My husband bought us the most wonderful present the other day. Really it’s for his chameleon, but I like to pretend it’s for me. I just can’t wait until it starts working its magic.
We now have our very own lemon tree! It’s being protected from the chickens so they don’t try and eat all the leaves off of it before it has a chance to fulfill it’s mission of giving me luscious beautiful fresh lemons. I used to live in a country where lemons were nearly impossible to find, so they’re rather precious to me.
I’m so in love with our baby tree that I absolutely had to share this lemon polenta cake. Can you keep a secret? This cake is gluten free. Whatevs. It’s totally delicious and lemony and heavenly with an amazing texture.
Cornmeal plus lemon syrup equals sweet sticky cake of magnificence.
And it’s all mature and sophisticated with it’s frostingless simplicity, so you can pretend to be an adult when you serve it. It’s stunning even in its lack of decadence.
I can’t wait until we have our first backyard lemons. I’ll probably do a little dance. What else can I make with them?
Lemon Polenta Cake (Gluten-Free)
A simple and delicious lemon cake that's naturally gluten free
Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment, and grease the sides with butter
Preheat your oven to 350.
With a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Combine the almonds, cornmeal, and baking powder in a separate bowl, then mix a third of the mixture into the butter and sugar. Add an egg and combine. Continue alternating dry ingredients and eggs until everything is combined.
Finally mix in the lemon zest.
Transfer the batter to your pan and bake for 40 minutes until the edges start to pull away from the pan.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
In a small saucepan, boil the lemon juice and powdered sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
With a toothpick, prick tiny holes in your cake, then pour the syrup over the cake and let it sink in.
Once cool, remove the collar from your pan. Serve a big wedge with wine and experience pure joy.
Here’s a poor girl confession. I don’t have cable. This is not some noble gesture. I don’t have cable because I’m cheap. I still waste plenty of time watching TV, I just do it a bit more selectively by using my husband’s PS3 to stream Netflix. We get one DVD at a time, plus the streaming service, and it’s $15 a month. So, I figure that’s at least $40 a month I save to spend on cheese and chocolate. You know, the important stuff.
When I lived in Taiwan, I discovered I didn’t miss cable nearly as much as I thought I would. I no longer flipped through the channels and got sucked into watching train wreck reality TV, and though I did miss cooking shows, I just became obsessed with food blogs instead.
I love movies and television, but now I just watch selectively. I choose the shows and movies I think are worth my time, then I watch all of them back to back. Then I cry when I learn that they cancelled Stargate Universe halfway through the story arch. Those guys are just floating in space. It’s a tragedy.
Give it a shot. Ditch cable and subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime. There are so many ways that you can hook your TV up to the internet these days. Pretty soon, cable will be a thing of the past anyway. The only thing you’ll miss out on is commercials.
Then use the extra money to make yourself a cake. You deserve to celebrate your cleverness.
I can’t just leave you with nothing to show for your visit here. So because I watched Argo recently, I’ll show you how to make this fabulously retro yellow cake with fudge frosting. It’s so 70’s, just like the hair and costumes in that film.
If you haven’t seen Argo yet, make sure you put it in your queue. It was thoroughly entertaining, funny and emotional, and highly suspenseful. Ben Affleck is a great director, and the tension in this film is riveting. He pulled off quite of feat getting me to bite my nails over a story based on a historical event. I knew how it would end, but I was still on the edge of my seat.
Watch Argo, eat this cake, and you’ll be like “cable schmable” before you know it.
Retro Yellow Cake with Fudge Frosting
A classic yellow cake with thick fudge frosting, just like the old days.
2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temp, cut into small pieces
for the frosting
6 oz unsweetened chocolate (the baking kind, not the kind you eat) melted and cooled
4-1/2 cups (563 grams) powdered sugar
3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, room temp
6 Tbsp half and half (any dairy will do, but skim milk won’t be as rich)
1Tbsp vanilla extract
for the cake
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour 2 nine inch round cake pans. (This recipe was originally 3 layers, but I only have two pans. Work with what you got.) If you have it, line the bottom of each pan with parchment, just to be safe.
Crack the eggs and yolks into a separate bowl, then add ONLY 1/4 cup of the buttermilk, and all the vanilla. Whisk or beat with a fork to blend.
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in your mixing bowl and whisk to combine. (If you’re using a stand mixer, use the stir setting instead.)
Add the butter and remaining 1 cup buttermilk to the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined.
Turn your mixer up to medium for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be light and fluffy.
Add the egg mixture slowly. Scrape down your bowl and give it one more mix, just until everything is incorporated.
Divide the batter between your waiting pans.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until your cake tester comes out clean and the sides have started to pull away from the edge.
Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning them out. Use wire racks if you have them. Allow cake to cool completely.
for the frosting
If you have a food processor, simply throw all the ingredients into it, flip the switch, and wait for it to all come together.
Without a food processor, I would sift the powdered sugar into the bowl. Still throw everything in together and mix until combined. Electricity is a lazy baker’s best friend.
This frosting should be dense and fudgy, not light and airy, so if you’re using a mixer, go with the paddle attachment.
I assembled my cake by placing the first cake layer onto my plate, then slapping on about 1/3 of the frosting. Spread it evenly, then place the other cake layer on the top. Place some frosting on the top and work it over the edges, then frost the top. Get as creative as you like. But try to make it like Kitty Forman would. It will taste better that way.