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These cupcakes are full of wonderful Italian flavours. The slightly crunchy texture of polenta, along with the ground almonds and the tangy lemon make these cupcakes delicious. And they’re incredibly quick and easy to make. This recipe is taken from Masterchef finalist Caroline Brewster’s book, Yummy, which gives you wonderful desserts you can make in 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 minutes. These are from the 20 minute chapter, and you really can make these in under 20 minutes – and even do the washing up while you’re waiting for the cakes to bake!

I’ve adapted them slightly, using dairy-free margarine instead of butter, fruit sugar instead of the sugar or icing sugar, and I used less of the syrup topping.

  • 115g/4oz dairy-free margarine
  • 115g/4oz/1/2½cup fruit sugar, plus 4 tbsp for the topping
  • 115g/4oz/heaped 1 cup ground almonds
  • 55g/2oz/⅓ cup quick-cook polenta
  • ½ tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • a large pinch of salt
  • juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  1. P reheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and line a muffin tin with 8 paper cupcake cases. Put the margarine, sugar, ground almonds, polenta, baking powder, vanilla extract, egg, egg yolk and salt in a food processor and blend for 1 minute until combined. Add the lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and pulse 2 or 3 times to mix.
  2. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cupcake cases and bake for 12–14 minutes until the tops are browned and firm. Rotate the tin halfway through baking.
  3. While the cupcakes are baking, put the remaining sugar for the topping in a mini food processor or spice mile and pulse until very fine and resembles icing sugar. Mix with 1 tablespoon of the remaining lemon juice to make a syrup.
  4. Carefully lift the warm cupcakes from the muffin tin, using a palette knife, and peel off the paper cases. Spoon over as much of the syrup as you want and serve.
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