lemon polenta cake {inspired by We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman} (recipe)

Recently I started thinking about the days when I used to bake and blog a couple times a week, being a blogger and somewhat of an influencer before the word influencer was used to describe what I was doing for fun. I miss it, but it is work. Fun work, but work. 

Before the blog post there is the planning/inspiration, the shopping and cost of ingredients, then the baking and the clean up. After that you have the photo taking and editing and the writing... 

Once you get the blog post up it's the self promotion. Have you used the right hashtags? Making sure you post at the right times to try and get the most views. And now so much has changed. I have to make reels or tiktoks? Who reads blogs anymore? 

I loved it as a creative outlet when I was at home with the kids, but now a days life is different. Life is always changing. 

Netgalley gifted me an ecopy of *We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman - it's a devastatingly beautiful and sorrowful story about how one's life changes when your best friend is diagnosed with cancer. 

One of the things that Edi wants is a Sicilian lemon polenta pound cake that she came across once at a bakery and never saw again. So, there is a hunt for the recipe in the book. This is not the above, but it is a damn tasty polenta cake from the gorgeous Nigella. It can be found on her website as well as in her book Kitchen. 

lemon polenta cake: 

200g soft unsalted butter (plus some for greasing)
200g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
100g fine polenta (or cornmeal)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
zest of 2 unwaxed lemons (save juice for syrup)
juice of 2 lemons
125 grams icing sugar

Line the base of a 23cm / 9inch circle or square cake tin (grease sides with butter if needed)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/gas mark 4/ 350°F.
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and soft. 
Mix the dry ingredients together (almonds, polenta, baking powder) and then beat a third of it into the butter mixture, then add one egg and beat until combined, alternate again with another third of the dry ingredients, egg, and then the last of the dry mixture; mixing well between each addition. 
Lastly add the lemon zest and then scrap into your prepared tin, I used a spatula to smooth it into the corners. Pop it into the oven and bake for 40 minutes. 

I left mine in accidentally for a few extra minutes, but when it comes out it make still look a little wobbly, but if the cake tester comes out mostly clean you are good, it also will cave a little in the middle that is normal. Leave to cool in the tin, while making the lemon sugar syrup. 

Which one makes by boiling the lemon juice and icing sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Using the cake test or something similar using anything bigger will be destructive to the cake according to Nigella, pour the warm syrup slowly over the cake, I used a brush to spread it over the top to stop it just pooling in the middle. Leave to cool completely in the tin before taking out and cutting up into 12-16 squares/slices (depending on how you want to distribute it)! Enjoy!

> Will keep for 5-6 days and is suitable for freezing just make sure you wrap it up tight and eat within a month. 

"Everyone dies, and yet it's unendurable. There is so much love inside of us. How do we become worthy of it? And, then, where does it go? A worldwide crescendo of grief, sustained day after day, and only one tiny note of it is mine." - Catherine Newman 

* I really enjoyed this story, the writing style was different, but once adjusted to it was easy to follow. Not sure I particularly liked the characters, but that didn't stop me from relating to what they were going through and it gave me room to question how I would feel or respond in a similar situation. Also appreciated that it didn't cover up the real and horrible sides of watching someone you love die. Out now!

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