Lemon Polenta Cake

Polenta is made from dried corn and is a common staple in Northern Italy where it is served as an alternative to rice or potatoes. Used in cakes, it creates a wonderful dense texture and is perfect for people on a wheat-free diet. This makes quite a large cake which keeps beautifully for several days. I like to serve it warm with ice-cream as a dessert. 


450g butter, softened
450g sugar
6 large eggs
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
450g ground almonds
300g instant yellow polenta
2 teaspoons baking powder
Icing sugar, to serve
Mascarpone, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 26cm non-stick springform tin. 

2. Using electric beaters, beat the butter, sugar and zests of lemon and orange together until thick and pale. With the motor running, add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. 

3. Fold in the lemon juice, orange juice, vanilla extract, ground almonds, polenta and baking powder. Mix thoroughly so all the ingredients are combined. 

4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, tapping gently to make sure there are no air bubbles. 

5. Bake for 40 minutes, then reduce the heat to 150°C and bake for a further 20–30 minutes. If necessary, cover the cake with foil if it is beginning to brown too quickly.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. When cold, remove from the tin.

7. To serve, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of mascarpone mixed with some lemon zest or lemon gelato.


To make baby polenta cakes, halve the recipe and bake in lined muffin cups for 25 minutes, then 15 minutes at the reduced temperature.

Recipe and image from Bake Your Cake & Eat it Too (New Holland Publishers), RRP $29.99, newhollandpublishers.com.