Lemon Polenta Cake

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For today’s announcement, I wanted a bright, sunny dessert.

In July, I will be moving to AUSTRALIA for my final semester of university!

Today I received the official letter of acceptance from UNSW. As part of my undergraduate degree, I have the opportunity to go on two student exchanges. In February 2013, I moved to Lausanne, Switzerland for my first exchange. It was such a great experience that I did not want to pass up the chance to participate in another one. This time, I convinced my younger sister to apply with me. I’m off to Sydney, and she’ll be a couple hours south in Wollongong.

This is one of the other reasons why I haven’t been able to bake lately. While my courses were going on, I had to submit my application, which involved running around quite a lot to get signatures from various departments. Then the course selection proved to be pretty frustrating as practically all the classes I chose would not be offered while I’d be there. There is still lots of paperwork to get through though. Go to mandatory information session. Get Australian health insurance. Book plane ticket. Apply for a student visa. Apply for student housing. Cross my fingers that my grades didn’t fall this semester… ya that last part has been freaking me out. Rather than look at my overall gpa, my faculty looks only at my latest semester. This semester, I took 5 classes instead of my regular 4. Two of those classes were tough and I’m worried. It’s been such a stressful, frustrating process (as I’m writing this, my sister is actually being told by one officer that she can’t go, but now someone with more authority is giving her the ok. gaahh so many twists!) BUT it is worth it in the end, and I highly recommend it! Rather than paying the exorbitant costs associated with being an international student, a student exchange lets me pay my regular tuition fees. Also, the Quebec government gives a generous monthly bursary to help pay the rent etc.

This lemon polenta cake is bright, tart, sweet and sticky. The almond meal and cornmeal give the cake a grainy texture, a certain grittiness and crumble. The sharp syrup soaks through the cake. The lemon highlights the butteriness of the cake, resulting in both a rich and tart dessert.

When looking for a fool-proof recipe, I turn to Nigella, Baked, or Cook’s Illustrated. Usually I’m not a fan of grainy textures, but Nigella succeeds yet again in creating a tasty dessert.

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Bon appétit!

Recipe Source: Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

Yields 16 slices

Ingredients:
•cake
200 grams (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
(2 cups) almond meal
100 grams fine polenta or cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
zest of 2 lemons
•syrup
juice of 2 lemons
125 grams (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar

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Instructions:
•cake
1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and whipped.
4) Mix the almond meal, cornmeal and baking powder together in a small bowl.
5) Mix in some of the cornmeal mixture into the butter mixture.
6) Add 1 egg. Keep alternating between adding the cornmeal mixture and the eggs.
7) Mix in the lemon zest.
8) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
9) Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges of the cake begin to shrink away from the sides of the pan.
10) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan.
•syrup
1) Boil the lemon juice and icing sugar together in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat once the icing sugar has dissolved.
2) Prick the cake all over with a toothpick.
3) Pour the warm syrup over the cake.
4) Let the cake cool before taking it out of the pan.

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