Lemon Polenta Cake

This Lemon Polenta Cake is a very delicious cake with a morish kind of texture. It is tender and moist but all at the same time slightly crumbly - you just keep going back for more. It’ sweet with just the right amount of lemon flavour. Its simple to make and naturally gluten free - and can be served with or without the lemony glaze, or serve this cake with dollops of whipped cream or crème fraiche, yogurt or even lemon ice cream and top with chopped pistachios for a little crunch - so many options or have it plain with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Lemon Polenta Cake

What is polenta cake?

Polenta is Polenta cake is an Italian sweet cake that is made from fine cornmeal and almond flour and classically served with powdered sugar or a lemon glaze. It’s a very simple cake to make with loads of moist texture in each bite - you wont able to get enough. It a rustic Italian style lemon cake with simple instructions and the flavor is lemony and with just enough sweetness

Lemon Polenta Cake

Lemon Polenta Cake Ingredients

  • Lemons: you will need lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice for this recipe - from 1 lemon
  • Polenta: the polenta is the bright yellow coarse grain not ready rolled prepared polenta which is not suitable for this cake
  • Sugar: you will need granulated sugar for the cake and powdered sugar for the glaze if making
  • Eggs: you will need three eggs and at room temperature so that they blend into batter well
  • Almond Flour: often called almond meal
  • Butter: unsalted butter is what I use and softened or you can make with vegetable oil like olive oil too. To make this cake dairy-free, substitute butter with 2/3 cup vegetable oil like canola or olive oil
  • Baking powder & Salt: For leaving and flavour (for a true gluten free version make sure your baking powder is gluten free)
  • Vanilla Extract & Lemon Extract: always use pure extracts for best flavor - the lemon extract is optional as I realize not everyone has it stocked in their pantry so feel free to replace that with more vanilla extract

Lemon Polenta Cake

How To Make Lemon Polenta Cake

  1. WHISK together dry ingredients: polenta, almond flour, baking powder and salt
  2. CREAM butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl with electric mixer or with stand mixer
  3. MIX in the eggs one at a time followed but the extracts, then the lemon juice and lemon zest until well combined
  4. GRADUALLY add and mix in the dry ingredients
  5. TRANSFER batter to prepared pan
  6. BAKE until deeply golden and tester comes out clean
  7. COOL in pan 30 min then remove springform collar and allow cake to cool completely
  8. SERVE with lemon glaze or a dusting of powdered sugar and enjoy

Lemon Polenta Cake

Storage & Freezing

  • STORAGE /MAKE AHEAD: The cake can be baked up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in a cool place. Will keep for a total of 5-6 days.
  • FREEZING: The cake can be frozen on its lining paper as soon as cooled, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil, for up to 1 month. Defrost for 3-4 hours at room temperature or in the fridge overnight. Individually wrapped slices can also be frozen for the same amount of time. Serve the cake room temperature or cold or for an even more delicious treat, heat the cake in the microwave and serve with ice cream. The combination of hot polenta cake with ice cream melting over it is heavenly!

Lemon Polenta Cake

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Yields: one 8 or 9-inch cake pan
Servings: 10-12
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 60-70 mins


For the Cake

  • 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, softened (or 2/3 cup of oil)
  • ¾(200g) cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 medium size lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (200g) almond flour/ ground almonds
  • 1 cup (125)g polenta (not instant polenta)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract (or another ¼ tsp vanilla extract)

For The Lemon Glaze (optional)

  • 1¾ cup powdered sugar
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons (depending on how thick you want your glaze - start with two tablespoons and work yourself up if needed)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease and line an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper. (you can use a 9 inch pan if that is all you have)
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the polenta, almond flour, baking powder and salt togther to combine well
  3. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy 2-3 min with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Then beat in the vanilla extract and lemon extract if using. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and beat until incorporated
  5. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients- polenta and the ground almonds mixture together until incorporated
  6. Transfer the thick batter into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon
  7. Bake for 60-70 minutes until top of the cake is deeply golden and a skewer/cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. (baking times will be a little shorter if using a 9 inch baking pan)
  8. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes on cooling rack then run a knife around the edge of the cake in pan to loosen and release springform and cool cake completely on a wire rack.

Recipe Notes

  • MAKE AHEAD: The cake can be baked up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in a cool place. Will keep for a total of 5-6 days.
  • FREEZING: The cake can be frozen on its lining paper as soon as cooled, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil, for up to 1 month. Defrost for 3-4 hours at room temperature.
  • I recommend making this cake in springform cake tin for easier removal.
  • Beat the sugar with the butter, salt and lemon zest. Add one egg at a time while continuing to whisk. Finish the eggs, add the corn flour with the almond flour, alternating with the lemon juice. Gently mix with a spatula. Add the baking powder. Grease a 8.6 inch (22 cm) baking tray and pour the mixture. Bake at 338°F (170°C) for about 50 minutes. Test the toothpick and if necessary continue for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before unmolding. Sprinkle with icing sugar only when the cake is cold.

Lemon Polenta Cake