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Lemon Polenta Cake

by Adrianne

Lemon Polenta Cake is an easy gluten free cake that is zesty and fresh! With a moist and delicious texture this is a favourite from our baking recipes.  Similar to our  Orange Polenta Cake,  with citrus zest! Lemon Polenta Cake with icing sugar on top on a white plate

Baking is my free therapy class! Popular treats like our Anzac Biscuits, Triple Caramel Chocolate BrowniesLion Cake and Cookie Monster Cupcakes are worth taking a look at. For a no fuss dessert, check the No Bake Chocolate Cake. For festive desserts your go to recipes are our Chocolate Ripple WreathChristmas Wreath Pavlova and 8 Egg Pavlova

The combination of sweet tart lemon and the grainy texture of polenta is to die for! 

Satisfy your sweet tooth with these delicious recipes! 

This is the best lemon polenta cake recipe you will come across. Over the years I made many different versions with varying amounts of ingredients, till I refined my recipe to this version. It ticks a lot of boxes and you will LOVE it! 

What is Polenta Cake made from?

Polenta cake is made from a combination of butter, sugar, eggs, almond flour, lemon zest and polenta. 

Polenta itself is made from yellow corn and has various uses in cooking, for both sweet and savoury dishes. 

Is Polenta Gluten Free?

You can get gluten free polenta easily at the shops, if in doubt ensure you purchase it from the health food section and read the packet to find the ‘gluten free’ label. 

Can you use ready made Polenta in cakes?

The type of polenta we use for this recipe is in the dried, uncooked grain and it is bright yellow. 

We add it to the batter of the cake and then cook it in the oven as the cake bakes. 

Ready made polenta is not suitable for this recipe as it is already cooked and sold in block form. 

Can you freeze polenta cake?

One of the great things about this recipe is that you can freeze your polenta cake once it has cooled. Either wrap the whole cake in glad wrap and place in the freezer, or slice the cake and wrap the individual pieces.

When you are ready to serve, simply remove from the oven and let defrost before serving. 


Baking recipes  Chocolate recipes Dessert recipes

Lemon Polenta Cake nut free

This cake is actually very simple! At times making it along the way, you think you need a thick icing or syrup or fluffy stuff on top. 

But, you take a breath and think back to why you wanted to make the cake in the 1st place. You want a simple, (but delicious) recipe that works every time. You want a cake that comes from the heart and puts friendship on the plate. 

No nuts, no icing, no funny business, keep it simple and let the citrus do the talking. 

Can I substitute polenta for ground almonds?

You can switch out polenta for ground almonds in general when cooking. However, this cake uses a combination of polenta AND almond flour. You need both to create the combination of soft and dense texture of the cake. 

Our ingredients are easy to find but slightly more refined than other recipes on the blog. 

Almond flour versus Almond meal

It is easy to get confused between almond flour and almond meal. Be reassured that you can substitute and for most recipes it won’t make a huge difference. 

If you are making macaroons then I recommend almond flour and sticking to that for the art that it takes to create them needs a finer texture. 

For this cake you can use almond meal if you prefer. Sometimes if it is a budget decision for almond flour can usually only be purchased in a larger quantity, more than is needed one recipe. Whereas almond meal can be found in less quantities which will be perfect for the recipe if you don’t want to have leftovers sit in the cupboard for months on end. 

I prefer using almond flour for this polenta cake recipe as it has a finer texture. Whilst I use almond meal at times (especially the one with the flecks of the almond skin in it), my ‘go to’ for this cake has long been the flour version. 

Ingredients for Lemon Polenta cake 

Polenta is a great ingredient to cook with! It is versatile and can be used for sweet or savoury baked dishes and is a nice change that we don’t tend to use as often as other ingredients like flour and pasta! 

Here it is the star of the show! 

Ingredients set out and labelled for Lemon Polenta Cake

As you can see the ingredients we need are:

  • almond flour
  • polenta
  • caster sugar
  • lemons
  • butter
  • eggs
  • icing sugar

Lemon Polenta Cake method

Here are the step by step photos and instructions to make this recipe. We can break down our method into 18 easy steps. 

Lemon Polenta Cake method photos with text overlay

  1. crack eggs into a jug and whisk to combine (shown in photos 1-2)
  2. zest your lemons and set aside (shown in photos 3-4)
  3. use electric beaters to beat butter and sugar (shown in photos 5-6)
  4. add almond flour, lemon zest and whisked eggs, stir to combine (shown in photos 7-9)

Lemon Polenta Cake method steps with text overlay

  • mix your cake batter and add your dry polenta to it (shown in photos 10-11)
  • line your cake tin with spray oil and grease proof paper (shown in photo 12)
  • pour your batter into your cake tin and smooth it out (shown in photos 13-14)
  • bake your polenta cake till it is golden (shown in photo 15)
  • flip the baked cake onto a serving platter (shown in photo 16)
  • dust the top of the cake with icing sugar and lemon zest (shown in photos 17-18)

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Of the recipe steps above, there are 4 to pay particular attention on to make your cake shine. These are shown in the photos below with a detailed explanation underneath. 

Process shots with text overlay for Lemon Polenta Cake

  • you will need a citrus zester as a normal grater is too big for light lemon zest (photo 1)
  • adding the lemon zest to the cake batter is where the flavour starts to sing (photo 2)
  • use a spoon to stir the polenta into the cake mix (photo 3) 
  • add final touches of flavour and zest with the icing sugar and leftover zest (photo 4)

The smell of lemon zest is heaven sent and takes you away to afternoon nanna nap time! 

If you like baking with chocolate these recipes are for you!  

Polenta Cake recipe quick info:

About the recipe:

  • we use fresh lemons for the zest to get the sweet lemon taste
  • almond flour will be found in the health food area at the shops
  • we need the dry yellow grain type form of polenta
  • this is a gluten free polenta cake recipe

FAQs about Lemon Polenta Cake 

  1. spray a little cooking oil into the cake tin to stick the baking paper
  2. no need to add vanilla essence to the recipe as we want the lemon to shine through
  3. you can use either almond flour or almond meal 
  4. this is a freezer friendly recipe
  5. This is an EASY recipe

Best Lemon Polenta Cake cut into slices turn on their side to show the yellow cake appearance

Gluten Free Lemon Polenta Cake Pro tips:

These additional tips are so that you can master this recipe from the 1st time you make it:

  • you don’t need baking powder for this recipe
  • we whisk the eggs to get a smooth consistency to the batter
  • use a spoon to stir the ingredients when not using the beaters (ie adding the polenta)
  • keep an eye on the cake towards the end so that the edges stay only lightly browned
  • a small sieve is perfect to sprinkle the icing sugar on top as the texture will be consistent
  • the lemon zest and icing sugar is for extra zesty flavour!

Here are sweet recipes that will make your heart sing! 

Freshly baked cake, a teapot of your favourite, serving spoons and friends = lemon happiness! 

Teaspoon digging into slice of lemon polenta cake on a white plate

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PIN and save this recipe for later! 

Lemon Polenta Cake slices on a white plate with silver spoon full of yellow fluffy cake

Lemon Polenta Cake

Lemon Polenta Cake is a gluten free cake that is zesty and fresh! With a moist and delicious texture this is a favourite from all of our baking recipes.
5 from 6 votes
Print Rate
Course: afternoon tea
Cuisine: Australian, International
Keyword: birthday cake, lemon, polenta
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Calories: 441kcal
Author: Adrianne


  • Cake Tin (22.5cm)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Electric beaters
  • Stiring spoon


Lemon Polenta Cake

  • 200 grams butter Note 1
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 150 grams almond flour Note 2
  • 120 grams polenta
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar to dust
  • zest of three lemons Note 3


Lemon Polenta Cake method

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5
  • Crack your eggs into a small jug and use a whisk to combine.
  • Use a citrus zester to zest the lemons and set aside
  • Place your butter into a mixing bowl and use electric beaters to beat. Add the sugar and continue to beat.
  • Add the flour, follow by lemon zest and stir to combine. Note 3
  • Pour the whisked eggs into the batter and use beaters to combine
  • Pour the polenta into the cake batter and use a spoon to mix it through consistently.
  • Line a cake tin with baking paper using cooking spray to stick in place. Note 4
  • Transfer the batter and use a spoon to smooth the mixture in evenly and on top
  • Bake your cake for 50 mins till the top is light and golden with the cake edges being a slightly darker shade.
  • Allow cake to cool for a few minutes. Remove from the pan and flip onto a serving plate. Note 5
  • Dust top of cake with icing sugar and lemon zest Note 6



  • Note 1 grab the butter out of the fridge to start with and let it sit. You want it to be soft and at room temperature when you beat it as it will be faster and easier. If you use a bowl and separate mixer, harder butter can make the bowl move around too much as the beaters try and break it down. 
  • Note 2 Almond meal and Almond flour are 2 similar sounding ingredients which you can interchange if you wish. The main difference is that almond meal can have flecks of brown in it from the skin of the almonds and almond flour as it is made from blanched skinless almonds does not.
  • Note 3 and 6 We use the zest of 3 lemons for this recipe. 2 go into the cake and 1 goes on top. When you are making the cake and adding the zest to the batter, leave the approximate 1 zested lemon aside for this final step.   
  • Note 4 The cake tin I use for this recipe is 22.5 cm spring form (releases on side with removable base). 
  • Note 5 I like to do this to ensure a very flat surface on top of the cake for the icing sugar and lemon zest. 


Calories: 441kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 202mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 746IU | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg
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Some recipes on the blog are the ones you have with family at the dinner table. This is the recipe you have with cups of tea and friends and spoon that delicious fluffy batter into your mouth. It is the cake that friendships are made of. 

As always let me know if you have any questions and I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below. 

I’ve got you covered with recipes and ideas and you have got this polenta cake sorted with all of its zing and zest! 

Adrianne xx


Orange Polenta Cake Dark Chocolate Rocky Road Chocolate Granola Bark

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Farrah January 6, 2020 - 8:07 am

5 stars
This looks so tangy moist and delicious, and since it’s gluten free I can share it with my mom! Thanks for the great recipe!

Adrianne January 6, 2020 - 8:53 am

No worries, cheers Farrah, it is great to have your feedback, thanks!

Dannii January 6, 2020 - 9:49 am

I love any kind of lemon dessert. I definitely need to cook more with polenta.

Adrianne January 6, 2020 - 10:45 am

Sounds good Dannii, you and me both with the lemon!!

Jo January 6, 2020 - 11:49 am

5 stars
I love baking with polenta and this lovely subtle crunch it gives. Add lemon and ground almonds to the equation and I’m in cake heaven! Can’t wait to try it!

Adrianne January 6, 2020 - 8:25 pm

Sounds good Jo!! Yes I love almonds too but I wanted this one to be nut free, next one thought!!

Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry January 6, 2020 - 12:42 pm

5 stars
This looks like such a moist and fluffy cake – I love the flavour of lemons so will definitely be giving this a go

Adrianne January 6, 2020 - 8:25 pm

That is great to hear, thanks Bintu!!

Marie-Charlotte Chatelain January 6, 2020 - 1:29 pm

5 stars
I love all lemon desserts but this cake looks especially good! Love the texture of semolina bakes and this one takes me straight to Italy!

Adrianne January 6, 2020 - 8:26 pm

Great feedback thanks so much Marie-Charlotte!!

Heidy L. McCallum January 6, 2020 - 1:42 pm

5 stars
We loved your gluten-free Lemon Polenta Cake recipe. It came out perfect. Bookmarking for future,

Adrianne January 6, 2020 - 8:27 pm

Awesome thanks Heidy! Appreciate your feedback.

Debbi Beard April 11, 2020 - 9:22 am

5 stars
Lovely cake brilliant recipe

Adrianne April 11, 2020 - 10:10 am

Thanks Debbi!! Appreciate your feedback.

Lori July 16, 2020 - 7:11 am

This recipe looks so good!! Question: what size serving do the nutritional facts relate to?

Adrianne July 16, 2020 - 7:47 am

Hi Lori, one piece with the cake being 8 total pieces. Cheers


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