Lime and polenta cake

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You can tell the state of the economy by the price of a lime, or so the saying goes.  What it’s meant to tell you, I’m not sure, but I can reliably inform you that limes in these here parts cost a small fortune at the moment.

This is why I can never resist the bags of juicy, home-grown limes which perch temptingly by the counter for only five dollars a pop when I visit the lovely Shannons to attend to matters of personal grooming.

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I’m never at a loss for what to do with a lime  and with a whole bag in hand, my thoughts turned to this delicious orange and almond cake that my lovely sister brought along for a lunch visit a few years ago.

Curiously, I learned, the orange is boiled to provide a flavoursome, moist base.  It may feel sacrosanct to boil a precious lime, but with a whole bag, I was feeling reckless.  Having never considered the possibility of boiling fruit for the purposes of cake before, my imagination was on fire.

A little polenta to the recipe, inspired by Nigella’s lemon polenta cake recipe, gives this cake a lovely texture and just the right amount of chew to the crust.  I enjoy the tanginess of the limes, but for the more faint-hearted, include a little extra sugar if you like a touch more sweetness.  And, if you make sure to use gluten-free baking powder, this even ticks the gluten-free box.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 limes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Butter and line a 21cm springform tin.

Put the limes in a saucepan, cover them with cold water and pop them on the stove.  Bring to the boil and boil for an hour.

Drain the limes, watching for your fingers as they will still be a little hot.  Chop the limes into bits and pick out any seeds.  Use a blender or masher to puree the limes, skins and all, until smooth.  Set this aside.

In a largish bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale.

Add the pureed limes, ground almonds, polenta and baking powder to the egg and sugar mixture.  Gently fold in until everything is just combined.

Pour the mix into the prepared cake tin.

Bake in a 180 degrees celsius oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer prodded into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the cake is just beginning to pull away from the sides of the tin.

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Leave the cake in its tin on a baking rack to cool before turning out. I can heartily recommend this cake warm, with a little yoghurt or vanilla ice cream on the side.