Lemon, Cardamom and Buckwheat Polenta Cake

Yeah, that's a mouthful I know but they are all crucial ingredients so I couldn't really miss them out the title. February is an amazing time to be a citrus lover. You wouldn't think it would you? I'm not a fan of February, it's still dark, still wet and still depressing but it's the best time for lemons and limes so have no fear because it's not all doom and gloom. Plus after February comes March, and March is much more hopeful. 

Monday was a hard day. I promise I won't only write about the hard days but it's therapeutic to moan so just bear with me for a paragraph or two. We've had a few problems with breastfeeding so Matilda has been topped up with formula in the day. I had 10 mini bottles of ready made formula delivered in the shopping on Thursday - because I hate waiting forever for water to cool to make the powdered stuff. Since then Matilda decided she hated the formula and every feed was a battle. This morning she screamed bloody murder - at the same time Evie decided to climb the bookcase and send a photoframe smashing to the floor - and I felt like such a failure. 

It never occurred to me that something would be up with the formula and I kept worrying something was wrong with Matilda, but when a friend called round in the afternoon she said the milk was a funny colour and it smelt off. She was right. All the bottles had the same batch number so they must have all been off because when I gave Matilda the powdered stuff she guzzled it down. At least she is ok but I hate that I spent 4 days forcing her to drink milk that tasted horrible. Like I've said before, motherhood makes me question everything I do so I hate that even formula made me feel like I was doing a bad job. As a result, I had cake for lunch because my brain just couldn't handle anything else. 

I decided to experiment with buckwheat flour after reading Kathryn's blog London Bakes. She makes great use of unusual flours and I was feeling inspired. I really loved the flavour and texture of the cake so I plan to experiment more with buckwheat. This recipe is based off Nigella's lemon polenta cake but is very different from the original. It's much more like a pound cake and has a wonderful texture. 

I decided to forgo the lemon syrup in favour of a much simpler cake, however if you felt like you wanted lemon syrup on yours it would work just as well. Cardamom is lemon's friend. I didn't realise how well the two would go, which makes me feel like abit of a flavour dunce but they go so well together. I served mine up with mascarpone cheese on the side, the creaminess of the cheese was lovely with the lemon and cardamom. 

Lemon, Cardamom and Buckwheat Polenta Cake
(adapted from Nigella Lawson)

200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
200g buckwheat flour
100g polenta/fine cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
zest of 2 lemons

mascarpone, to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. Mix the flour, polenta and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add a third of the flour mix and combine, followed by one egg, then add another third of the flour mix, alternating with the eggs until it's all combined.
  4. Finally mix in the zest.
  5. Spoon the thick batter into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 55 minutes. Cover with tin foil after 40 minutes to stop it catching in the oven.
  6. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before turning out, serve warm or cold with a big dollop of creamy mascarpone.