BAKED PISTACHIO & POLENTA CAKE
75g Polenta • 3 eggs • 225g Caster Sugar
225g Unsalted Butter • 1 tsp Baking Powder
Juice of 4 Lemons • 90g Peeled Almonds • 90g Pistachios
100g Icing Sugar • Edible Flowers
Preheat the oven to 160°C, fan 140°C, gas 3. Line the bottom of a 20cm springform pan with baking parchment.
First, toast the almonds and pistachios in the oven, keeping a close eye on them every few minutes until golden. Then, place the nuts in a food processor until finely ground down, or crush them with a pestle and mortar.
By hand, cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until pale and beat in one egg at a time, adding the almonds and pistachios as you go before stirring in the juices of two lemons.
Mix the baking powder and polenta together then gently fold into the batter until the ingredients are fully combined. Pour into your prepared cake tin and smooth the top to ensure even baking throughout.
Bake slowly for 30 m inutes at 160°C, before increasing your oven temperature to 180°C for another 20-30 minutes. Insert a knife into the centre of the cake to see if it is baked all the way through, placing it back in the oven if need be until the knife is drawn without any mixture visible.
Allow your cake to cool in its spring form pan for 15 minutes. Then, remove the outer ring and lay your cake on a cooling rack, leaving it to stand for 2-3 hours at room temperature ahead of decoration.
For the icing, sift 100g of icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the juice of one lemon. If you desire a light drizzling that will absorb further into the cake, add a little more lemon juice or a tablespoon of water and taste. For a thicker coating simply add extra icing sugar until you are happy.
Before the frosting hardwens, sprinkly with pistachios and edible flowers to decorate. Zest a lemon over the cake and grate one or two pistachios on top for a hint of colour and added interest. Flaked almonds or candid orange peel also make delectable finishing touches.
Insight: An Italian store cupboard staple, polenta has its roots in northern Italy. It is made by grinding corn into flour, or meal.