Cuisine Fiend

lemon polenta cake


Lemon polenta cake

I can easily resist chocolate. I’ve said here several times that chocolate doesn’t do that much for me. Admittedly, it doesn’t mean I don’t EAT it, I’ve been known to devour a bar or two especially in times of stress. (Usually followed by a bag of savoury nuts, followed by another chocolate bar – you need to alternate those tastes, sweet and savoury, don’t you?)

Cakes and cakey things like sweet tea breads are another story. They require of me tremendous willpower and I promise it’s not easy when there’s always cake of some description in the house. But in times of need (and honestly, it should always be times of need with me) I do succeed and have my cake by proxy – watch The Weather Man as he eats, asking every few seconds if it’s nice.

This little number here is nigh on impossible to resist.

It’s very lemony, which is always a good thing. It’s moist and not too sweet. And it’s wonderfully crunchy on the bite thanks to the polenta which in my view should mainly be used in cakes, not presented as a side gloop with your chicken Milanese.

Okay – it’s also gluten free and while that’s incidental in my books, it could be a top asset in others’.

lemon polenta cake

Servings: 10-12Time: about an hour and a half


  • 225g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 125g medium polenta (not the instant type)
  • 1tsp baking powder


1. Beat the butter until fluffy with an electric hand-held mixer or in the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat it in well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating continuously. The mixture will curdle horribly at this point – in fact it will resemble scrambled eggs gone horribly wrong – but ignore it, the cake will come out fine nevertheless.

2. Add the lemon zest and juice, then beat in the polenta and the ground almonds, mixed together with the baking powder.

3. Transfer the mix into a 20cm tin, buttered and lined with baking parchment. Smooth the surface with a spatula.

4. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Lemon polenta and almond cake

5. Cool in the tin for half an hour, remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar if you like.

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