Elder­flower, Lemon & Po­lenta Cake with Pis­ta­chios


This Ital­ian clas­sic is per­fect to make at this time of year. The el­der­flow­ers add a lovely flo­ral con­trast to the ten­der, nutty sponge, while the yo­ghurt-based ic­ing is su­per-sim­ple and de­light­fully creamy. The cake lasts well for a day or two. 250g caster sugar

250g un­salted but­ter, soft­ened

100g ground al­monds

150g pis­ta­chios, roughly chopped

3 large eggs

200g fine po­lenta

1 tea­spoon bak­ing pow­der

2 ta­ble­spoons thick un­sweet­ened Greek-style


1 juicy lemon, juiced 1 lemon, juice and finely grated zest 2-3 ta­ble­spoons liq­uid honey 150ml elder­flower cor­dial 3 ta­ble­spoons ic­ing sugar

200g thick un­sweet­ened Greek-style yo­ghurt 2 ta­ble­spoons Elder­flower Lemon Syrup (see



40g pis­ta­chios, chopped

Ed­i­ble flow­ers, eg el­der­flow­ers or roses

Heat oven to 170°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin.

Us­ing an elec­tric mixer (a stand mixer is best), cream caster sugar and but­ter to­gether un­til pale and fluffy. Add ground al­monds and pis­ta­chios, mix briefly then beat in eggs one at a time, beat­ing well be­tween each ad­di­tion. Add po­lenta, bak­ing pow­der, yo­ghurt and lemon juice and fold to com­bine.

Scrape mix­ture into pre­pared tin and bake 45-50 min­utes or un­til a skewer in­serted in the mid­dle comes out clean.

While cake is cook­ing, make the syrup. Place all the in­gre­di­ents in a small pot and bring to the boil over medium heat. Sim­mer 5 min­utes then take off heat. Set aside 2 ta­ble­spoons syrup for the ic­ing.

Once cake is cooked, take from oven and make a few holes in the top in sev­eral places us­ing a skewer or sharp knife. Pour over re­main­ing lemon syrup. Al­low cake to cool a lit­tle be­fore turn­ing out onto a rack to cool com­pletely.

To make ic­ing, whisk ic­ing sugar and yo­ghurt into re­served syrup. Spread over the cooled cake and top with chopped pis­ta­chios and ed­i­ble flow­ers. Makes a 20cm cake

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