23 March, 2011

Trying out gluten free

Thankfully, coeliac disease isn't very common in Singapore. But I've always been quite facinated by recipes which are gluten free because wheat flour is found in so many baked goods that it makes me wonder if “gluten free” would actually be any good.  Lemon, rosemary, polenta cake is just that and it definitely sounded yummy enough.  So I tried baking a batch.
My verdict? By jolly they ARE good! Every mouthful was a burst of lemon and a whole lotta bite. A little more crumbly then if it would have been if wheat flour was used but it meant that there was a slight grittiness that would only come with polenta.

The first batch was iced but that got devoured quite fast. People were coming back for seconds. By the 2nd batch, I had run out of caster sugar so I only made a syrup. Both recipes have been included below. Icing is definitely a little sweeter but I concentrated the lemon by boiling so it wasn't all that sweet!

The only slight little thing that could have been better is less oil but it would affect the moistness of the cake. The lemon cut through the butter and made it an extremely palatable cake which made me come back for 2nds and 3rds (and would have been more if it weren't for the fact that there were none left!) Otherwise it was downright dreamy.

Lemon rosemary polenta cake
Adapted from Not Quite Nigella
Makes 14 cupcakes

110g almond meal
110g polenta
2 tbs chopped up fresh rosemary
Zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp baking powder
200g butter at room temperature
¾ cup caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 lemon juice ice cubes melted (about 6 tbs)

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the polenta with the lemon zest, rosemary, almond meal, and baking powder.
  3. Cream the sugar with the butter until well combined.
  4. Beat the vanilla essence into the eggs
  5. Whisk in the eggs a little at a time until well combined.
  6. Whisk in the lemon juice.
  7. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients.
  8. Pour cake mix into lined cupcake tins.
  9. Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 30 minutes.
  1. Mixing the eggs a little at a time ensures that it is easier to create a homogenous mixture.
  2. Use finely milled polenta for a more refined finish.
Lemon polenta cake icing
2 lemon juice ice cubes (melted)
6 tbs of caster sugar

  1. Mix the caster sugar into the lemon juice.
  2. Pour icing over cakes.
  1. If you want a “dribbled effect” of icing over cake, increase the amount of lemon juice to sugar ratio.
  2. If you want a more tart kind of icing, you can boil the lemon juice a bit to concentrate it. But that would mean using more lemon ice cubes. Play around until you get the exact texture and taste you want.
Lemon polenta cake syrup
5 lemon juice ice cubes
1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
4 tbs caster sugar

  1. Boil lemon juice with rosemary until it just starts to bubble. Leave to stand until cool.
  2. Pour lemon juice through sieve.
    Add caster sugar 1 tbs at a time until well dissolved.
  1. The rosemary is great if the syrup is fresh. But the fragrance leeches out after I kept it overnight.
  2. If you don't like the syrup too tart, substitute water instead.

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