Lemon Polenta Cake


had a lot of pots on the fire this week and I was hoping to share some of the contents with you. And I will… but today I want to keep it simple. So here’s a favorite dessert recipe from my file. It’s a rustic Italian cake made with lots of lemon and crunchy stoneground cornmeal –  polenta.

It’s the sort of peasant-style dessert I love. You could cut it into squares and eat it with your hands like a bite of coffee cake, or sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve alongside a generous pile of whatever summer fruit is the sweetest at the moment.


Lemon Polenta Cake

Serving Size: serves 8 - 10


  • 1 cup polenta, or coarse-ground cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan or standard loaf pan with lightly oiled parchment paper to fit.
  3. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs, egg whites and sugar in a heavy-duty stand mixer until pale and creamy. On low speed, mix in the oil. butter, yogurt, lemon zest and juice.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 - 40 minutes, or until the top feels firm (not hard) and a toothpick inserted in the center of cake come out clean. Cool completely before serving.


  1. I made a similar version of this from Nigella the other day and it was delicious. So dense and full of zing from the lemons. I like the crunch the polenta gives each slice. I hate to admit it but it didn’t last long!

  2. I’m a bit back logged on my reader – but none-the-less, this cake looks absolutely divine! Given my slight obsession lemon desserts and most recently polenta-anything — this is just begging to be made!

  3. tanya1234 nasser says:

    luv it thank you

  4. I must try this! Looks delicious!

  5. My husband is wild for polenta cake. I’ll have to give this a go!

  6. I’ve just made this for my husband but replaced the all purpose flour with gluten free flour and it has worked perfectly! I can’t wait to dive in! Oops sorry, I mean for him to try it 😉

  7. Polenta is not cornmeal, in Italian cornmeal is ‘farina di mais’.
    Polenta is a kind of mush: You pour cornmeal in hot salted water, and cook it for about one hour; this is polenta.

  8. I’ve just tried it with some figs on the top : gorgeous ! Thank you so much for this recipe !


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  2. […] Family Style Food – Lemon Polenta Cake  […]

  3. […] This recipe has been adapted from Family Style Food. […]

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