Joy the Baker

Gluten-Free Lemon, Almond and Polenta Cake

March 30, 2009

Gluten-Free Lemon Almond and Polenta Cake

Please allow me this bright and promising Monday morning to keep it one hundred percent real with you.  While this gluten free cake was buttery, nutty, bright with the flavor of lemon and perfectly sweet, the truth is, it ended up all over my floor.  Well… ok, bits on the floor, chunks on the counter, and pieces in my dirty sink.  Basically, this cake landed everywhere except the cake plate where I wanted it.

I salvaged a few if the larger pieces to mock up a pretty picture for you.  For a few moments I thought I might not even tell you about my cake accident.  But… see, my cake didn’t just land on the floor because I’m clumsy, but because I was taking baking liberties that I shouldn’t have.  Fact.

This cake taught me a small lesson about baking pan choices and cooking times.  It also helped me get my cake dropping out of the way for the next several months.  I only drop a cake every three months or so.  I feels good to be free and clear for a few months to come.

Gluten-Free Lemon Almond and Polenta Cake

Gluten-Free Lemon Almond and Polenta Cake

Gluten-Free Lemon Almond and Polenta Cake

Here’s what you should know about this cake.  The crumb is held together with butter, almond flour and eggs.  While the cake is full of great flavor, it’s a bit crumbly.  To best work with the crumb of this cake, I think it would be best baked in mini loaf pans, or mini bundt pans, or those long and skinny loaf pans (6×2 1/2-inches) if you have them.  Cupcakes also worked out well, baking for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges were nice and brown.  Regular sized, larger loaf pans will most likely create a cake that is sunken in the middle.  Bundt pans.. well that’s how I dropped my cake on the floor… no good.

Gluten-Free Lemon Almond and Polenta Cake

When it comes to baking this beauty, you might be surprised when I say: longer is better.  We’re not looking for a lightly colored American style cake here.  We’re looking for a French brown:  a baked good left to bake until the sides are beautifully dark brown.  I think the longer cooking time will help the crumb stay together better.

I’m thinking my mistakes will help you create a better cake.  Go on… bake away!

Gluten Free Lemon, Almond and Polenta Cake

from Breakfast Lunch Tea, Rose Bakery

Print this Recipe!

2 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing pans

2 1/4 cups sugar

grated zest of four lemons

juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 eggs

5 1/2 cups ground almonds

2 cups polenta

1/2 cup rice or corn flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter eight mini bread tins and line the bottoms with parchment paper, or line 3 cupcake pans with foil cupcake liners.

Measure out the sugar and lemon zest.  With the back of a spoon or a plastic bench knife, rub the lemon zest into the sugar, creating a lemony and fragrant sugar.  Beat the butter and sugar until very light and creamy.  Add the lemon juice and the vanilla extract.  Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each addition.

Mix together the flour, ground almonds, polenta, rice or corn flour, baking powder and salt and fold into the butter mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and bake for 35-40 minutes (20-25 minutes for cupcakes) or until a knife inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool the cakes in their tins before taking them out.

Sift some powdered sugar over the cooled cakes for decoration.

Gluten-Free Lemon Almond and Polenta Cake


58 Comments Add A Comment

  • Joy(ous) girlfriend, I LOVE that you would admit to us, and even share, the ‘bake-gone-bad’ event. Too much of the time we feel compelled to show only our best. It doesn’t allow us, nor our fellow foodies the comfort zone that is so important when sharing ideas and challenges.

    We iz human, honey-bees. Thank you for showing us your petticoat and allowing us on the playground with you. We are better for it.

    :)

  • a pic of ur chaotic kitchen would have been nice too! good for u for sharing ur strengths and weaknesses ;)

  • Dropping a cake sounds like something that would totally happen to me. I have a big problem with bumping, dropping, tripping, jamming, etc. Sigh, I think it’s genetic. The piece you saved looks delectable! Do you make your own ground almonds? The recipe calls for a large quantity.

  • Oh no! And it looks so tasty. I hope some of the larger pieces fell onto a plate for you to eat up. At least your clear for a few months now.

  • Just stumbled across this website over the weekend. What a really lovely, make-me-softly-smile kinda place to visit every morning for a quick drop in. Could become like visiting a friend for a cuppa in the morning before work. Thanks for doing what you do.

  • Sometimes the best part are the crumbs! Joy, I’m so glad your back from Oakland, I hope you enjoyed your time in your dress!!!
    Confession… I just found you last week, and like someone else said.. I think I love you!! I love your recipes, your tips and how your put a smile on my face. I’ve made your Red Velvet Black & White cookie twice now, to rave reviews!!! But I also found out yesterday how a pan can make a difference. I thought…I’m going to do a batch on my stoneware pan and no parchment paper. Salvagable, but not like they should be. So I learned how the right pan can make all the difference.

  • One day when I was in high school I came home to discover that our labrador had dug into a three layer cake my mom had just finished putting together for my niece’s birthday. That dog was in so much trouble! That’s probably the saddest baking story I can think of from my family! Anyway, your photos reminded me I forgot to buy cupcake liners for the cupcakes I’m making tonight. Whoops! And the bits of cake you saved look delicious! I love lemon flavored treats.

  • Things happen! Could’ve been worse somehow. Everyone needs to hear the good and bad though, so we should all just share the stories.

  • Oh, about dropping a cake… happened to me about 2 years ago. Later on I found out I had an ear infection. I was wandering why I felt as if I was on a boat.

  • What a great blog you have. It’s my second time finding myself landing here… Today I’ve subscribed.
    Gorgeous photos, BTW. I’m researching to buy a new camera. Was glad to read you have a Rebel – this is what I think of buying, just not sure about XS or XSi. As for the lens… I think you convinced me to invest in a better and more expensive one.

  • Yeah Gluten Free!! You have rocked my world!!

  • Yum. This looks delicious! Thank you so much for the tip about the baking pan. Often times I switch up bunt pans, loaf pans, sheet cakes, cupcakes and you’re TOTALLY right…sometimes it’s a disaster! Thanks for being so honest. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • Glad you got your cake-drop out of the way for the next 3 months. Sorry to say, yes, I’ve been there and it is a sad day at our house when it happens!
    I love lemon, and lemon in a cake-type version is always #1 on my list. What would you think about a sweet lemony drizzle on the top? Too much?

  • I’m sorry but it sounds delicious! What makes a blog wonderful is you can write about the mishaps!

  • Soooo sorry to know about your mishap! You know, these things happen to everybody from time to time…would you know mine? some times ago I slipped an entire pizza out of the oven …to my kitchen’s wall!!! So bloody wall and mozzarella cheese on the carpet! And an empty pizza for dinner! Just to cheer you up
    Martina

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