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.

8 Responses to “Lemon Polenta Cake”
  1. Bekk! Have I told you lately that I love you???? Well, I do! You are definitely of the same breed as me! Of the same root stock, that found me coming down on saturday mornings early, to find my toddler brother on a chair in front of the kitchen sink with a tub full of potatoes covered in pink water from the tiny cuts he had inflicted on himself during the peeling. Seemed, he wanted to make us mashed potatoes for breakfast. My mother, would always just help clean up and help him make what he wanted. Its not surprising that my brother’s son is now in culinary school or my sister’s son either!

    Inspiration in cooking is divine, but I think you already know that. Taking what is obvious and making it subtle, taking what is at hand and making it rare. What a true gift for the soul! Thanks so much for sharing this with us on Hearth n Soul. This is exactly what we mean by food from your hearth…to feed your soul!

    Now, WHERE to find elderberries??? UGH! HUGS! alex@amoderatelife

    • fairybekk says:

      Oh man, This went straight to my spam cue for some reason. I decided to have a peek at what passes for spam and was so confused to find your comments in there!!!!
      Gosh, it totally sounds like we’re from the same root stock :). But that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? The love, the food, the warmth, the memories…

      You’ll still find elderberries for a couple of weeks, I think… look on the edges of roads and the edges of parks. Just email me pics if you’re not sure…


  2. Christy says:

    I don’t know that I could even pretend – I would be sitting down with a fork and I would eat the whole thing myself I am afraid! Thank you for linking up to Hearth’nSoul.

  3. Oh my fairy friend, you know that now that I’ve gotten my hands on some elderberries, that I’m just itching to try out new recipes. I can practically taste the sweetness of the corn and the zip of the lemon against elderberries.

    So when you bake in the middle of the night, do you eat your treats for breaky? I think that sounds like the way to go. But gosh, those things are so nice for lunch. And who could resist a nibble for tea? And hello, cake for dessert! Yep, I’m pretty sure it would take me less than a day to snarf the whole thing! Thanks for sharing at Hearth and Soul.

  4. girlichef says:

    mmmmm!!! Anything with corn meal is good with me…this just looks so amazing. I’ve never had an elderberry…can you believe that? Seriously though, this sounds and looks fabulous…thanks for sharing it at the hearth ‘n soul hop this week!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] berries. The berries can be used in a multitude of ways. In jams and syrups, in wines and teas, in cakes and ice creams and desserts– I use them just like I would any other berry. Medicinally […]

  2. […] berries. The berries can be used in a multitude of ways. In jams and syrups, in wines and teas, in cakes and ice creams and desserts– I use them just like I would any other berry. Medicinally […]

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