Lemon-Rosemary Polenta Cake
You may have noticed I’m a little obsessed with savoury ingredients in sweet preparations lately. I’ve been working a lot with fruit, but hitting the sweetness with a savoury twist that makes it… interesting and gives it a greater depth of flavour. My herbs are also at full capacity, so I’m trying to use them up as much as I can. I have a gigantaur sage bush, lots of rosemary, and way too much oregano. The other day I had a craving. A couple years ago, I visited Tinhorn Creek (the owner is a friend), and had the privilege (it really was) of eating at Miradoro, which is the winery’s restaurant. Sandy walked me into the restaurant and told me to order the calamari and a glass of the rosè. When the owner tells you what to order, you order that. And it was goooood. For dessert, I had an olive oil cake. It was so moist and delicious, even though olive oil is not something you normally think of being in cake. I started thinking about that cake the other day, and craving it, and decided I’d take a crack at it. I love the texture that the cornmeal gives this, and you can’t really taste the rosemary, just a lingering hint at the end. The predominant flavours are the bright lemon and the marzipan-y goodness of the almond. It reminds me of hot wine country, looking out over a valley made of rows of grapevines. It reminds me of Greece, where we regularly were served a similar cake for breakfast. Isn’t it funny how food can create an emotional response?
Lemon-Rosemary Polenta Cake
- 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
- 1/3 c cornmeal
- 3/4 c sugar
- 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (divided)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon lemon peel
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 c good-quality olive oil (could even be lemon- or rosemary-infused)
- 1 tsp finely chopped, fresh rosemary
- 1/2 c icing sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- enough milk to make it runny
- In a medium-sized bowl, place the milk and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Stir and let sit for two minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with the lemon peel and the rosemary.
- To the bowl with the (now) curdled milk, add the eggs, extra lemon juice, extracts and olive oil. Beat well with a mixer or a whisk.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry and beat for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy.
- Pour into a single, parchment-lined cake pan. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a toothpick. Place the cake on a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet, and pour the glaze over the top of the cake, in the middle. Allow it to run over the top and down the sides.
- Slice and enjoy. Preferably in a hot vineyard with a nice glass of wine.