Friday, September 21, 2012
Gluten free polenta cake for potluck
Gluten free baking is something I've been meaning to try for ages. Unfamiliar cooking styles like this can seem rather daunting at first and failures in the kitchen are never fun which is probably why I had put it off for so long. A vegan, gluten free potluck to celebrate the 3rd birthday of Planet VeGMeL was exactly the motivation I needed to delve into the world of gluten free baking (Planet VeGMeL is a site containing an aggregated feed of 57 Melbourne based veg*n bloggers which my blog has proudly been a part of since it's inception).
Last year I mistakenly included miso in what I thought were going to be gluten free tofu quiches for the potluck so I was extra careful to check every single ingredient that went into this cake. I was also mindful to ensure my cake tin was free of traces of crumbs from previous baking. Bryanna Clark Grogan's semolina cake has been enjoyed by us a few times now so I decided to attempt a gluten free version of this for the potluck.
After spending time looking up substitutes on gluten free baking sites, fine polenta appeared to be the best replacement for semolina. There were many options as a cake/pastry flour alternative and as I had an unopened packet of a gluten free flour mix in the pantry I decided to give this a shot. This cake took 5 minutes longer to bake than the semolina version and came out with a few cracks on top which wasn't necessarily a bad thing as it provided extra areas for the syrup to drizzle into.
As a initial gluten free baking experience it wasn't a bad effort yet I wasn't entirely impressed as I preferred the original version so much more. Having said that, I'm not the biggest fan of polenta and didn't really appreciate the texture. Regardless of how I felt about the cake, it was lovely to catch up with other bloggers again and share some delicious food. If you haven't done so already, check out the fantastic zine which a few bloggers contributed to and Danni did a wonderful job of editing. Happy birthday Planet VeGMeL and here's to many more!
Gluten free polenta cake with lemon syrup (Adapted from World Vegan Feast)
¾ cup raw sugar
¾ cup water
grated zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1½ cups fine polenta
½ cup gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon turmeric
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups raw sugar
1 cup soy milk
zest of 1 lemon
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup pistachios, chopped roughly
Place the sugar, water and lemon zest in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir through the lemon juice thoroughly, then pour the contents into a jug and refrigerate until required.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper and grease lightly with dairy free margarine or spray lightly with olive oil. Combine the gluten free flour, polenta, turmeric, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. With a hand held mixer, beat together the soy milk, sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add the dry ingredients as well as the oil and beat at medium speed for 5 minutes. Pour the batter into the cake tin and sprinkle the chopped pistachios on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then remove carefully from the tin. Using a bamboo skewer, pierce small holes all over the top of the cake then pour approximately half of the cooled lemon syrup on top. The remainder of the syrup can be refrigerated in a sealed container for later use.