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Lemon & Polenta Tea Cakes

My Grandparents as others baked with polenta (corn meal), as this was one of the bi-products of their land and quite simply what was readily available to everyone.  Who would have known then that they were eating what we call today a gluten free diet!  

Cakes were very dense and heavy, but as my father recounts "...when there was hunger everything tasted great."  Now-a-days we substitute flour with almond meal, but I have never made cakes with polenta.

I came across a recipe that needed to be  modified several times as I wasn't happy with the consistency and heaviness of what should have been 'light cakes'.  I reduced the amount of polenta and increased the almond meal. 

For those who are wheat and lactose intolerant, these are a delicious little treat with a cup of tea.


90gr almond meal
50gr polenta (super fine)
40gr corn flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100gr castor sugar (super fine)
3 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil ( I found this to be too heavy, and recommend you substitute with vegetable oil)
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
Icing sugar (for dusting)

Beat eggs, oil and sugar until creamy.  Add zest and juice of lemon.  Fold in dry ingredients. Pour into small cake tins. Bake at 180c for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar.  Decorate with fresh lemon rind and if you like more tang, you can make a lemon curd and fill them!

Lemon Curd 

6 large lemons
1 1/2 cups (375g) butter, cut
1 kg caster sugar
8 eggs, beaten

Squeeze the juice from the lemons and cut the rinds into thin strips.
Put the lemon juice, lemon rinds, butter, sugar and eggs into the top of a double sauce pan.
Place over very hot (not boiling) water and cook, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved.
Pour the mixture through a strainer and discard the rind.
Return to a clean double sauce pan and cook over very hot water,stirring frequently,until the mixture is thick and smooth
Pour into warm sterilized jars and seal immediately. (Use within four months)



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