The Borough Belles, Borough Market’s neighbourhood branch of the Women’s Institute, is packed with keen cooks, happy to share their ideas and insights. This month: Amy Cudmore
I’ve been a member of Borough Belles for five years and was their treasurer for three. When I moved to London, I was looking to meet a group of like-minded women, who loved all things crafty and loved to bake.
I discovered that the WI is so much more than that—as well as making some great friends, I’ve learnt so much about the local community and the interesting people who live and work around the area. One of my most memorable meetings this year was a sing-a-long with The Choir With No Name.
I love to bake and when my sister was diagnosed with a variety of food allergies three years ago, it made me begin to see food in a different way. I started to bake using gluten, wheat and dairy-free ingredients, so that she could continue to enjoy eating sweet treats at special occasions. I take inspiration from food writers Harry Eastwood, Green Kitchen Stories and many food bloggers from around the world.
This cake has become my signature bake and is always a big hit at the Borough Belles stall at the Bermondsey Street Fair that we do every September and at the charity I work for, Dementia UK, where I make it for Time for a Cuppa.
For this recipe I’ve used blueberries, but it also works well with any berry that’s in season; cherries in summer and raspberries and blackberries in the autumn.
Amy’s gluten and dairy free lemon, lime and blueberry polenta cake
Preheat oven to 170C. Grease and line a 20cm round cake or 19 x 9 x 6.5cm loaf tin with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream 150g unsalted dairy-free spread and 150g caster sugar until smooth.
Add 150g ground almonds to the mixture and stir until fully combined. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, until fully combined. Add juice and zest of 1 lemon and 1 lime, along with ½ tsp vanilla essence, ½ tsp baking powder and 70g polenta and stir to combine.
Carefully fold in a small handful of blueberries (or berry of your choice) ensuring that they don’t break up in the mixture. Pure the mixture into your cake tin and smooth down the top with a spatula.
Dot the remaining blueberries across the top of the cake and press them in slightly so they are still visible. Bake in the oven for approx 45 mins or until golden brown. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the tin for 10 mins, before carefully placing a wire rack over the top. Quickly turn the cake upside down, removing the cake from the tin.
Remove the baking paper and leave to cool completely. When you are ready to serve, place a plate on the bottom of the cake and upturn so the berries are on the top.