Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Raspberry Polenta Cake - Forever Nigella 25

The sun! What a glorious thing it is to cast off the tyranny of winter. This seems to have happened all of a sudden too - one minute damp, gloomy, miserableness and then all of a sudden SUNSHINE. The bats are back in the garden at dusk and I heard a cuckoo while I was out walking the dog in the early morning. I want to cast caution to the wind, shave my legs, paint my toenails and swish about in a dress and flipflops for the next 6 months. I might even add a sunhat, just for good measure.

Can you tell I'm in a good mood?

So anyway, one of the things that happens round here when the sun comes out is that everyone gets more sociable than usual, and our plans for a quiet Saturday evening were thrown out of the window with an invite for a general get together with some friends.

Beer, a fire pit, marshmallows. What could be better? 

My contribution was a hastily rustled up cake, loosely based on Nigella's rhubarb cornmeal cake from Domestic Goddess. Based on the fact that I had no rhubarb, but plenty of rasperries in the freezer, I adapted heavily: used the raspberries pretty well frozen, replaced cinammon with the zest of a lemon (I happen to know for a fact that the Goddess would approve of the rasp/lemon combo), used self raising flour rather than plain (none in the cupboard) 0% fat Greek yoghurt rather than bio yoghurt. I also used a rather unconventional cake making method, having mixed up all the dry ingredients including the sugar together in a bowl as a result of recipe-blindness, leaving me nothing to cream my butter with. Not that I'd necessarily recommend it as a method, but there doesn't appear to have been any harm done.

And the colours - well gorgeous - a rich yellow batter partly from the cornmeal, and partly from the eggs that the chickens obligingly produced, studded with the deep ruby raspberries, and that was just before it was cooked... 

Just right for this month's Forever Nigella, hosted by Elizabeth at A Girl in Her Kitchen for Sarah at Maison Cupcake, with the theme 'colourful'.

Raspberry Polenta Cake

500g frozen raspberries
300g caster sugar
150g self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
zest of a lemon, finely grated
155g fine polenta
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
75g soft unsalted butter and 50g Stork margarine 
250g 0% fat Greek yoghurt

23cm Springform cake tin, buttered and lined

Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Mix together the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, bicarb, salt, lemon zest and polenta). Whisk together the eggs and the vanilla. Beat together the butter and marg till soft and fluffy then add in the egg mixture a little at a time, After each addition, add a little of the dry ingredient mix to prevent the egg curdling. Once the eggs are added, alternate between yoghurt and the rest of the dry ingredients mix until everything is just mixed. Fold in the raspberries (still frozen) and bake. This is quite a long process - Nigella's original cake is supposed to take 1hr in total, but I remember it taking longer when I followed the recipe. My version, well, I checked after 40 minutes and covered the tin with foil to stop the cake catching, then checked again at an hour. I gave it another 20 minutes, then an additional 15 minutes. And then 10 minutes more...

The resulting cake had quite a crisp outside layer as a result of the lengthy cooking, but a lemony cake inside with a lovely raspberry layer at the bottom.

The general consensus was that the crispy outside was a pretty good contrast with the inside of the cake, and all in all pretty good.

And with a good dollop of cream it was really rather good.

And after chilli, and cake, we lit a bonfire, let the kids rampage around the fields next door to the garden and watched the moon. Perfect.


  1. God, this looks incredible- I will HAVE to make this during the next couple of weeks!

  2. Looks and sounds brilliant! I will happily swap raspberries for rhubarb in just about anything! I too hope for 6 months of flip flops and summer dresses, but when someone pointed out to me that in around 5 months it will probably start snowing again here, I resisted the temptation to kick them...

  3. It is happy weather and your cake looks glorious!

  4. I've been meaning to get back into the Forever Nigella posts. This was a great choice!


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