"Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house,
you never can tell." ~ Joan Crawford
Oh, that Joan. But isn't it the truth? When we fall in love we never know how it's going to turn out. Perhaps it will only last 5 days, or if we're one of the lucky ones, 50 years. All those butterflies and gushy smiles at the beginning often end with painful wails on the bathroom floor. Not speaking from experience or anything. But that's the chance you take when you enter into a new relationship - it can go either way - but the main thing is you want to take that chance. You need to take that chance. For a life without risk isn't a life worth living. Maybe you'll have a fantastic few days together and never see their face again, or maybe you'll have heaps of grand kids who come over every Sunday and bake cookies with you. That's the thing about life. You just never know. So for all of you out there taking another chance on love, this one is for you.
February 14th is often associated with chocolate. And rightly so. Chocolate is nectar of the gods and goddesses. But perhaps you or someone you dig, isn't so crazy about chocolate. Believe it or not, those people exist. While chocolate is in heavy rotation around here, recently Meyer lemons have taken a firm hold on me as well. I snap them up like crazy, for soon they'll be off the shelves for good. Those golden orbs are little gems this time of year. They're a little bitter and a little sweet. Remind you of anything else? Like a lot of things in life, I need to appreciate what I have while I have it. And so this cake comes to be.
Don't be frightened off by the polenta part. It's just cornmeal to you and me. This cake is incredibly moist with a deep lemony flavour - thanks to the lemon sugar syrup poured over the cake while still warm. The cornmeal adds a nice texture contrast, but it's still rich enough to feel like a small indulgence. There's just a whisper of lavender, which when overused can be reminiscent of your Grandmother's perfume. But fear not, here it is subtle, and gives inspiring hints of warmer weather to come. A simple dusting of powdered sugar is all you need to serve to your loved ones. Tea would be fantastic; champagne even better. It is Valentine's day after all. No better time to push the boat out.
Meyer Lemon & Lavender Polenta Cake
If you can't find Meyer lemons, substitute regular lemons. While the cake is perfectly lovely served warm, it should be noted that it makes a smashing breakfast when served with a dollop of yogurt and fresh berries. Apologies for the measurements by weight, but a kitchen scale can be your best friend!
200 grams butter, softened plus more to grease the pan
170 grams cane sugar
200 grams cornmeal
100 grams all purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 large eggs
Juice and zest of one Meyer lemon
1 tsp dried lavender
Juice of 3 Meyer lemons
125 grams cane sugar
Powdered sugar to serve
Line the bottom of 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter.
Preheat oven to 350*F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale - about 4 minutes.
In a separate bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Beat one third of this into the butter mixture, then add one egg, beat and scrape the sides of bowl. Alternate adding dry ingredients and remaining eggs, beating all the while. Mix in lemon zest, juice and lavender. Scrape into prepared springform pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until cake is lightly golden and when a skewer is inserted it comes out clean. Transfer to wire cooling rack and leave in tin. Gently poke holes allover using a skewer or toothpick.
To make the syrup - bring lemon juice and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 2 minutes then remove from heat. Carefully pour syrup over cake, being sure to cover cake evenly. Let cool completely before removing from tin. Cut into wedges, dust with powdered sugar and serve. Makes about 8 servings. Recipe adapted from Food 52.