Sunday 12 December 2010

Lemon polenta rose cakes at an italian summer lunch


I must have accidentally stepped into a time machine for it to already be that crazy time of year again.  And crazy it is...the Christmas shopping, the parties, the family dos.  Luckily for us downunder, it also means that we are heading into a glorious summer.
So in the hustle and bustle of the silly season, when my gorgeous friend Chloe suggested an italian long lazy ladies lunch in the sun, we all jumped at the opportunity to eat, unwind and chillax for an arvo away from the insanity of Christmas time.

And it was the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe for Lemon Polenta Rose Cakes.

Before I even get to the recipe I just need to do a rave about the venue.  Chloe is the perfect hostess.  Stepping into her villa is like stepping into a magazine shoot.  Every room is elegant and stunning....rather like the girl herself.  

So much thought and time and energy had gone into every detail of whole event - from picking the tuscan dishes, the personalised menus, to the exquisite table settings.   And it seemed as if even the weather was under Chloe's expert instruction since it was such a perfectly sunny and beautiful day.

 {rose and antipasti}

{toto restaurant's one metre speciale pizzas}

We were wined and dined.  We chattered away the afternoon and ate until we were almost bursting.

After hor d'oeuvres, antipasti, gourmet pizzas, salads, and just when I thought I couldn't possibly eat another bite, the desserts came out.  Hazelnut and chocolate truffle pie - rich and chocolatey and totally sinful.

And the lemon polenta rose cakes.  I was disappointed that they stuck to the rose pan despite heavy greasing (next time I will just make them as cupcakes).  But where the rose cakes did not deliver lookwise, boy oh boy did they deliver on flavour!  Nutty coconut with sharp citrusy lemon in a super moist little cake kinda shaped like a rose.  It was also so easy to whip up - basically everything in one bowl then in the oven. Definitely a recipe I will be using again.

{the lovely lisa}

{peony love} 

{lemon polenta rose cakes}

{hazelnut & chocolate truffle pie}

                                                                   {lovely law ladies who lunch}

Lemon Coconut Polenta Rose cakes with Lemon Glaze

tweaked from Manna from Heaven by Rachel Grisewood via Not Quite Nigella.
makes around 16 rose cakes or cupcakes

225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
3 eggs (~165g), lightly beaten
110g ground almonds
100g shredded long thread coconut
110g polenta
zest of 2 lemons
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla

Lemon glaze
225g icing sugar
2 - 3 Tbsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 150oC. To make as cupcakes: line two 12 cup muffin tins with baking cups.  For rose cakes: grease your rose cake tin heavily with shortening. For friands: spray your friand cups/cupcake cups then line the bottoms of with a square of baking paper.

2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and there are no lumps.

3. Gradually beat eggs in to the mix.

4. Fold in ground almonds, coconut, polenta, lemon juice and zest, baking powder and vanilla.

5. Fill the cups to around 2/3 full.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until lightly browned on top and spring back lightly when poked.  Cool in the tin a little before turning out and cooling on a wire rack.

6.To make the glaze: sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add lemon juice a tablespoon at a time until the mix is just pourable and runs off the fork in a slow stream (rather than blobs).

{divalicious summer}


  1. Wow what a lunch! Looks so extravagant, and your photos are beautiful. I would so gobble up those polenta cakes, esp with lemon glaze drizzled on top. Nom nom. I've only used polenta once in baking, and it was to make cookies, it didn't go so well, too crunchy, it was only afterwards that I realised you can get instant or non-instant and I probably used the wrong one. It was like eating cookies made with sand, not so fun. Long story short: do you use instant polenta for your rose cakes? and what is the resulting texture like? I'd love to give baking with polenta another try.

  2. I didn't even know there are different types!! I used instant polenta for these cakes. Didn't find that them sandy at all. The texture of the cakes is very much like a friand, with the shredded coconut being the dominant crunch factor. Don't be tempted to add more coconut though coz it makes the cakes too crumbly I reckon. I've made these cakes a couple of times them! :)

  3. Awesome, thanks for all the tips!

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