Vibrant Lemon Polenta Cake is a delicious, elegant, gluten-free dessert. Simple and refined, the perfect way to end a meal. If you have never tried a polenta cake recipe, this is a great place to start. Made with cornmeal (also known as polenta), almond flour and topped with a sweet and tart lemon syrup.
I love lemon desserts, especially lemon curd. Tangy with a bit of sweetness. Perfect for pies, tarts, muffins, and parfaits. This Lemon Polenta Cake is so moist and flavourful, and you will never believe how easy it is to make.
Cornmeal was something I have loved since childhood. I would often just boil some up and eat it with sour cream. I know that may sound weird, but perhaps that is the Ukrainian in me. With all the cornmeal I had as a child, my mom never made polenta cake.
Today I find more creative ways to use cornmeal, and this Vibrant Lemon Polenta Cake has got to be our favourite so far. I really was impressed with this baked polenta dessert. Both my husband and I rate lemon meringue pie at the top of our dessert list. Since making this cake, it seems like this is a very, very close second.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON POLENTA CAKE
I get a lot of inspiration from celebrity chefs. Watching them on cooking shows, collecting their cookbooks and following them on social media. Nigella Lawson is a fun person to watch in the kitchen. Her lemon cake sounded so good I just had to give it a try. I mean how can you NOT want to try her delicious recipes?
I was so impressed with how easy it was to make this Italian polenta cake recipe. A great dessert to have in my repertoire for when my gluten-free friends come over for dinner. Simple and elegant, this is the perfect way to end a great meal.
- Heat the oven and prepare a *springform baking pan.
- Juice the lemons using a *citrus reamer.
- Zest the lemons with a *microplane.
- Combine the almonds, cornmeal and baking powder.
- Combine the butter and sugar.
- Alternate the dry mixture with the wet mixture, adding in the eggs as you go.
- Top warm cake with lemon syrup.
This polenta cake recipe, you will notice it calls for caster sugar. In North America, we don’t have caster sugar, but what we do have is superfine sugar. If you have ever bought this before, you know how expensive it is for a small amount. Did you know you can make it at home? Yup, all you have to do is put regular granulated white sugar into your blender and turn it into caster sugar. So much cheaper than paying the high prices at the store for this baking ingredient.
You can also do the same process for the ground almonds. Your blender is so useful when it comes to ingredients like this. Of course, if you don’t have a blender, you can buy ground almonds and superfine sugar at any grocery store or Bulk Barn if you have one near you.
The hardest part of the incredible polenta cake is WAITING TO EAT IT!
Once cooled, remove the cake from the pan. Slice and enjoy. I added some icing sugar and sliced strawberries as a garnish, but honestly, this cake works perfectly as a stand-alone dessert.
WHAT IS POLENTA?
There can be some confusion on what POLENTA actually is. I grew up only knowing CORNMEAL. In the south GRITS is very common. Complicate things by adding COARSE, MEDIUM and FINE grind to the mix.
This great article by epicurious explains things very nicely. Did you know polenta is actually an Italian “dish” that sort of resembles porridge? Wow, so my childhood memories of boiled cornmeal were on track!!
If you are looking for an elegant yet easy dessert, this Vibrant Lemon Polenta Cake has to be a must try on your list. Impress your guests, they never need to know how easy this dessert is to make. Your guests just might be surprised you can use polenta in sweet recipes too.
Do YOU have a FAVOURITE polenta recipe?
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Vibrant Lemon Polenta Cake
For the Cake:
- 1 cup butter (softened)
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1 3/4 cups ground almonds
- 3/4 cup fine cornmeal polenta
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
For the Syrup:
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Line base of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease sides with butter.
- Combine almonds, cornmeal and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl beat butter and superfine sugar until pale (I used a hand mixer).
- To the butter/sugar mixture add some of the almond/cornmeal mixture, followed by 1 egg, and continue to beat.
- Alternately add the almond/cornmeal mixture followed by an egg until it is all incorporated, beating the whole time.
- Beat in the lemon zest.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
- Test using a cake tester, the cake will be done, but might seem a bit "wobbly", the cake should be shrinking away from the side of the pan.
- Remove and set on a wire rack (leave the cake in the pan).
- Make your simple syrup by combining the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and cook until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester.
- Pour the warm syrup over the cake.
- Let cool completely before removing from tin.
- Slice, and if desired garnish with powdered icing sugar and berries.