I wasn’t too sure what I would write about for my next post so I have been sitting on these wee cakes until inspiration hit me.
I went out to dinner with a group of bloggers and ‘instafamous’ people the other night. I felt really old and I’m only 24.
The entire time their phones were out taking photos of the food that was presented to us, more focused on updating their snap stories with pouty videos of what they were doing and where they were being ‘seen’ than the delicious Japanese in front of us. Their loss, I ate most of it. Sure it was a promo event so a wee bit of photography was required but this was excessive. I had to laugh though, all of their photos would have just shown a bunch of people not eating and holding onto their phones with a deathly tight grip. I’m not sure about you but the last thing I want to brag about on social media is going to dinner with a whole bunch of people who are ignoring me in favour of their phones.
It made me loathe Millennials. I did not sign up to be associated with this sort of behavious. There was a dude across the table from me wearing a cap so I sent a sly snapchat to my brother with the caption ‘NO HATS AT THE TABLE’ because that is the rule back at home. He came back asking if that was so-and-so and ‘his hat cost like $300 but he got it for free’. I DON’T CARE! HE IS STILL WEARING IT AT THE DINNER TABLE. Sure he has 55 000 followers but his chat was terrible. Did he even bother to introduce himself to me? Nope and I was sitting right opposite him the whole time. I tried to say hi but he didn't seem interested. All he could do was talk about himself and how he just wanted to ‘do his own thing ya know?’.
Another dinner guest had an unusual mouth (by which I mean lips). I accepted it as a natural feature of her face and thought hey cool, yay natural beauty. I later stalked this person on Instagram and snapchat and as it turns out she had live snapped her experimentation with lip fillers via social media that afternoon. Zero problem with the use of fillers, it’s the live snapping of vapid updates that contain no useful or thought provoking content. We are turning into a generation that is being forced fed rubbish left right and centre. Soon they'll be harvesting our livers for foie gras. We need to do something about this.
In the theme of forced feeding I made these cakes due to a glut of fruit I raided from the Auntie's lemon tree and had to force all my family members to eat them to justify their creation. I have come to realise that there are only a finite number of lemony recipes one can make before you hit the proverbial wall. The world only needs so many lemon syrup loaf recipes right?
I used a polenta chia loaf cake recipe I found in Ripe Recipes: A Fresh Batch by Angela Redfern but instead of a loaf tin I used Texas muffin trays and prayed like hell they would come out.
My prayers worked because they popped out of the tins a smooth treat and made the perfect wee bases for dollops of cream cheese icing and lemon curd. If you're into marmalade then these cakes are going to be your jam. Using the whole fruit including pith and skin in the cakes gives it a lovely bitter flavour profile which complements the cream cheese and lemon curd quite nicely.
Lemon Chia Polenta Cakes
Adapted from Ripe Recipes: A Fresh Batch by Angela Redfern
For the cakes:
2 large lemons
210g fine polenta
1/4 cup cornflour
1 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons chia seeds
Pinch of salt
250g salted butter, cubed and softened
440g white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
6 large eggs
For the lemon curd:
Juice and zest of 2 large lemons
1 cup white sugar
50g salted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
For the cream cheese icing:
125g cream cheese
40g softened butter
3 cups icing sugar
A squeeze or two of lemon juice to loosen
Freeze dried rasberry pieces
Lemon zest threads
Top and tail the fruit. By that I mean slice a wee bit off the top and bottom to create flat surfaces. Try not to cut into the flesh of the fruit though, you just want it to be able to stand still and upright in a pan of water. Place snuggly in a saucepan and fill with water so that it reaches two thirds of the way up the fruit. Pop over a high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling leave for 10 minutes before turning the fruit upside down and boiling for another five minutes. Remove from the pan and slice the fruit into quarters, removing any pips you can see. Leave to cool for a few minutes before blitzing to a smooth pulp in your food processor. Leave the pulp to fully cool before using in the cake batter.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius on bake. Grease two six-hole texan muffin tins with baking spray and place a small square of baking paper at the bottom of each well.
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until nice and voluminous. The mixture will probably spit but don't worry.
In a separate bowl mix together the polenta, baking powder, ground almond, chia seeds, cornflour and salt. Tip this into the butter and sugar and mix gently to combine. Pour in the cooled fruit pulp and mix again to combine.
Spoon the mixture evenly across the muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a sewer comes out of the cakes clean. Tip out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
To make the curd, place the sugar, juice and butter in a heatproof bowl sitting suspended over a small pan of boiling water until the sugar dissolves.
Once all the sugar has dissolved then remove the bowl from the water and start quickly whisking the lemon mix. Very slowly pour in the beaten eggs into the centre of the whisk's path and whisk the egg in. Once again if you do this too quickly the eggs will scramble. To make things easier if this is your first time you could leave the lemon mix to cool for ten minutes before whisking in the egg.
Once all the egg has been added and well whisked in, return the bowl to the pan of simmering water. Reglarly stir the curd until it thickens to that of a pourable yoghurt then from heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
To make the icing, cream together the butter and cream cheese then add in the icing sugar and a wee squeeze of lemon and beat on high until it becomes light and fluffy. Add more lemon juice until it becomes a pipeable consistency.
Line your cakes upside down (aka the smaller smooth side up). With a piping bag fitted with a large round tip nozzle, pope large dollops of icing onto each cake. Follow this by a small spoonful of lemon curd. Decorate the cakes with sliced almonds, petals, freeze dried raspberry pieces and lemon zest ribbons and serve.
These will stay tasty for a couple of days but are definitely best eaten fresh.