A simple, rustic Italian-style polenta cake made with crunchy cornmeal and scented with fresh lemon.
This polenta cake is a favorite dessert recipe from my file. It’s a rustic, Italian-inspired cake infused with lemon zest and juice, with a tender texture and the lovely crunch of stoneground cornmeal — a/k/a polenta.
It’s the sort of peasant-style sweet I love.
You could cut it into slices and just eat it with your hands, or sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve alongside generous helpings of whatever seasonal fruit is the sweetest at the moment, such lightly sweetened berries in the summer, or these prosecco-poached pears in the fall and winter months.
Lemon Polenta Cake
Yield 1 8-inch cake
- 1 cup polenta, or stone-ground cornmeal
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
- Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan with lightly oiled parchment paper to fit.
- Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- 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.
- 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 in the pan 10 minutes before inverting onto a rack to cool.
- Sift powdered sugar over the cake and serve.