Lemon Polenta Cake
This post is a part of the Hearth and Soul food carnival.
When my little sister was very young– she must have been 3 or so– she decided to make a cake on her own. She dragged a chair around the kitchen, to gather milk, and eggs, and butter, and flour and cocoa. By the time we found her in the kitchen, she was sitting on the counter, covered from head to toe in cocoa and flour, stirring up a cake batter than she had made on her own. These are the kind of genes I inherited. The ones that drive kids who can’t even reach the milk to make cakes. The ones that drive grown up 28-year olds to throw things like cornmeal and buttermilk and lemon rind into a bowl on a wave of inspiration at ungodly hours of the morning, and stir like mad, and hope for the best.
Luckily these inspired things usually come out well. And this was no exception. It’s dense, and tangy. It’s moist and sweet. It’s nice hot out of the oven, but it’s a real treat cold, left out on the counter top, so that you can hack off a slice every time you make an excuse to walk by. And then pretend that you forgot whatever you came for so that you can walk by again. And again.
I actually made two different syrups– one with some blackberries that I’d picked up at the market (gotta love our year round growing season), and then one with some elderberries that I harvested a few days ago. If you can find elderberries where you are right now, I highly recommend that you do so. Not only are they delicious, but they are some of the best medicine ever. I never let myself run out.
Lemon Corn Cake
For the cake:
1 stick salted butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup sucanat
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups flour (I used sprouted wheat flour)
1/3 cup corn grits
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
juice and rind of 2 lemons
juice and rind of 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla
For the glaze:
1 punnet blackberries
or 8oz elderberries
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup sucanat
rind of 1 lemon
2 tbsp butter
Preheat the oven to 350, and butter a 9 inch springform pan.
Make the cake:
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one by one, and then the buttermilk, vanilla, and citrus. Mix all the dry ingredients together, and slowly start adding to the mixer. When fully incorporated (and only just so), turn off the mixer, and pour the batter into the pan*. Cook for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make the glaze:
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium head, and add the fruit. Add the sugars and lemon rind, and continue to cook until the sugar is melted and the sauce is a rich colour, but the fruit is still somewhat intact– about 10 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven, and turn out onto a cooling rack. When ready to serve, plate the cake, and pour the glaze all over the top.
Serve with a big dollop of fresh cream.
* If you want to make the cake much more easy to digest, you can leave the batter in the fridge for 7-12 hours, and proceed the exact same way from there.