CAKE DREAMS

20140202-143740.jpg Another baking post, because it's been that kind of week.

This is actually one I've been meaning to share for a while. It's such an easy and lovely cake, I come back to it all the time. It is also a nice and dense, flavourful gluten-free option, if you have anyone in your life that is troubled by flour. My friend Addy has been GF for years, and this one is good to pull out in all kinds of dressed-up and dressed-down ways. It's a take on a Nigella Lawson lemon and polenta cake, which I use for dinner parties as more of  pudding - served warm with the lemony syrup and a big dollop of Greek yoghurt. It's easy and fresh, but still feels like an indulgence.

The below I have adapted a bit to suit my tastes - coconut instead of the semolina for a smoother texture and a richer flavour, and orange instead of lemon, because, well, I just like it. I would say that it is worth doing a double-batch, or using a small tin, as GF cakes never give much in the way of rise. For Addy's 30th, I did three times the quantity, iced it with a zesty orange and passionfruit buttercream and piled it high with lisianthus.

INGREDIENTS * 175 grams of unsalted butter, softened * 1 cup of white sugar * 2 cups of almond meal * 3/4 of a cup of desiccated coconut * 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder (GF options available) * 3 eggs * zest of one orange

METHOD Beat down the butter and sugar till they are a soft, creamy paste. In a separate bowl, mix the almond meal, the coconut and the baking powder and add the mix slowly to the butter and sugar, a little at a time, alternating with the eggs. I used a Kitchen Aid but you'd be fine to beat it by hand. Grate in the orange zest and mix thoroughly before baking in a moderate oven (180 celsius or so) for about 45 minutes. It will brown quite quickly with all that butter, so I recommend turning the oven a little lower for another ten minutes, to make sure it is cooked through nicely. I always line a springform pan with baking paper, to avoid any issues once the cake has cooked and cooled.

Adapted from Nigella Lawson.