I was having a look at my blog the other day and realized it had been a year since I started, so I thought I’d make a little celebration cake to mark the occassion! While I would love a bit more time to devote to it, I love the outlet it provides me to share my recipes with other foodies. It keeps me inventing new recipes and forces me to take risks in the kitchen, which is a lot of fun. So, thanks to everyone who comes by and checks it out.
To celebrate, I decided to make one of my all time favourite cakes, a super moist coconut cake that I’ve loved ever since I was little. It’s a Woman’s Weekly classic that uses sour cream to ensure the cake’s moist texture and make sure it isn’t overly sweet. While I love this cake as is, I decided to take it up a notch and add a delicious pomegranate mascarpone icing to really add that oomph! The icing is tangy and complements the cake perfectly. To top it off, I thought the cake needed a bit of texture, so I added some toasted coconut that I just baked in the oven at 220°C for about 6 minutes. And to add some colour, I finished it with some freeze dried raspberries and pomegranate arils. And I have to say, it was incredible. I don’t like to boast to much but flavours and textures in the cake are so delicious, every plate in the house was licked clean. I hope you like it as much as I did!
Coconut Celebration Cake with Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing
250g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cup caster sugar
1 ¼ cup desiccated coconut
3 cups self-raising flour
500g sour cream
2/3 cup milk
Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing
250g cream cheese
3/8 cup sugar
1 egg (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbs pomegranate molasses
½ cup toasted coconut flakes
Arils of ½ a pomegranate
½ cup freeze dried raspberries
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease two deep 22cm-round cake pans; line base with baking paper.
Beat butter, essence and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in half the coconut and half the sifted flour, half the sour cream and half the milk, then add remaining coconut, flour, sour cream and milk; stir until smooth.
Divide the mixture into the two pans; bake for about 50 minutes or until cooked when tested. Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack, top-side up, to cool.
Meanwhile, while the cake is baking, start on the icing. In a large bowl beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg, beat well. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses and mix until combined.
To assemble the cake: place one of the cakes on a board or cake stand. Using a large spoon, place half the icing mixture into the middle of the cake. You don’t want to spread it all the way to the edge as once you place the second cake on top the weight will push the icing to the side. Place second cake on top and dollop the rest of the icing on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut, pomegranate arils and freeze dried raspberries and serve.
Lemon polenta cake sounds like the sort of cake you would have in the oven in case someone popped in for afternoon tea. People don’t seem to drop by anymore though. Our society isn’t very conducive to this type of lifestyle. We are all so rushed and frantic trying to fit everything into our busy schedules that the thought of just popping over to a friends unannounced seems bizarre, as does the thought that said friend would just be waiting and available at home.
In my grandmother’s day having a friend over for afternoon tea was the done thing and she still does it with her friends nowadays. And I think it’s lovely. It’s a time to enjoy something sweet, sip on tea and catch up. It makes me a little sad to think this tradition is being lost. It’s such a nice way to enjoy someone’s company – so quaint and charming. Slices, biscuits, fruit breads and teacakes are recipes from a different era but still no less delicious.
This cake is an amalgam of Italian and English desserts. The polenta lends it it’s Italian heritage while the syrup saves it from being too dry, as while I love Italian food their cakes do err on the side of dryness. This dessert is a sweet yet sharp cake with a sticky syrup that highlights it English heritage. The cakes sweetness is not sickly-so, thanks to the sour nature of the mascarpone and lemon. The slightly gritty texture of the polenta paired with the nutty, fragrant almonds provides a lovely change from a simple flour cake. While there may be a fear that polenta in a dessert would make it stodgy, this fear is unwarranted thanks to the syrup, which brings a lovely wetness to this perfect afternoon treat. So why not whip this up next time you have a minute to spare, call up a friend and spend the afternoon catching up like we used to, not over a rushed coffee on the way to somewhere else.
Lemon Polenta Cake with Mascarpone Icing
200g butter, softened and diced
¾ cup caster sugar
Zest of two lemons + juice of one
1 cup polenta
1½ cups almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup icing sugar
2 tbs lemon juice
Zest of ½ lemon
Cake: Preheat oven to 160°C
Grease and line 20cm springform cake tin.
In a medium sized bowl beat together butter and sugar with electric mixers until pale and creamy.
Add lemon rind and vanilla and beat well.
Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Don’t be alarmed if the mixture looks a little curdled and lumpy, once the polenta and almond meal are added it will regain a smoother appearance.
Add lemon juice, almond meal, polenta and baking powder. Using a wooden spoon stir until mixture is smooth.
Bake for an hour. Cake will be ready when an inserted knife comes out clean. If the cake looks to be browning too much while it’s cooking cover it with a layer of foil.
Syrup: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and place on stove over a low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, and let it come to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat.
Icing: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth.
Assembly: Make indentations over the cake using a skewer or fork. Gently pour syrup over cake letting it run into the holes. Leave the cake in tin to cool. Once cool, remove from tin and spread with icing. Garnish as desired.