Lemon marmalade and polenta cake

Lemon marmalade and polenta cake

This recipe comes from Chris Hoffmann of Cafe des Arts in Franschhoek and I tasted it recently at the Leopard’s Leap Culinaria wine launch. Divinely decadent and easy to make, this lemon marmalade polenta cake is a total winner and perfect to serve with tea or as an impressive dessert.

When I got the invitation to attend the launch of this range of wines – which have essentially been made to be eaten with food – I was immediately interested. I love the idea of wine made for food and beautiful food being expertly matched to the wine.

For the launch, they invited 5 top local Franschhoek chefs to create a dish to pair with each of the wines, and one of these was demonstrated by Ryan Smith from Ryans Kitchen , who made his tuna sashimi and horseradish salad with a bubbly vinaigrette. This was paired with the Culinaria Methode Cap Classique and was exquisite.

Leapards Leap Culinaria wine

The grapes for the wines have been specifically sourced from a variety of wine regions, and for the certain characteristics that the terroir of those regions imparts on the wine. It was fascinating to learn that the type of soil in Malmesbury (shale) is ultimately fabulous for a Chenin (as one example), and how the local environment – in general – has an effect on the product.

The Culinaria range of wines – which fall under the Leopard’s Leap Family Vinyeards brand – are only available to buy and taste at Leopard’s Leap. The collection comprises a Chenin Blanc Grenache Blanc blend, Pinot Noir Chardonnay blend, a Shiraz Grenache blend, Grand Vin Bordeaux-style blend, Méthode Cap Classique champagne-style sparkling wine. The range also includes a Muscat de Frontignan natural sweet wine.

Leapards Leap Culinaria wine

The cake paired beautifully with the 2012 Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Pinot Noir Chardonnay.

*If you are in anyway apprehensive about making marmalade and think its too complicated, don’t be. This is terribly easy to do, it just takes a little time for the lemon to boil. The zesty jam, and lemony sauce make this cake quite delectable.

Recipe | Serves 6 – 8

For the lemon marmalade

  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 220 g sugar
  • 375 ml (1½ cup) water

For the cake

  • 200 g soft butter
  • 200 g castor sugar
  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 100 g fine polenta
  • 7,5 ml (1½ tsp) baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • grated zest of 2 lemons

For the syrup

  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 125 g icing sugar
  • double cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 160 °C. Line the bottom and sides of a 23 cm spring form tin with baking paper.

For the glazed lemon topping, place the lemon slices in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and add the sugar and water. Boil for 30 minutes or until a syrupy consistency.

Lift the lemon slices out of the syrup and allow to cool on baking paper.

Reduce the leftover lemon syrup until halved and reserve for later.

For the cake, cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.

Combine the almonds, polenta and baking powder. While whisking, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the eggs.

Whisk in the lemon zest and spoon into the prepared tin. Bake for 40 minutes. The cake may seem unstable, but is ready when a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Place on a wire rack to cool in the tin.

For the syrup, bring the lemon juice and icing sugar to the boil. Prick the top of the cake with a cake tester and pour the warm syrup over the cake. Leave to cool before taking it out of its tin. Serve the cake topped with the glazed lemons, extra lemon syrup and double cream.

Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards is situated on the R45, Main Road, Franschhoek. Tel: +27 (0)21 876 8002

*Disclaimer: I was invited to taste the wines paired with sample dishes, and received a bottle of each of the wines in the range as a gift.

Lemon marmalade and polenta cake

I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.

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  1. hmmm… another hard day at the office! Have just received a huge bag of lemons from my niece in Graaf Reinet so know exactly what to do with them now. Thanks Sam!

  2. Sam

    Enjoy Sue. I want to use this recipe as a base for an orange marmalade, it really came out so well and the jam part set nicely.

  3. Sam

    Thanks Kiran, its time for me to get going with some orange marmalade now x

  4. Sam

    Thanks Laura, I was quite amazed at how easy it was to make and how delicious. Definitely going to b e trying an orange marmalade with the oranges from my tree. x

  5. That cake looks absolutely divine with those glazed lemons tumbled on top. Beautiful styling as always Sam. I just love your work.

  6. Sam, does this cake keep well? I want to make it for lunch on Sunday and we have a power outage that day. So need to bake today or tomorrow. I have a tree full of beautiful lemons, so can’t wait to taste this.

  7. Sam

    Hi Beryl, this cake is so moist it will keep for week. No problem to make it a couple of days in advance.

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