Cook this: almond & polenta cake

Apologies for the hiatus in baking of late; between the cookbook being prepared for launch and the rest of life, I haven’t had much time or inclination for it. But, I got back in the kitchen this weekend and finally made a cake that’s been on my “to bake” list for a while – an almond polenta cake by Therese at My Nordic Kitchen. I love almonds. I love polenta. It was an obvious one for me.

I played with the recipe a little, as I am want to do by upping the polenta ratio and making it a bit of a smaller cake. It’s delicious, so next time I’ll double it. It’s a super light and soft cake, and goes down perfectly with a good pot of Earl Grey tea.

Ingredients:
– 50g butter, softened
– 5 tbsp. caster sugar
– 2 large eggs, at room temperature
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– finely grated zest of one lemon
– 150g Greek yoghurt
¼ cup plain flour
¼ cup almond meal
cup polenta
½ tsp baking soda
– pinch of salt
– handful slivered almonds

Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and grease a bread tin.

2. Combine the butter and sugar with electric beaters until smooth and creamy, then add the eggs, one by one, and beat until combined.

3. Add the lemon zest, vanilla and yoghurt, and stir through.

4. Finally, add the flour, almond meal, polenta, baking soda and salt, and stir to completely combine.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and sprinkle the slivered almonds over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake passes the skewer test. Cool in the tin, and keep up to 3 days in an airtight container.

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Cook this: lemon, almond & coconut cookies

I made a batch of these guys last week to take into work, because I work with really lovely people and I love baking for them! I wasn’t sure how well they’d go down – lemon, almond and coconut in cookies? Most people prefer chocolate chips… but they were a surprise hit, were finished the same day they were brought it, and the recipe was requested by a few of the girls.


I made another batch a few days later, because I was kicking myself for not keeping any at home, and figured I should probably record this recipe for later use. Not that you really need a recipe – it’s pretty simple!

 

Ingredients:
– 100g butter, softened
– 100g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp lemon OR almond liqueur, OR ½ tbsp lemon juice + ½ tbsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
Handful almonds, crushed
½ cup shredded coconut
Zest of 1 lemon

 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 170° and line an oven tray with baking paper.

2. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and creamy.

3. Beat in the egg and the lemon liqueur/lemon juice + vanilla extract.

4. Stir in the flour and baking powder until combined, then stir in the rest of the ingredients.

5. Roll into balls and place on the oven tray, bake for 15min, or until golden brown.

 

Cook this: lemon chia seed cake

If you’ve been following my adventures for a while, you’ll know that I’m an old lady who loves a cup of tea and a little something sweet to go with it. I usually make a batch of biscuits every weekend to last the week’s worth of night time tea sessions, but lately I’ve been really craving a good cake. I really like a good lemon dessert, so I thought of a lemon poppy seed cake. Then I thought, why not replace the poppy seeds with chia seeds? I’m absolutely loving chia seeds right now, mostly in the form of my overnight oats that I have for breakfast every morning. I figured they’d work pretty well in cake, which they really, really did.

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Ingredients:
– 1½ cups plain flour
– 1½ tsp baking powder
– 115g butter, softened slightly
– 125g caster sugar
– 2 large eggs, at room temperature
– zest and juice of 2 lemons
– 1x170g tub of plain Chobani yogurt (can be substituted for the same amount of plain Greek yogurt of a different brand, I just prefer Chobani!)
– 2 tbsp chia seeds
– 2 tbsp milk

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a 9″ round cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
2. Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
3. In a larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric beater for a few minutes and until light in colour, creamy and fluffy. Then, beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed.
4. Beat in the lemon zest and juice next for a few minutes, until completely combined.
5. Stir in half the flour mixture with a spoon, then add the whole tub of Chobani and the chia seeds. Once they’re mixed in, add the rest of the flour and stir until completely incorporated.
6. Finally, mix in the milk, then pour the batter into the cake in and smooth out.
7. Bake for 35 minutes, until golden on top and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
8. Allow the cake to cool for 15 – 20 minutes in the tin, then remove and dust with a little icing sugar to serve.

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I hate this word, but I have to use it; it is a moist cake. It is soft, light, fluffy, and so very moist. Super punch from the lemon, and the little crunches of chia are fantastic. Actually, I’ll be honest, it’s probably one of the best cakes I’ve put together in… a really long time! Perfect with a nice big cup of Special Grey tea!

Cook this: Earl Grey & lemon cake

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Ever since I discovered the wonder of tea infused butter when I made the new and improved version of the Melbourne Breakfast Tea Cookies, I’ve been thinking about trying it in a cake. I actually had a bit of time up my sleeve last weekend, so I gave it a try. I used an old recipe I have for a simple vanilla buttermilk cake, infusing the butter with one heaped tablespoon of Happy Cuppa Co’s Special Grey tea (a particularly magnificent blend of black tea with lavender, rosehip, orange segments, cornflower petals, rose petals and bergamot flavour).

Anyway, it’s a super simple cake to make, here’s the deal:

Ingredients:
– 125g tea-infused butter (crush the tea leaves with a mortar and pestle, melt the butter, stir in the tea, and allow to harden up a little – to the consistency of softened butter)
– ¼ cup caster sugar
– 2 eggs, at room temperature
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– finely grated zest of one lemon
– ½ cup buttermilk
– ¼ cup regular milk
– 1 cup self-raising flour
– ½ cup plain flour

Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and either line a cake tin with non-stick baking paper or grease and flour it. I used a regular sized bread loaf tin, but you can use whatever!
2. Beat the butter and sugar in a big mixing bowl with electric beaters for a few minutes, until light and ‘fluffy.’
3. Next, beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest. Once completely combined, beat in the milk.
4. Lastly, beat in the flour on low speed until completely incorporated. I told you it was an easy cake.
5. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes or until baked through!

I drizzled a little lemon buttermilk icing over my cake once it was cooled (juice of half a small lemon, 1 tbsp buttermilk and 3 tbsp sifted icing sugar mixed together), and that’s about it!

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It came out light and fluffy, with a subtle tea flavour that wasn’t too overpowering, and I love the way the sweet icing drizzle offsets the lemon. It’s a really simple cake, and also works well in cupcake form (just bake for a little less time, around 20 minutes). I’d imagine other black teas, particularly flavoured ones would work particularly well, too. But if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to make a cup of tea and eat some cake now.