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My Essentially Fragrant Lemon Polenta Cake

September 11, 2015

lemon polenta

A friend recently introduced me to dôTerra essential oils. I have used essential oils before in my cooking and love the intense flavour that they impart. But there are essential oils and essential oils and then there are fragrant oils.

Fragrant oils are based on artificial chemical perfumes that smell like their counterpart but are not real. Most ‘essential’ oils that you will see in gift shops consist of these. You may also find some that are labelled 100% pure essential oil, but be wary of these too. Cheaper brands will be diluted with carrier oils and have utilised solvent extraction methods, which although technically pure, their therapeutic value will have been undermined.

The oils that I have cooked with in the past were guaranteed to me to be pure and extracted by distillation only. But they were not allowed to be labelled as food grade as they had not been certified by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (which is an expensive and lengthy process). Make sure the ones you use are.

Now, I am not an aromatherapist but I do recognise aromatherapy as a legitimate complementary therapy. Aromatherapists, who have to complete a year of study (often in conjunction with another modality), utilise blends of therapeutic essential oils that can be issued through topical application, inhalation or ingestion to stimulate a desired response. Two basic mechanisms are utilised: One is the influence of aroma on the brain, through the limbic system via the olfactory system and the other is the direct pharmacological effects of the essential oils.

My interest is more about taste, and how aroma affects taste! So, I have been doing lots of experimenting!! At a recent morning tea, I put my experiments to the test with my panel of friends (guinea pigs)!

This recipe was the winner of the day. I used a combination of orange oil and lemon oil which really sung out and lifted the cake from delicious to sublime. As some citrus oils are volatile, it’s best to add them when the syrup is not too hot or they will dissipate and lose their aroma. Wait at least 10 minutes and then add them to the syrup – you will need less this way.

This cake is based on a traditional polenta syrup cake, which I often find too grainy on the bite. I like to mill the polenta first for a much lighter smoother consistency.  I have used brown rice syrup rather than sugar which is softer in flavour – and less sweet – you could substitute maple or mild honey if you prefer.

The secret to a good syrup cake is getting a good absorption. This is achieved by adding the hot syrup to a cold cake, or in this case; adding the cold syrup to a hot cake. Always make sure one is cold and the other hot, then you will always get a good soak!

lemondoterra80g fresh lemon juice (about 3 medium lemons)

100g brown rice syrup

20g sugar (optional)

4 drops of lemon oil

4 drops of wild orange oil

100g dry polenta

200g ground almonds

160g light coconut sugar ( I used half Natvia)

rind of 2 lemons

140g butter (or macadamia oil, for dairy-free)

2 teas baking powder

4 eggs

First make the syrup:

Cook the lemon juice, sugar and syrup for 3 minutes on SP 3 at 100°C.  Set aside to cool, stirring through the oils after about 10 minutes. They will evaporate off if added when the syrup is too hot.

Wash and dry the TM bowl.

Mill the polenta on SP 10 for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and lemon rind and mill for another 20 seconds on SP 10.

Add the butter, almond meal, baking powder and eggs and blend on SP 6 for about 15 seconds until light & creamy.

Pour into a 20 – 22cm lined & greased spring-form pan and bake for 35 minutes at 170°C.

Remove from the oven and prick all over with a skewer and then pour the syrup over the top. Leave in the pan to absorb the syrup and cool. Serve with yoghurt or cream.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2015 4:17 pm

    I can certainly vouch for the taste, texture and flavour of this cake. It is magnificent Sarah. Great photo too, by the way. 😄

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