lemon polenta cake with blueberry compote and mascarpone

lem pol rasp
Inspired by the wedding cake (and by inspired, I mean I had left-over compote coming out of my ears that was begging to be turned lovingly into cake filling), I created this little guy. Lemon and blueberries are good friends. They have been for years. They complement each other delightfully and make a charming flavour pairing for a summer munch.
I have a mild obsession with polenta. It’s impressively versatile. If you can use the same ingredient as an accompaniment to lamb that you can to add to cake batter it’s a thumbs up in my book. I quite fancied trying the Paleo way of eating for a little while, and I genuinely got very interested until I realised that polenta is a grain and grains aren’t Paleo. Bu-bye Paleo, hello grainy goodness. Polenta is a dream in cake batter; it’s a game changer. It elevates an arguably dull sponge to new heights, gives it a “bitty” texture, and a subtle flavour that I can’t quite find the word for. Good is a word. It’s good. I’m not saying a trusty Vicky sponge isn’t a nostalgically awesome treat, but if you fancy shaking things up a little, but too timid to venture entirely out of the spongy zone, this is the ideal compromise.
The cake is light and not too sweet, and tangy from an abundance of zesty goodness. Strawberry jam has been upgraded to blueberry compote here (same recipe as the wedding cake) and is sandwiched decadently with pure mascarpone. I know I’m a heart attack waiting to happen but I swear you will never taste anything as sublime as the velvet simplicity of mascarpone sitting under sharp blueberries. Because I don’t add any sweetener to it, you still have enough contrast. Just gently caress the cheese with a metal spoon until it’s softened and rippling and then smooth it onto the cake. You taste buds will thank you, your dentist won’t. But life is all about compromise and making hard choices.

lemon polenta rasp

225g very soft butter
225g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
200g fine polenta
50g plain flour (if you didn’t want to use flour you can use 250g polenta instead)
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla paste
finely grated zest of 2/3 lemons
Heat oven to fan 170C. Butter and line two 20cm cake tins.
Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric hand mixer, until fluffs ahoy.
Gradually add the egg. It might curdle, if it does add a little flour and carry on. To be honest a little curdling doesn’t really affect the finished product and with this batter you can mix fast and furiously at this stage. Add the vanilla and zest.
In a separate bowl mix the polenta with the flour and baking powder and then fold it gently into your eggy goodness. Spoon evenly between the two tins. Bake it for thirty minutes until springy in the middle.  Cool them in their tins for about 10 minutes then turn them out.
Lather on ready bought mascarpone (as much as you want- I used a whole big tub because I am disgusting), then blob compote on top of this. Put it in the fridge but probably take it out half an hour or so before eating, a little room temperature makes this baby sing.  A dusting of icing sugar is always a sure way of having a sticky kitchen floor for weeks… so if you’re willing to make that sacrifice I encourage it whole heartedly.

easter 2

B.W. (before wedding), when I wasn’t solely obsessed with blueberries I made a version of this cake for Easter that was slightly offensive to the eyeballs but I rather enjoyed it (pictured above and below, sorry eyeballs). It included a fresh raspberry in the batter, raspberry and cream cheese frosting, and freeze dried, white chocolate coated raspberries balls for decoration. Bit ridiculous, but if a cake can’t be frivolous, what can be? Tasted great too; I’m a substance over style gal…

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