Lemon Polenta Cake is a quick and easy homemade lemon cake. Using simple ingredients and taking basic steps, we have a great recipe for making this moist and fresh citrus cake. Polenta lemon cake is perfect for morning or afternoon tea, the lunch box, a celebration cake or delicious dessert.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the lemon polenta cake recipe in the points below:
- Simple ingredients: you will be able to get everything you need to make the polenta cake from you local grocery store. They are year round available ingredients that will be easy to get your hands on.
- Baking: there is something enjoyable about spending some time in the kitchen and then beginning to be rewarded for your hard work as the delightful aroma of the baked goods wafts through the house.
- Back to basics: this is a very simple cake recipe that doesn't take too much hard work to bring together. We basically mix it all and then pop it in the cake tin.
- Taste and texture: moist and light this lovely citrus cake is zesty, fresh and positively delightful.
- Versatile: be it a morning tea, lunch box treat, afternoon tea or special occasion cake this lemon polenta cake will work for all of those occasions and then some.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the easy lemon polenta cake. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Icing sugar: also known as confectioner's sugar or powdered sugar. We use this to dust over the top over the cake when serving.
- Butter: I like to use a creamy unsalted French butter when making this recipe. We use electric beaters to cream it making it light and fluffy.
- Eggs: we crack these into a bowl and then whisk them before adding to the cake batter.
- Almond meal: you will be able to get this from the cooking aisle of the supermarket. It is a soft creamy powdered form of ground almonds. This is effectively a lemon drizzle cake with almond meal. You can also use almond flour.
- Polenta: this bright yellow ground corn can be used in a wide variety of both sweet and savory recipes. You will find it in the cooking aisle where the flours and sugars are. Some packets will say 'instant polenta' which is fine, but we can't use 'ready made' polenta.
- Caster sugar: this sugar has a smaller grain than regular white sugar. It is excellent to use in baked goods.
- Lemons: fresh, bright and citrusy delicious, we zest the lemons and add some of that zest to the polenta cake and then use some of it on top of the cake to serve. This delightful lemon flavor is what makes the cake so unique and fresh tasting.
Tasty Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the simple instructions to make the recipe. We start by cracking the eggs into a jug.
- Add eggs to jug and whisk (Photo 1)
- Add butter to bowl (Photo 2)
- Cream the butter (Photo 3)
- Add the sugar (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Lemon Polenta Cake
Start to make the cake by cracking the eggs into a jug and then use a fork to briskly whisk.
You can also use this time to line a cake tin with baking paper and preheat the oven so that it is ready to go when the cake mix has come together.
Next add the butter to a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to cream it until pale and soft. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. Then gradually start with the dry ingredients by pouring in the sugar and then beat until this is consistently combined.
- Add the almond meal (Photo 5)
- Zest the lemons (Photo 6)
- Add the lemon zest (Photo 7)
- Add the whisked eggs (Photo 8)
Next add the almond meal to the butter mixture and then separately use a microplane zester and a cutting board to zest the lemons.
Once done add the lemon zest to the polenta mixture and then pour in the whisked eggs as you see me doing in the photo above.
- Add the polenta (Photo 9)
- Transfer the wet batter into the cake tin (Photo 10)
- Juice the remaining lemons (Photo 11)
- Add icing sugar (Photo 12)
Once done, add the fine polenta to the bowl, beat till it is consistently mixed in and then use a wooden spoon to transfer the wet batter into the prepared pan.
It needs to be place on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and it will take 35-40 minutes to cook.
You can do the skewer test at the 35 minute mark and see if it comes out clean. If it doesn't continue to make the cake until the skewer returns only dry crumbs.
Once it does, remove the polenta cake from the oven and place it onto a wire rack to allow it to cool.
Now you have the option of making a lemon syrup to pour over the cake with serving. Simply juice the lemons that you previously zested and then add icing sugar to them. Microwave on high for 3 30 seconds increments, stirring between each.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
When it comes to serving the cake, the simplest and easiest way is to dust (I do sift this) the cake with icing sugar. Once dusted give it a sprinkle with the remaining lemon juice also.
Have it with a cup of tea, or coffee and enjoy the bliss that is melt in your mouth freshly baked lemon polenta cake.
The lemon syrup whilst optional does give an extra moist and citrus tang about the cake where a little of it is enough to go a long way.
For night time consider a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top with syrupy sogginess melting in fresh vanilla.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for 3-4 days.
How to Freeze
Allow the cake to fully cool and then slice into portions once cooled. Wrap these portions in cling wrap and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat
Allow frozen portions of the dish to thaw before heating in the microwave on high for 1 minute or until warmed through. Or simply thaw and then consumed leftovers at room temperature.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- I use a springform cake tin to make this recipe which is one where there is a clasp on the side that you can open to lift off the tin.
- Unsalted butter is the best choice over salted butter as we do not wish to add salt to the cake batter.
- Making a syrup to pour over the top of the cake is an additional optional step that you may wish to take.
- Otherwise simply dust the cake with icing sugar and leftover lemon zest and serve as is.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- It is best to grease you cake tin with butter and then line it with parchment paper (baking paper).
- The size of your cake tin will make a different. The wider it is, the flatter your cake will be. The smaller it is (across the circumference) the taller your cake will be).
- You won't need to sift any of the ingredients.
- Using a microplane zester helps to zest the lemons in an easy manner. However, it is easy to slip and the blades are sharp. So tuck your hand in a way that it is protected from accidental mid zest slips.
- Polenta is gluten free, so you will be making a gluten free polenta cake. However, read the packaging to check the environment or manufacturing place that the polenta was prepared in.
- To ensure that you have a super flat surface to dust you can flip the golden brown top of the cake upside down so that it sits on the plate and the top of the cake with be one smooth surface.
- If you try and decorate the warm cake, the icing sugar will melt and disappear, but if you wait for it to cool, the icing sugar will sit on top of the cake.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What is Polenta Cake made from?
Polenta cake is made from a combination of almond meal, sugar, eggs, polenta and butter.
Can you use ready made Polenta in cakes?
Ready made polenta is not suitable for this recipe as it is already cooked and sold in block form.
Can you freeze polenta cake?
Yes you can freeze polenta cake. Allow the cake to cook once removes from the oven and once cooled dust with icing sugar and remaining lemon zest. Then slice the cake and wrap individual pieces of it in cling wrap and place into the freezer.
😍 More Easy Sweet Recipes
Having a few sweet homemade treats up your sleeve that you can whip our as needed is fun and rewarding. Here are some more ideas for you to try:
- Microwave Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding
- Chocolate Caramel Slice
- Anzac Biscuits (Rolled Oat Biscuits)
- 8 Egg Pavlova
- Macadamia Caramel Slice
- Chocolate Ripple Wreath
- Dulce de Leche Tartlets
- Zucchini Spice Cake
It is time to get our lemon polenta on my friend! You can also find all of my sweet recipes in the one spot.
Lemon Polenta Cake
- 3 medium eggs free range
- 200 grams/7 oz butter Note 1
- 150 grams/ ¾ cup caster sugar
- 150 grams/ ¾ cup almond flour Note 2
- 120 grams/ ½ cup polenta
- 3 lemons Note 3
To serve (optional):
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar dusted over the top
- juice zested lemons
- ¾ cup icing sugar
- Preheat your oven: to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5.
- Prepare tin: use butter to grease a 22.5 cm (8.8 inch) round cake tin, then line it on the base and sides with parchment paper, then set side.
- Eggs: crack the eggs one by one into a large jug and then use a fork to give them a quick whisk.
- Lemon zest: use a microplane zester to zest the lemons and then transfer the zest into a small bowl and set aside.
- Butter and sugar: add the butter to a large mixing bowl and then use electric beaters to cream until it is pale and fluffy. Then gradually add in the sugar and keep beating till combined.
- Almond meal and lemon zest: add the almond meal to the cake batter, followed by the lemon zest and continue to use the beaters to consistently combine.
- Whisked eggs: pour the whisked eggs into the batter and use the electric beaters to combine.
- Polenta: next add the polenta to the batter and mix until it is consistently combined.
- Cake tin: use a spatula to transfer the wet cake batter and into the lined tin and use the back of a spoon to smooth the mixture evenly across the pan.
- Oven bake: place the cake into the oven on the middle shelf and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes. Then use a skewer inserted directly down into the cake and pull it out. If there is wet batter, bake it for a little longer, if the skewer comes out with only crumbs, then it is done.
- Cool: place the cooked polenta cake onto a wire rack and let cool for 5 or 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the tin and flip the cake bottom side up. Then discard the baking paper.
- Lemon syrup: juice the 3 lemons that you earlier zested, then add the juice to a heatproof jug. Add ¾ cup of sifted icing sugar, stir and heat on high in 3 x 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval.
- To serve: dust the polenta cake with icing sugar and leftover lemon zest. Drizzle lemon syrup over the top (optional).
- Note 1 Butter: 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: 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 Lemon zest: we zest the 3 lemons and as a measured amount it is ¾ cup of lemon zest. Add most of this to the cake, but reserve 1 - 2 tablespoons to sprinkle over the cake when serving.
- Note 4 Cake tin: the cake tin I use to make this recipe is a 22.5 cm (8.8 inches) spring form (releases on side with removable base).
Recipe published January 2020, updated in October 2023 with new images and a rewrite to make it easier for you to read and follow the instructions 😉👍.