vanilla and rose polenta cake with lemon curd cream

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The flavours of this cake are so beautifully feminine to me – it’s no wonder I initially came up with the idea for it to bring to a baby shower. Layer cakes are brilliantly impressive to share on special occasions. This one in particular, with its simple cream filling and rustic decorations, can be baked, cooled and assembled within the space of two hours to yield a vastly more impressive result.

I’ve never used polenta in a cake before, but I love the complimenting corn meal texture to the fragrance of the rosewater. If you like turkish delight and Mediterranean style flavours, this cake is perfect. It’s buttery, with a coarse crumb, lending itself well to the tart smoothness of the cream filling. Lemon curd pretty much tastes like jarred sunshine – I don’t think there could be anything more fitting for a filling. As seen in the pictures, I also made the cake using a pistachio buttercream, processing the nuts to a fine paste. I haven’t provided the recipe here because I do think the cream filling – although vastly quicker to prepare – yields a more tasty result.

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I do terribly on night shifts in that I am terribly productive at occupying my days with everything but sleep. When the sun is shining outside, it’s so hard to resist the urge to bake something that begs to be topped with fresh flowers from the garden. My compulsion to perfect this cake meant I multitasked: cancelling the internet, accepting the quote for moving my furniture back home, following a guided meditation and organising flights for a holiday with dear friends all while the layers were baking.

Going through a breakup has left me with so much energy. I’m finally able to bask in the sunshine of everything that is good and loving in my life now I am free of something that was ultimately devoid of both. I feel like my happiness is snowballing as I’m able to appreciate the trivial wonders of my day. I really enjoyed making this, and I’m so happy to bring it along to night shift to share – and now the recipe, with you! xx

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vanilla rose polenta cake with lemon curd cream

Prep Time: 30 Mins Cooking Time: 30 Mins

Ingredients:

    Polenta cake:

    • 200g butter, room temperature
    • 300g caster sugar
    • 6 eggs, room temperature
    • 1.5 tbsp rosewater
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence
    • 250g (gluten free) self raising flour flour (add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum and 2 tsp baking powder if not already included in your blend)
    • 120g polenta
    • 150g full fat Greek/plain yoghurt

    Lemon curd filling:

    • 250ml/1 cup double/whipping cream
    • 100g/half cup lemon curd

    Lemon drizzle:

    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 50g icing sugar

    Directions:

      Cake:

      1. Preheat oven to 160C/320F bake setting. Grease and line the base of two or three 20cm/8in cake tins – depending on how many layers you want. Dust with a little polenta around the sides.
      2. In a free standing mixer or by hand, beat the caster sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
      3. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, polenta and raising agents/gums if needed), then add to the wet mixture. Mix until just combined, careful not to overmix. Fold through the yoghurt.
      4. Divide the mixture into the cake tins and spread evenly. Cook for 30-35 minutes depending on your oven strength and number of layers/cake tin size. The cake is ready when the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean.
      5. Cool in the tins for half an hour before cooling completely on a wire rack.

      Filling/drizzle:

      1. Beat the cream until it is softly whipped. Fold through the lemon curd.
      2. In a small bowl, combine the icing sugar and lemon juice.

      Assembly:

      1. With a serrated knife, level off the tops of the bottom and middle cake layers so they are not domed or uneven for filling.
      2. Spread half the cream filling on top of the base layer – right out to the edges and evenly. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat with the rest of the cream. Top with the top cake layer.
      3. Drizzle the lemon glaze randomly on top of the cake, dust with further icing sugar and decorate with edible flowers and crushed meringues.
      4. This cake is best eaten immediately.
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