Hannah here. We recently met some London friends at Joydens Wood, a large woodland equidistant between London and Kent, to walk and eat and catch up on all the things happening for each of us. We whiled away a fortuitously sunny afternoon eating homemade sweet potato quiche, lentil salad, oaty date slices, and strawberries, merrangue and cream. We lounged in the sun (or ran around after toddlers) and played silly games involving hitting certain tree’s with Pinecones (Game of cones. Yep.) and spent hours and hours in the woods. Glorious.
I opted to bake a cake, and seen as one of the members of the group is gluten intolerant, I made it gluten free.
I make a really good Orange Polenta cake, even if I do say so myself, which is gluten free (Nigella’s recipe) but I wanted to try something a bit different. I found a recipe from Strayed Table as my starting point, but I have adapted it a fair bit, because I am incapable of directly following any instruction.
The sweet nutty flavour of the ground almond compliments the texture of the polenta and orange flavour just perfectly, the addition of the pistachio’s adds a pleasing nutty bite and pretty flecks of green to the sponge, and the frosting and edible flowers add a layer of creamy goodness to each bite.
If there was one complaint, i'd say the icing was a little sweet so I have adjusted it below.
For the cake
- 375g Butter
- 375g Caster Sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 200 g ground almonds
- 200 g polenta
- 3 oranges, zested and juiced.
- 4 tsp baking powder (gluten free if baking this for someone gluten intolerant)
- 50 g Pistachio’s, crushed
For the Edible Flowers:
- A Handful of small, organic, edible flowers. Mine are from Cherry Tree farm, a local Kent farm. They don’t officially deliver, but if you call them you can arrange it with them directly.
- Egg white
For the frosting:
- A small handful of crushed pistachio’s
- 150g icing sugar, sifted
- 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 70g cold cream cheese
- 70g cold full Fat greek yogurt
Make edible flowers
Its best to this at least the day before you plan to make the cake.
- Brush individual petals with egg white, front and back
- Liberally dust sieved icing sugar over the petals, turn them over with tweezers, then dust the other side.
- Allow to dry over night. They should be hard and crunchy, and they will taste sweet and slightly floral. They'll last a few months in the pantry too.
- Pre-heat oven to 180’c. Line a 25cm round baking tin with baking paper.
- In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale.
- Add one egg at a time mixing until combined.
- Add the yogurt and crushed pistachio nuts on slow speed in the mixer.
- Fold the following ingredients in by hand
- ground almond
- baking powder
- juice and zest from the oranges
- Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
- Allow cake to completely cool (which takes a couple of hours)
- Beat the icing sugar and butter together in the mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on a slow-ish speed
- Add the cream cheese and yogurt in one go and beat until it is light and fluffy, a few minutes.
- Spoon the frosting onto the top of the cake
- Sprinkle on the edible flowers and crushed pistachio nuts and serve.
Keep it in the fridge, and it should last up to a week.
In other news, we leave for WOMAD festival on Thursday. Are any of you going? (So excited! You can listen along to Radio WOMAD- 87.9FM if you're not! )We move house next Thursday (not excited. Not at all.), then we leave for our big trip a couple of days after that (so excited!). I've been busy with deadlines and house shoots, but finished my last one before the trip today. Frankie's passport still hasn't arrived (not excited). The levels of chaos in our house are unimaginable. Wish us luck/ send gin.