a lot of dessert so my first idea was to use the polenta for inspiration and make something savory. I was looking around the garden thinking about what I could use in the dish and then I came across our Meyer lemon tree which has been bearing fruit all year. The lemons are really ripe and juicy right now and I decided that they should go in my cake and yes, I'll make it on the sweet side.

I used a recipe from Nigella Lawson and substituted Meyer Lemons for regular lemons. This cake was amazing! My husband thought it needed a little something extra so he candied some lemon and orange slices for garnish.

It really did add to the presentation. The cake was so moist and flavorful. The only change I would make would be to use a finer grind of corn meal. I used regular corn meal and ground it again in my spice grinder but it was a little crunchy. I think I need to find a finer grind or do as Bittman's recipe called for and cook it first.

This was so good that I'm in a hurry to eat it so I can make it again with the changes. You can find the original recipe on Jen's blog here. For the other Food Project Members take on this recipe click here.


  • 1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 cups almond meal/flour
  • 3/4 cup fine polenta/cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free if required)
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest of 2 Meyer lemons (save the juice for the syrup)
  • Juice from  2 Meyer lemons (see above)
  • Heaping 1 cup confectioners' sugar

 1 (9-inch) springform  pan

For the cake: Line the base of your cake pan with parchment paper and grease its sides lightly with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the butter and sugar till pale and whipped, either by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon, or using a freestanding mixer.

Mix together the almond meal, polenta 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 pour, spoon or scrape the mixture into your prepared pan and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. It may seem wibbly but, if the cake is cooked, a cake tester should come out cleanish and, most significantly, the edges of the cake will have begun to shrink away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack, but leave in its pan.

For the syrup: Make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar in a smallish saucepan. Once the confectioners' sugar has dissolved into the juice, you're done. Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester (a skewer would be too destructive), pour the warm syrup over the cake, and leave to cool before taking it out of its pan.

Make Ahead Note: The cake can be baked up to 3 days ahead and stored in airtight container in a cool place. Will keep for total of 5 to 6 days.

Freeze Note: The cake can be frozen on its lining paper as soon as cooled, wrapped in double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil, for up to 1 month. Thaw for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature. 

Recipe slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson


Aura said...

Lexi, this looks amazing! I loved the apricot cake but this looks like a great variation too. And kudos to the hubby for his presentation idea--great photos.

Erin said...

Oh, your cake is so beautiful!! I love the candied lemons and oranges, a thoughtful touch. I love lemon and cornmeal together... will have to try for next time!

Anonymous said...

Your cake looks so pretty and I am jealous that you have a Meyer Lemon Tree. Calgary is definitely too cold for that :-)

Lexi said...

Thanks Aura! The hubby always has great ideas.

Lexi said...

Thanks Erin, We LOVED the lemon in this cake.

Lexi said...

Thanks Jen! We are very lucky that our climate is nice enough for fruits and veggies all year round.

Angry Asian said...

i'm so jealous of your meyer lemons!

your cake is beautiful, i bet so incredibly wonderful to share with a cup of tea. the candied lemons/orange garnishes remind me of summer afternoons.

Anonymous said...

I did the lemon/lime flavors as well- so yummy! Perfect first thing in the morning, or right after dinner.

Elaine@JoinMeForDinner said...

Beautiful presentation, as usual! Lemons are one of the few things that I can't grow abundantly here on Vancouver Island.

Lexi said...

Thanks Lan! I can't wait to make this for company soon.

Lexi said...

This was great for breakfast Evi! Loved the lemons with the polenta.

Lexi said...

Thanks Elaine! Lemons are big in Santa Barbara, it's the perfect climate. At least you can grow everything else.