Saturday, 21 August 2010

Lemon, polenta and poppy seed syrup cake with honeyed spiced figs

This is something of a first for the blog; a cake!

It's not that I don't cook or like cakes, more that I've always been more of a savoury girl. But this is a beautiful cake that has a great texture, is incredibly moist and isn't overly sweet.

Plus, I am married to a cake eating Yorkshire man and can ignore this fact no longer.

Coming home from work on a daily basis I find that he has been buying little cakes and baked treats for 'afternoon tea'. At first I found them hidden in the pantry in the naughty basket, but now he doesn't even hide them, they sit brazenly on the dining table like some kind of non verbal message to me 'bake me a cake, woman'.

I am not even a year married and am trying to be a good wifey, and I'm sure many other married ladies will know that this sometimes involves doing things we wouldn't normally do (like making cakes, of course!), so here it is, my blog's cakey debut.

For one 8" diameter cake:
200g unsalted butter
3 eggs
200g golden caster sugar (extra nice if you've stored a vanilla pod in it)
100g ground polenta
200g ground almonds
One heaped teaspoon poppy seeds
The grated rind of four lemons
The juice of four lemons
One fig each (depending on how many your cake is feeding)
A spoon of natural yogurt per fig
Butter for greasing
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons icing sugar

The fig syrup:
2 tablespoons icing sugar
Two tablespoons honey
The grated rind of one lemon
Juice of three lemons
One star anise
One half vanilla pod

- Preheat your oven to 170 degrees and grease an 8" cake tin with unsalted butter
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
- Add the eggs and mix thoroughly into the mixture, then add in the ground almonds
- Once all combined, add in the poppy seeds, baking powder and ground polenta and mix together until its a pale yellow and fluffy mixture
- Finally, add in the juice of one lemon and the rind of four, combine thoroughly and then spoon the thick and fluffy mixture into the buttered cake tin
- Cook for 35 minutes in the oven then check it's cooked by putting a skewer or knife into the centre, if it comes out cleans its ready, if not give it a few more minutes and check again, once cooked remove the cake from the oven (but don't turn the oven off)
- Five minutes before cake comes out of the oven, put the juice of three lemons and icing sugar into a small saucepan and heat on a medium heat until dissolved
- Pierce the cake all over and pour the drizzle mixture onto it then set the cake aside so the drizzle can absorb
- Slice crosses through the centre tops of the figs so the tops open up into four quarters, but don't slice them all the way through just a third of the way down
- Place the figs onto a lightly buttered baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes
- While they're baking, in a small saucepan place all the fig syrup ingredients and cook on a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture lightly bubbling
- Serve the cake in slices onto plates, and place a tablespoon of yogurt to sit a fig in next to the cake
- Spoon the fig syrup over the figs and a little onto the cake
- Eat, a cup of tea or proper coffee go nicely


  1. Ooh, this cake is proper and posh. Looks lovely. x

  2. I knew there had to be a good use for polenta out there!!

  3. I can't wait to make this for my friend's birthday on Wednesday! Sounds delicious...

  4. Make sure you let me know how you go with it, and if she likes it! x

  5. The lemon cake went down very well and actually tasted better the next day. I will try the chocolate and Guinness cake next...x