Saturday, February 12, 2011

If Sunshine Were A Cake

I live a mere hop, skip and jump away from the Museum Of Modern Art (IMMA), yet when it came to catching the Moderns exhibition that was there since November, I managed to put it on the longest of long fingers ever, until last weekend. Just in the nick of time, as it closes on Feb 13th - so very like me to achieve something right up against a deadline, of sorts. And to be honest, I would have probably been chasing in to see it half an hour before closing time on the 13th were it not for a pal date with Donncha and Karen, a very lovely couple who are a friend from college and now architect in London, and my PhDing (something economicsy) squash buddy and French movie-going partner, respectively. A big bonus of going with these two is that Donncha has a degree in art history and peppered our tour around the exhibition with interesting stories and arty factoids. It's a fair old while since they saw my lil house, and so it was the perfect opportunity to show them the finished product. It was also an excellent excuse (as if one were needed) to whip up a tasty cake.

I had polenta cake for the first time at the Dublin flea market in December and it was yet another case of love at first bite for me - to add to the many calorific loves that I have acquired over the years. Always room for one more! I gave Nigella's lemon polenta cake a go when I was feeding the newlyweds there back in November, and so I decided to give Sophie D's orange yoghurt and polenta cake a go. Sophie Dahl and Ravinder Bhogal share the distinction of me ranting about the way that they come across, yet still cooking absolutely tons of recipes from their cookbooks. So while I really love their recipes, their over-effortful, marketed-up personalities are immensely unappealing. 

This recipe appealed in particular because of the yogurt, as I felt that this promised a lovely moist cake. The first port of call was 100g of butter and 225g caster sugar, creamed.

Then three eggs go in, one at a time.

After that it's a whisk-happy ingredients-fest of 100g plain flour, 130g polenta, 50g ground almonds, 80g Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, 4 tablespoons of orange juice and the finely grated zest of 2 oranges. 

And into that most pleasing of baking receptacles, the springform cake tin, it goes. Look at it beaming out like a big blobby edible orange sunshine. Into the oven with it for 45-60 minutes at 180 degrees.

Out it comes, all perfectly-baked looking. Sophie suggests a lemon drizzle, but says that she doesn't bother with it herself. Me, I'm down with the drizzle, and I felt that it really added to the cake, particularly since it wasn't quite as moist as I had hoped. I'm not sure if perhaps this is because I baked it for a little longer than was strictly necessary, but Nigella's had more of a squidge to it. The drizzle is made by combining 100g of caster sugar and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, and heating until the sugar has dissolved, then, eh, drizzling it over the top. 

As I was off on a cycle the morning of my pal date, I decided to be nice and organised and make it the night before. This rather conveniently allowed me ample time to taste it very thoroughly and ensure that it was up to scratch for my guests. It took many, many slices to ascertain this, but after consuming roughly 43% of it I decided that it was of a sufficiently high standard. I'm a VERY selfless individual, me.

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