A St Clement’s cake is one that includes both oranges and lemons. The name derives from an old English nursery rhyme:Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St Clement’s
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St Martin’s
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney
I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow
Here comes a candle to light you to bed
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
I adapted this from the Polenta, Lemon and Almond Cake in Tamasin’s Weekend Food (a book I keep returning to again and again), which she in turn adapted from a River Café Cook Book recipe. I have never made the original, but needless to say, I feel that my version is superior :). The moist golden crumb is pure sunshine in a spoonful – much needed during these cold months – and simply melts in the mouth; the cake is scrumptious if served whilst still warm with some vanilla ice cream.
St Clement’s Polenta and Almond Cake
340g unsalted butter, softened
170g golden caster sugar
170g icing sugar
340g ground almonds
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
zest of 2 lemons and juice of 1 of them
zest of 2 oranges and juice of 1 of them
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 170ºC. Butter and flour a 23cm springform cake tin.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars using electric beaters until they are light and fluffy. Stir in the ground almonds and vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then fold in the fruit zests and juice, the polenta, baking powder and salt. Spoon into the cake tin and bake for around an hour and a half – keep checking it from 45 minutes and cover with foil if necessary to prevent the top from getting too brown.
This cake looks incredibly plain – don’t be deceived, it tastes amazing!