gourmet traveller’s almond lemon cake w mulled wine pears (GF)



I have a confession to make…I’m a little bit scared of gluten free baking.

No, that’s not right, I’m a LOT scared of gluten free baking.

See it turns out that baking, apparently, is a science. And I ain’t a science-y kinda gal. I’m the one that forgoed all Science & Math related subjects at school in favour of the much more bullshit friendly English Literature & Drama Studies (odd you may think, for an Asian).

It comes as no surprise then that when it comes to the tedium of weighing out each ingredient to the gram, I’m often caught giving the packet of flour, sugar or in this case polenta, a polite little shake thinking all the while “Yeah, that’s about 25 grams”.

This method is in itself fraught with danger and entirely unrecommended. Translate it to a gluten free situation and you have what I like to refer as my own personal GFC. Though in this case you may replace the words Global and Financial with Gluten and Free.

Yes. The first time I attempted something gluten free, I very foolishly thought “Oh what the hey, I’m sure I can just replace my favourite cake recipe with GF Flour”. Turns out you can’t. You very very much can’t. I pulled out that first offending cake out of the oven only to see the scenes of a Greek Tragedy unfold. In short, it collapsed into itself faster than I could say “What the ___”. My poor cake looked like someone had punched it in its imaginary face.

My second go, I think, turned out a little better. I won’t bother recanting the recipe here but this link should lead you to Gourmet Traveller’s take on the infamous River Cafe’s Lemon Polenta Cake.

I might add that plums are clearly out of season so I made do with some stovetop mulled wine pears. Again this was a bitsa-bitsa (bits of this/bits of that) type operation but in essence, cover some diced pears with red wine & caster sugar. Throw in a cinnamon stick, some star anise & fresh rosemary leaves then leave to simmer for around 45 mins or until the pears are soft. Thicken with some cornflour if you wish.

I served the cake with the pears and some thickened cream (it was for S’s office morning tea – there’s a gluten intolerant member of his work posse). It was an interesting texture; crumbly, almost sandy and very rustic. It’s hard not to imagine yourself with a nice warm cuppa rockin’ on a porch in the countryside surrounded by cats and roses. Though I’m deathly allergic to cats – so really that whole scenario wouldn’t work out for me.

PS – I worried it had gotten a little bit too brown on the outside (ran out of baking paper to cover the top). A quick google soothed my fears though as it turns out most polenta based cakes appear to have that dark brown tinge. Personally I probably think it could have done with about 10 mins less on a lower temp (I was distracted by Matty Prest0n’s plate smashing stunt on Masterchef last night).  It was still incredibly moist inside and I won’t hesistate to make it again (though I may add more lemon juice the next time around, or maybe douse it in a lemon syrup post-mortem).

4 Responses to “gourmet traveller’s almond lemon cake w mulled wine pears (GF)”
  1. Maybe odd for your average Asian, but not one so talented at bullshit as your good self!

    Speaking of bullshit, this looks amazing! Not so sure I believe this whole fear of GF thing you claim to have..

  2. LOL at your own version of a GFC! I have to say that your cheesecake looks mighty fine though! Just hold the cats 😛

  3. jujichews says:

    Gluten free makes me break out in a cold sweat. There’s nothing I love more than some gluten!

    But your cake looks amazing!

    I think I could be convinced to go GF for this!

  4. Conor – Why thank you! BS Artist/Lawyer in Training, indistinguishable really. Oh ad believe me, there’s a fear.

    Lorraine – Thanks! Never thought of it as a cheesecake (silly me), it’s the mother of all hybrids – Almond/Polenta/Ricotta.

    Juji – Me too, life without gluten would be drab indeed. I already have to forgo lactose at the best of times. This may be one of the more failsafe GF cakes around (no mucking about with GF flour etc etc).

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