Baking: Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake

A variation on the theme of the flourless almond citrus cake, which is my all-time favourite to bake and eat. Here, the freshness of the lemon offsets the rich almond crumb, while both polenta and poppy seeds provide crunch and character. A cake for all seasons and all occasions.

1 small unwaxed lemon
3 medium eggs
180 g caster sugar
125 g finely-ground polenta
250 g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
50 g poppy seeds
90 g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
50 g full-fat Greek yoghurt

Wash the lemon thoroughly. Place it in a saucepan, cover with cold water and set it over a medium heat. Simmer until tender all the way through, ensuring that the fruit bobs in plenty of liquid at all times (add more if needed). Drain the lemon, cut it open and discard the seeds. Blend both flesh and skin until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 24-cm springform cake tin.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar until airy and pale yellow. Add the lemon purée and fold it through. In a separate bowl, combine the polenta, ground almonds, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds. Add the butter and work it into the dry mix until completely broken through. Finally, add the egg mixture and the yoghurt and stir until you have a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the greased cake tin; even out the surface. Bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre has nothing more than moist crumbs attached to it. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, then run a knife along the edges, free it from the springform, and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.