The heat wave that everyone has been worrying about hit this morning, and it is brutal outside. I suppose the smart way to prepare for the heat would have been making popsicles, or doing my laundry, but instead I decided to bake a cake.
It’s my friend’s birthday tonight, and I decided that last night was likely one of the last moments that I would be willing to even contemplate turning on my oven this summer. So, to mark both occasions, I turned to my favorite gluten-free cake.
I discovered this lemon polenta cake when baking for my own birthday in December. It confirms my general belief that the best gluten-free baked goods are those that lack gluten because they never needed it in the first place. It doesn’t call for any wacky ingredients like Xantham gum. It’s a totally simple combination of polenta, almond meal, and eggs doused in a citrus syrup.
The original recipe is from Nigella Lawson. Since my birthday I’ve made it a number of different ways depending on the season. All winter, I made it with an orange syrup and candied orange peel, but for summer I thought it needed an update. The birthday girl requested strawberries, and so this strawberry-lemon polenta cake was born.
I baked it last night and then I turned off the oven, probably for a good long while.
Strawberry Lemon Polenta Cake:
– 1 3/4 sticks softened butter (14 tablespoons)
– 1 cup sugar
– 2 cups almond meal/flour
– 3/4 cup polenta (or cornmeal)
– 3 eggs
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 5 or 6 strawberries thinly sliced
– 2 lemons
– 1 cup powdered sugar
*** You’ll want to cook this in a 9-inch springform pan and you really do want a springform pan as this is hard to get out of a regular pan.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Butter pan and set aside
- Mix together polenta, almond meal and baking powder
- In a big mixing bowl (or using a stand mixer) cream butter and sugar together until smooth.
- Add about a quarter of the polenta-almond meal mixture to the butter and mix until fully blended.
- Add an egg and another cup of the polenta-almond meal mixture to the batter and mix until fully blended.
- Repeat, adding each egg and the polenta-almond meal mixture until it is all mixed together.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- While cake bakes combine the juice of 2 lemons and the cup of powdered sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil. When the powdered sugar dissolves set aside.
- At 30 minutes, remove cake and arrange strawberries on top of the cake.
- Return cake to oven and bake for 10 more minutes until the sides brown and begin to pull away from the pan. The center may still look a little undone when you remove it but it will set.
- Remove from oven and poke small holes all over cake with toothpick. Pour syrup over cake and allow to cool before taking it out of pan.
- I think this cake is best if it is allowed to cool overnight.