(lemons and the massive cake resting in the afternoon sunshine)
(mr fox in the garden)
There is a visitor in Rosy's North London garden who visits every other day as the sun sets. He has fuzzy ears, a bushy tail, a delicate demeanor and a sly grin. He is the cutest red fox and he is endlessly entertaining and amazing to watch, awaiting his dinner. In between fox viewings, we made a cake which seemed quite large, but in fact grew to behemoth proportions. It's daunting to even think about it, even after having a healthy slice -- it's as if it replenishes itself on the counter, perhaps related to a starfish? growing another slice after losing one?
According to Rosy, this is more of a 'pudding' than a cake, whatever you call it, it sure is a delicious beast. Corny and bright with lemon and apple, it would be great to bring to a really big party. I'd recommend breaking up the mass of batter into at least three circular tins, not filling them too high because it's quite dense and needs a crusty top to offset the wet, rich texture. all that said, dive right in to the pudding and if you're lucky, look out for a fox in your backyard.
Lemon Apple Polenta Cake,
adapted from England's former top chef Thomasina Mier (original recipe here)
3 c butter, preferably unsalted, softened
1 c sugar
6 Cox's Orange Pippin, Blenheim Orange or other sweet dessert apple
4 unwaxed lemons, zested and juiced
1 c honey
3 1/4 c ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla
1 c fine polenta
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350°C. Butter a 24cm cake tin and dust it with flour. Beat butter and sugar with an electric beater for 5-10 minutes until soft, white and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure they are fully incorporated each time. Core the apples and cut into thin slices (2-3mm). Turn them into the lemon juice and zest and then into the honey. Fold them and the rest of the ingredients into the cake mixture and pour into a buttered cake tin.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour and 45-50 minutes.
Turn out onto a wire rack when the cake has cooled a bit.