“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-
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
- Pre heat the oven at 160 deg C and grease and line the bottom and sides of a baking tin with parchment.
- In a bowl, place the eggs, olive oil, salt, sugar, zests and juices and whisk till smooth.
- In another bowl, seive together the cornmeal and baking powder and mix in the ground pine nuts.
- Fold in the orange flower water into the egg mixture.
- Pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture all at once, and fold in. Do not over mix.
- 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.
- Place the tin at the top of the pre heated oven and bake for 2-3 minutes.
- Take out the tin and sprinkle the whole nuts on the top.
- 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.
- 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.
- Peel the parchment, slice and serve warm or cool completely on the rack for later (do not chill) .
- 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!!