Sicilian flavours…

by Sunita on January 11, 2008

“I like a cook who smiles out loud when he tastes his own work. Let God worry about your modesty; I want to see your enthusiasm.” - Robert Farrar Capon.

And I was really smiling, in fact, quite a lot at the way this particular cake turned out. Of course, anything well cooked is most welcome..but when you step forward with a slight apprehension and receive great results, it is much more than welcome. The spring in the step is much more than the spring in the step…it is celebration…of success!

If you’re wondering what all this fuss is about, then, I am talking about the this particular cornmeal citrus cake that I baked the other day.

The inspiration for this cake lies in the Mediterranean(read Sicilian) version of a semolina citrus cake. I substituted the semolina with coarse cornmeal; castor sugar with icing sugar; ground almonds with ground pine nuts; and added a topping of whole pine nuts as well.I also omitted the liqueur which was drizzled after the cake had been baked. I was not quite sure whether I was doing it right, because I came across it quite some time ago. The cake batter, for one, was more like a thick pancake batter. But it all ended well, and to my great delight… the cake was moist and simply bursting with the citrusy flavours of lemon and orange…hence the smile and the spring in the step. The cake is quite a simple one, but somehow I felt immensely pleased with myself. Now before I get carried away, here’s the recipe-

What’s needed-

3 eggs
1 and 3/4 C coarse cornmeal
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tsp baking powder
1 and 1/2 C icing sugar and a little extra for dusting the top
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C pine nuts, ground
1/2 C whole pine nuts
1 tsp orange flower water
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil

How to-

  1. Pre heat the oven at 160 deg C and grease and line the bottom and sides of a baking tin with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, place the eggs, olive oil, salt, sugar, zests and juices and whisk till smooth.
  3. In another bowl, seive together the cornmeal and baking powder and mix in the ground pine nuts.
  4. Fold in the orange flower water into the egg mixture.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture all at once, and fold in. Do not over mix.
  6. Tip the mixture ( as I mentioned earlier, do not be alarmed by it’s light consistency) into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top.
  7. Place the tin at the top of the pre heated oven and bake for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Take out the tin and sprinkle the whole nuts on the top.
  9. Return the tin to the top rack of the oven and bake for another 38-42 minutes or till a skewer inserted through the centre comes out clean. The top will brown nicely.
  10. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Take it out of the tin (along with the parchment) and cool on a rack for another 10 minutes.
  11. Peel the parchment, slice and serve warm or cool completely on the rack for later (do not chill) .
  12. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

A moist cake with citrusy flavours running through it and a slight bite from the pine nuts is now ready to be enjoyed…and enjoy we did. Bon appetit!!

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Happy cook January 11, 2008 at 2:33 pm

The cake indeed looks moist.
Would be wonderful with a cup of tea


2 Richa January 11, 2008 at 4:30 pm

wow! that is one of my fav food quotes :) in fact i had it put up in my kitchen….lol
cake looks beautiful! enjoy ur wknd!


3 Rachel January 11, 2008 at 5:01 pm

I love the nuts on top..looks so rich..


4 Asha January 11, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Savory corn bread is southern US classic. Cornmeal cake however, ook s fabulous. Love the color in the middle!:)
Just to let you know that I will not be visiting any blogs from today excpt now and then to say hello.I have disabled my comment section of all my posts but I will be posting as usual and I will cook for your events of course.It’s just something I have been meaning to do for a long time, need to make some time myself! With checking comments, replying and visiting 50+ blogs everyday, that’s impossible!:D
Yes, Garlic is in my draft, will post soon!:)


5 Laavanya January 11, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Love the pics Sunita and the slice looks perfect.


6 Dhivya January 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Luv the quote and the cake! I guess its a good thing to have kids around so that one can cook as much as they like! I have this problem cos I have only one to feed and he,poor fellow,cant eat for 5 ( which is the amt i usually end up making! ) haha..wonderful cake..will give it a try suni


7 sunita January 11, 2008 at 7:47 pm

happycook, thanks…we did love it :-)


8 sunita January 11, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Richa, isn’t it such a nice quote :-D
You have a great weekend too :-)


9 sunita January 11, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Laavanya, thanks…have a nice weekend :-)


10 sunita January 11, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Asha, thanks…and enjoy your time off…looking forward to your entry though :-)


11 sunita January 11, 2008 at 7:51 pm

rachel, thanks…it did give a nice bite to the cake :-)


12 sunita January 11, 2008 at 7:53 pm

dhivya, :-D D…I hope your man has a good appetite :-D


13 evolvingtastes January 11, 2008 at 7:55 pm

The flavors sounds so good together! Extra virgin olive oil, yes?


14 Lisa January 11, 2008 at 9:54 pm

What a gorgeous cake! Cornmeal is one of my very favorite foods. I really like the addition of pine nuts.


15 Rajitha January 11, 2008 at 11:15 pm

drool drool drool..the pics are fabulous!!


16 musical January 12, 2008 at 3:06 am

Beautiful cake, Sunita! Worth all the smiles and much more! Your pictures are lovely as ever! Have a lovely weekend.



17 DEEPA January 12, 2008 at 3:18 am

wow!!!nuts on the top look very rich ….cake is awesome


18 Archana January 12, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Corn meal is also called polenta if i am not mistaken. I finally found cornmeal in a store which has increased its imported varity In bangalore. I was going to bake a pie, now instead, i will try a cup cake with your recipe. As my son wanted to have a cup cake :)
Thanks for the reoipe, you will hear from me very soon about the results.


19 Namratha January 12, 2008 at 6:55 pm

The thought of the citrus flavours in there has me drooling now, love it!!


20 sunita January 12, 2008 at 8:35 pm

evolving tastes, yes, you’re right…hope you’re enjoying your weekend.


21 sunita January 12, 2008 at 8:36 pm

lisa, thanks…the pine nuts did enhance the taste of the cake :-)


22 sunita January 12, 2008 at 8:38 pm

rajitha, thanks…we did like the cake too :-)


23 sunita January 12, 2008 at 8:41 pm

musical, thanks dear…hope you’re enjoying your weekend as well :-)


24 sunita January 12, 2008 at 8:43 pm

deepa, thanks…glad you dropped by :-)


25 sunita January 12, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Archana, it’s the same…do try the cake and let me know how it fared.


26 sunita January 12, 2008 at 9:01 pm

namratha, thanks…we did love it a lot :-)


27 Sig January 13, 2008 at 5:24 am

Throw modesty out of the window!! if you create something so wonderful, gloat as much as you want.. :)
It looks sooo delicious, I would love to have a slice now!


28 sunita January 13, 2008 at 11:58 am

sig, thanks…I guess there’s no harm in feeling nice about a job well done :-)


29 Cynthia January 13, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Oh gosh, hon, send me a piece please :) I really need to move to your neck of the woods.


30 Passionate Eater January 14, 2008 at 4:42 am

And I am smiling too, and I didn’t even cook anything! Don’t be modest, that looks fantastic Sunita! You have every right to be proud.


31 Nags January 14, 2008 at 5:01 am

that looks heavy and moist, just the way i like cakes. and i also prefer the non-frosted ones.


32 RAKS KITCHEN January 14, 2008 at 9:02 am

Your new header looks nice and lovely cake,pictured perfect!!


33 sunita January 14, 2008 at 9:22 am

cynthia, come over..will hand you the whole cake :-D


34 sunita January 14, 2008 at 9:23 am

passionate eater,thanks..well, we did love it a lot :-)


35 sunita January 14, 2008 at 9:25 am

nags, thanks…Dinesh also prefers the non frosted ones…this cake was really moist and flavourful.


36 sunita January 14, 2008 at 9:26 am

raks kitchen, thanks…hope you had a good weekend :-)


37 The Cooking Ninja January 14, 2008 at 1:13 pm

This cake looks delicious and gorgeous. :)


38 Mike of Mike's Table January 14, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Looks awesome. I like the use of orange water…which reminds me that I have a small bottle of rose water that hardly gets enough use…


39 sunita January 15, 2008 at 10:41 am

the cookingninja, thanks…we did love the citrusy flavours.


40 sunita January 15, 2008 at 10:42 am

mike,thanks…and the rose water should add a nice flavour too.


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