Lavender Lemon Polenta Cake in a Skillet

With Coconut Cream Cheese and Fresh Fruit

In the past few days, I have spent a lot of time with myself, as I know most everyone has. It was scary at first—questions, loneliness, the looming unknown. We humans need one another in times like these, but of course…six feet apart. That hurts. And in the loneliness, we sink into ourselves, hide away in our comforts, and there we begin to grow…

In the quiet, my soul began to blossom. I was hurting, and I mended myself with baking, running, reading, writing. Through that, I watered my soul, and it grew stronger and bloomed.

That is where this recipe comes in. I had an idea drifting in my head, but it needed substance; so I reached deep, deep down into my soul and put it together from all the scraps that make up the patchwork quilt of who I am. I reached past pine trees and mist. I pushed aside loaves of sourdough and sunshine on wildflowers, picking up a few sprigs of lavender, and brushed over strawberries and summer storms. I shifted through steaming mugs of tea, moss, and the sound of streams, and took a cast iron skillet and a mason jar of golden honey (and I suppose something resembling cornbread must have been thrown in as well—if done well, cornbread is magic.) Then I had what I needed to make a cake out of pieces of myself.

Here in the mountains, it’s hard to lean out your balcony and sing with your neighbors—but I can give a cake recipe! If you have no one to hug during these long, wearisome days, take this cake: a bit of me that I give to you. It will be okay. Be patient with yourself as you grow. Be gentle, and remember that we are not alone. Fortunately, human love can travel much further than six feet.

Enjoy

Note: based on a recipe by Family Style Food

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup (165 g) coarse grind polenta
  • 3/4 cup (105 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) yogurt or sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh

Lavender Honey

  • 1/2 cup (170 g) honey
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) water
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds

Coconut Cream Cheese

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 can coconut cream (you will likely have leftovers)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch skillet with parchment paper and grease the sides well
  2. In a small bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt
  3. In a stand mixer, mix eggs, egg whites, and sugar on medium-high for 4-5 min until light and smooth. On slow speed, mix in butter, olive oil, yogurt or sour cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice
  4. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined
  5. Pour batter into skillet and bake 35-40 minutes until top is set and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
  6. Let cake cool in skillet for at least 10 minutes then invert it into a cooling rack to finish
  7. Make syrup: in a small saucepan, heat water, honey, and lavender over medium-low heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit until cool
  8. Make coconut cream cheese: using a hand mixer on high speed, whip cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 2 tablespoons coconut cream until combined. Add coconut cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until cream reaches your desired consistency and flavor (I made mine like sour cream)
  9. Once the cake has cooled completely, turn it over (or to the side that was facing down in the skillet) and drizzle the syrup slowly, pouring about 1/4 of it on about every minute or so to give it time to soak in (you can flip it over and pour a bit on the top, but it won’t sink in as well since it’s kind of crispy)
  10. When finished, serve with coconut whipped cream and fresh fruit

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