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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Polenta substitute for cake

    At Christmas time, Nigella's programme showed a delicious lemon drizzle cake made with Polenta. I followed the recipe and the cake turned out well, however, I hated the "gritty" feel of the polenta. Could you suggest a substitute - would ground almonds do instead? I hope you can help because the consistency of the cake was delicious and I'd like to try it again. Regards Lynne B

    From the nigella team:

    Lemon polenta cake is a classic Italian dish and the slightly "gritty" texture is typical of this cake. If you switch out the polenta you will loose the crumbly nature of the cake (which comes from there being no gluten in the cake) and also the gorgeous yellow colour. We would not recommend adding extra almonds as the cake could become too greasy as the almonds will release some oil during cooking.

    Some polenta can be quite coarse so to try and reduce the "gritty feel" you could try using fine ground cornmeal, though it will not be eliminated completely. If you live in the US then fine cornmeal should be fairly easy to find. In the UK some larger supermarkets will stock it (we suggest looking for the Dunn's River brand but check it is the fine cornmeal as they do a coarse one too) or try on line, there is a link below.

    http://www.easycaribbeanshop.com/index.php/dunns-river-fine-cornmeal.html

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