Half of the fun in cooking is trying new things. Why cook the same stuff over and over when there's a new dish, a new potential family fave, hiding just around the corner?
In that spirit, I found some ideas online for this gorgeous cake. Of course I've added my own spin to the idea! We love it because it's also gluten free and stays moist for days on end.
Polenta and saffron are the kinds of things I've bought from time to time, to use in more traditional ways. The polenta in Italian insprired dishes, and the Saffron in rice dishes and the like. So, I don't need to tell you, like most Good Simple Savers, I have a stash of these things.
What inspired this particular cake was the bag of limes I bought at my local fruit market for just $3. $3 for a whole bag of limes....who knew!
This has a few steps which I know SSers don't always like, but honestly this is worth it.
So first you have to candy the lime slices.
You need about 4-5 limes for this.
Scrub the limes well in warm water to remove any grime or pesticide.
Slice them as thinly as possible, and immerse them in about 2 cups of water. Bring the water to the boil and simmer the lime slices for about 15 minutes to soften them. Drain them well. Return to the pan with 2 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Return them to the boil, and simmer them for about 8-10 minutes until the syrup thickens. Allow them to cool in the syrup.
For the cake:
I have tried a few different recipes and really the one Nigella Lawson uses is the nicest. I've modified her recipe to suit us.
A pinch of saffron threads, steeped for at least 30 minutes, in enough hot water to cover the bottom of a teacup, then mashed to form a runny paste
1 cup sugar (she uses caster sugar, but I don't find it makes much difference)
2 cups almond meal (ground almonds...I make my own in my little tiny food processor....much cheaper)
3/4 cup Polenta
2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Line a spring form pan with baking paper, and spray the sides liberally with cooking spray.
Lift the lime slices out of the syrup, and arrange them prettily on the base of the pan. Reserve the syrup for later. It's going to be poured over the cake.
Combine the almond meal, polenta and baking powder together in a small bowl, and set aside
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale.
Add one third of the almond meal-polenta mixture and beat well. Add one egg, and beat well. Repeat with the remaining dry mixture and eggs, alternating each time.
Add the saffron paste and combine well.
Pour the batter into the cake tin, over the lime slices, being careful not to disturb the lime slices if you can.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the cake has begun to shrink away from the sides of the pan.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the tin.
While the cake is still warm, but not hot, very carefully remove the spring form sides and place a plate on top of the cake, inverting it so the lime slices are now face up. Peel the baking paper away carefully to reveal the lime slices, now in the top of the cake.
Carefully and slowly, pour the reserved syrup over the surface of the cake, allowing the syrup to be absorbed before adding more.
Serve immediately or refrigerate to store. This lasts up to a week (hahaha!) and stays beautifully moist.