So there is a definite soft spot in my heart for Nigella Lawson. She manages to be sexy, mumsy and quaintly English and eccentric all in one go. She can be a little irritating. Her food descriptions are ridiculous. She loves anything that is “moist” (she describes this recipe as having a “wholly desirable dampness” I SHIT YOU NOT.) And during her cooking shows I permanently worry that she is at any moment about to dip her rather extensive bosom in to whatever hot tray of deliciousness she happens to be carrying at the time but still I think she’s kind of endearing. Like your friend’s fit but slightly crazy mum. And also there is definitely something to be said for a sexy woman holding forth in her kitchen. But maybe that’s just me?
Managed to get slightly off topic but anyway this recipe is fantastic, so easy, so yummy, so lemony… and it has the added benefit of being gluten free. This definitely helps if your boyfriend’s mild gluten intolerance doesn’t seem to bother him but easily has the capacity to clear a room if he ignores it for too long.
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g ground almonds
- 100g polenta
- 1 1/2 tsps baking powder (gluten free if required)
- 3 large eggs
- zest of 3 lemons
- juice of 2 lemons
- 125g icing sugar
Preheat your oven to 180’C. Grease a baking tin (23cm) with butter and line it with baking paper.
Beat the butter and caster sugar together till it’s pale and kind of stiffly fluffy. In a separate bowl mix the almonds, polenta and baking powder and add a little to the butter and sugar followed by an egg. Keep alternating the dry ingredients and the egg until you have a stiff cake mix. Add the lemon zest and then scrape it all into the tin and pop it in the oven for 30-40mins.
Bob is literally your uncle.
You can tell it is done when it is a deep, golden-brown and a skewer comes out clean-ish.
Meanwhile make the lemon syrup by boiling up the lemon juice and the icing sugar until all the sugar has dissolved. Prick the cake all over while it is still hot and in it’s tin and then pour the syrup all over. Don’t worry if it seems like your drowning the thing, the syrup will absorb into the cake and it will just end up as wonderful sticky goodness… or desirable dampness as the case may be. TRUST ME about leaving it in the tin or you’ll have sticky lemon syrup all over your kitchen. Even Nigella has a limit to the desirable dampness of her work surfaces. Leave it in the tin to cool and then, Hey Presto: Cake!
Because it’s flourless it won’t rise a huge amount, so don’t worry it’s meant to be a little bit on the flat side. But truly it tastes fantastic, really light and zesty but also buttery and satisfying. The perfect addition to an afternoon tea where you and your friends and family can sit and discuss your varying opinions on the topic of “moist” to your hearts content.