Lemon Cardamom Polenta Cakes

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baking / dairy free option / dessert / gluten free / sweet / vegetarian


These are so much more than a muffin and they really do taste as good as they look. Very moist, and surprisingly delicate for a polenta cake. Not dense or heavy at all and much more simple to throw together than a standard polenta cake. The rose and cardamom is a classic pairing with lemon and is delicous. The honey lemon curd cream is a bit like guilding the lily, but hey, I love a good bit of food styling. I have given the option for a Lemon & Rose Water Syrup instead, but they are also delicious as is. However, here is the recipe for the Tangy Honey Sweetened Lemon Curd just in case it needs to be done.

I don’t bake sweet things often in our house. Our repertoire involves mainly savoury foods with the occasional wholesome treat. I choose to bake much less often and instead use ingredients that, though higher in price point, are less refined and far higher in nutrient content than standard baking ingredients. I also use birch xylitol (a natural sweetener made from the alcohol of birch tree sap) in most of my “sweet” treats due to its very low GI number. Aonther benefit is that it doesn’t encourage growth of candida and bad bacteria in the gut due to the way it is metabolised. It tastes quite similar to sugar, but doesn’t caramelise, unfortuntaely, so isn’t good in most biscuits and other baking that requires caramelisation of the sugars. However, for my blog, I try to use sweeteners that are unrefined and more widely available and have a preference for rice bran syrup (or brown rice malt syrup) because it is fructose-free and a bit easier for the body to cope with in small doses. Honey is also an option for these.

Oh and yes, those are candied rose petals… A bit much, I know. But I just couldn’t resist and they really are a beautiful touch for a special occasion. The kids also enjoyed making them with me. They are very simple.

Candied Rose Petals:

Take some fragrant rose petals, whisk a fresh egg white until it is foamy. Paint the petal with a thin coat of the egg white on both sides (using a small, soft paint brush) and dust it in a small bowl of icing sugar. I use my spice grinder to grind raw sugar into a super fine powder. Dry the petal on a piece of wax paper or parchment. A tad fiddly, but rather satisfying for any of you with a slight OCD streak like me (actually).




Lemon Cardamom Polenta Mini Cakes

  • Servings: 8 large or 12 medium mini cakes
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225g ground almonds (about 2 1/4 cups)

100g polenta (just over 2/3 cup)

1 1/2 tsp gluten & aluminium free baking powder

3 cardamom pods – remove seeds and grind in mortar & pestle

225g coconut oil or butter or ghee (scant cup)

1/3-1/2 cup rice bran syrup or honey

3 large eggs

zest of 2 lemons

1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon Rose Water Syrup

1 tsp rose water

juice of 2 lemons

1 TBLS rice syrup, honey or unrefined sugar

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease or line muffin tins.

In a large bowl, add ground almonds, polenta, baking powder and ground cardamom and stir to mix. In a saucepan, add coconut oil (or butter or ghee) and slowly melt over a low heat. Once melted remove from heat and add rice bran syrup or honey and stir. Add eggs, one at a time, and whisk well after each addition. Add lemon zest and vanilla and whisk again. Add wet mix to the dry mix and whisk well until smooth. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tin and place in the centre of the preheated oven. Bake for 22-28 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle. The mini cakes should also bounce back slightly when pressed gently in the centre.

While the mini cakes are baking, mix together the remaining ingredients for the syrup. You may need to heat the mixture slightly if using sugar in order to dissolve the granules. Spoon the syrup over the hot mini cakes as soon as the tin is out of the oven. Allow the mini cakes to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a cooling rack.

Alternatively you can top the mini cakes with a lemon curd cream. Search the archives for the Honey Sweetened Lemon Curd Recipe or click on the post link. I topped the cakes (pictured) with a mixture of half fresh whipped cream and half lemon curd, folded together into a lemon curd cream. I do this instead of the syrup when wanting to make something for a special occasion.



The Author

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

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