> The Beesley Buzz: Heaven scent polenta cake

Heaven scent polenta cake

This weekend is a special weekend. Solar eclipse, Spring equinox, solar flares....yes all that makes it a special weekend but it is also Iranian New Year which always falls on the first day of Spring. With my Iranian heritage (my late mum was from Iran), I grew up celebrating Iranian New Year each year. It carried the excitement of a second Christmas, with its own traditions, tasty treats and gifts galore but, being in March, it carried with it the promise of better weather rather than a cold and dreary December day. 

Although Iranian cuisine is, in my opinion, one of the best in the world, baking doesn't usually feature heavily in it. So I wanted to take some of that Iranian inspiration and pour it into a cake I've created to celebrate this special weekend. But this is no special occasion cake - once you've tried it, this is a cake you'll want to bake and eat each week! 
Ingredients like saffron, pistachio and cardamom, with their heavenly aromas (if there is a scent in heaven it's bound to be the fragrant smell of cardamom) have led me to name this cake 'heaven scent polenta cake'. It might not be a show stopper of a cake to look at but your kitchen will smell divine and your taste buds will thank you for the treat. 

Although you might think some of these ingredients sound somewhat exotic, you'll be pleased to know that you can get hold of them all at the supermarket. 

Now you might expect a cake like this to be laden with calories (and ordinarily it would). But I've been trying to cut down my calorie intake and so in place of a whopping 180g of sugar, this cake needs a mere 18g of Canderel. 

You can use Canderel in recipes as follows:
In volume terms use 1 tablespoon of Canderel to replace 1 tablespoon of sugar. 
In weight terms divide the sugar quantity by 10 e.g. 100g sugar = 10g of Canderel

So without further ado here's the recipe I've created...

200g ground almonds
100g polenta
Pinch saffron infused in 90ml milk
200g softened unsalted butter
18g Canderel
3 large eggs
1 and a half spoons baking powder
50g pistachios - ground
Ground cardamom (seeds ground from 12-15 cardamom pods)
A few extra pistachios and some edible rose petals to garnish

For the rose water cream:
300ml double cream
2 tsp rose water
2 tsp Candarel 

1. Grease and line a 7 inch springform cake tin.

2. Preheat oven to 160C (fan).

3. Beat butter in a mixer until softened. 

4. Prepare the pistachios by grinding them using the mill attachment of a food processor. 

5. Prepare the ground cardamom by removing the seeds from 12-15 cardamom pods and crushing the seeds with a pestle and mortar. 

6. Prepare the saffron infused milk by crushing a few strands of saffron with a pestle and mortar. Then mix into the milk and gently warm in a pan.

7. Combine dry ingredients (with the exception of the Canderel) in another bowl. So you will have the ground almonds, polenta, ground pistachios, baking powder, and ground cardamom combined.

8. Then alternately add dry ingredients, then an egg, then more dry ingredients until all combined. Pour in the saffron infused milk and mix well. 

9. Finally, having saved the best until last as they say, add in the Canderel and mix. The mixture will look quite thick.

10. Place your tin onto a baking tray, pour in the mixture, and bake for 35-40 minutes in a oven preheated to 160c until cooked through. 

11. To make the rose water cream, whisk the double cream until thickened. Add a tablespoon of rose water and a tablespoon of Canderel and whisk until combined. 

12. Serve slices of your heaven scent polenta cake with the rose water cream and garnished with pistachio slivers and edible dried rose petals. You can also sprinkle with a light dusting of Canderel just as you would with icing sugar.

This is a great cake recipe to try if you're trying to cut down on those calories or reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. We are generally very good at cooking our savoury meals from scratch to avoid that hidden sugar in jars and sauces but we've struggled to reduce sugar content in baking, which is why I decided to invent a cake recipe using Canderel.

You can find loads more baking and cooking inspiration on the Canderel website with a whole section dedicated to recipes. Thank you to Canderel for sending me a jar to use as part of this recipe along with a voucher to buy the other ingredients I needed.

1 comment:

  1. Save a piece for granny please, if it's not gone already!


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