If life gives you lemons… make a Lemon Polenta Cake! Vegan of course.

IMG_1638 copy
silviaB lemon polenta ck00006silviaB lemon polenta ck00003

When I first arrived in London my whole approach to polenta was “limited” to its savoury possibilities. To me a polenta meal was meant only to be boiled and stirred for over an hour, with a great deal of effort, in order to make a heavy & super-warming preparation that often served to comfort my chilled bones after skiing.

Actually I have tried a polenta dessert once. Angel-white buckwheat polenta in a chocolate fondue. It was eye-catching and pleasantly served in a beautiful stone bowl, but then quite flat and it didn’t really go well with the strong taste of the cocoa.

So the very first time I saw a polenta cake, I was torn between disagreement and excitement. I couldn’t decide which one to choose until I tasted this soft and ultra-light gluten-free bliss. Then I forgot all the traditional ideas about polenta with its long stirring and I disrespectfully worked my way through all the possible variations of this light cake.

I found my personal recipe, born from necessity in the half-empty-cupboard which reflected my inability to go shopping. As I constantly juggle with 2 babies and the rest of my life, I had to really learn the art of improvisation and the transience of time, especially my own time. In the lack of ingredients my recipe came out quite summery and fresh. Not very autumn-friendly, but still good for a November fireplace resting with tea & cake. And, you know, life is full of exceptions. So, as I like an impromptu living of the kitchen I decided not to bother much about seasons and enjoy my new creation. So different from the heavy polenta dishes I always knew!

In the lectures “Six Memos for the Next Millennium” the Cuban-Italian writer Italo Calvino talks about lightness in opposition to weight. Favouring the values of lightness over weight which, he says, is not less compelling but simply there is less to say about it.
He describes lightness as the result of taking weight away, not simplifying things but making them lighter in order to increase movement and flexibility. A lightness of thought that makes us able to keep developing our skills against the petrification of the world around us. And only with this approach can we move forward in our lives, shifting the weight that we often encounter, with grace.

I guess that in cooking, as part of our strings of living, we should always consider this light & full-minded approach, that is basically the ability of being flexible.

Enjoy with me this light cake then and enjoy the discoveries of the unpredictable. It may remind you how much lightness we need to welcome in our lives.

silviaB lemon polenta ck00000silviaB lemon polenta ck00002

For this recipe you need:

26 cm diameter tin, 2 bowls, a grater such as Microlite, and maybe a good food processor to mill the almonds if you like to do so {if you can it is better to mill them yourself to enjoy all the nutrients, but if you don’t have time be easy on yourself and buy them ready ground}, and organic ingredients where possible.


3⁄4 cup of polenta meal (150gr)
1⁄4 tsp salt
1+ 1⁄2 Tbs organic baking powder
1⁄2 tsp pure vanilla powder
1⁄2 cup whole almonds finely milled (100 gr)
1⁄2 cup of coconut meal (50 gr circa)
1 cup of rice malt (300 ml)
2 super ripe fair-trade bananas
3 organic unwaxed lemons, zest + the juice of one
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil or the virgin oil of your choice (100ml)

Preheat the oven to 150o C preparing a medium-low rack for the cake (tends to get too brownish on top before it cooks to the core)
Line the tin with grease-proof paper and grease with some olive oil.
Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly with a fork.
Puree the bananas and mix with all the wet ingredients, adding the zest of the three lemons (grated with a Microlite or with the finest grater you have), and the juice of one of them only. You can use a food processor if it is easier.

Mix all together with the dry ingredients. Spread the result into a 26 diameter tin and cook for 35min.

silviaB lemon polenta ck00001silviaB lemon polenta ck00004

Lemon bliss topping (optional)

1 can of organic fair trade coconut milk refrigerated for 3 hours (to divide the butter from the water)
3⁄4 of a cup of white almond butter or 1 cup and a 1⁄4 of peeled almonds
the juice of one of the lemons above
1⁄2 tsp of pure vanilla powder
pinch of Himalayan salt or the unrefined salt you like
rice malt or raw honey to taste
1 extra lemon for decoration (optional)

Open the cans and carefully shave away the butter (that is now divided from the water).
With the most powerful food processor you have reduce the almonds to a butter, it doesn’t need to be completely smooth.
Mix the almond butter, lemon juice, the sweetener of your choice, salt and vanilla + the coconut.
Leave to settle until the cake is cooled down.
With the spatula mix the topping again and carefully spread it on the top of the cake. Don’t press too much. If it becomes difficult to spread wet your spatula with some coconut milk.

Decorate with the lemon slices or some coconut ribbons.

Enjoy along with a warming cuppa

silviaB lemon polenta ck00003


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: