A simple, rustic Italian-style lemon 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.
The cake has a tender texture and the lovely crunch of stoneground cornmeal — a/k/a polenta!
It’s just the sort of homey, humble cake I love.
You could cut it into slices and just eat it with your hands.
Or sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and serve alongside generous helpings of whatever seasonal fruit is the sweetest at the moment.
Try lightly sweetened berries in the summer, or these prosecco-poached pears in the fall and winter months.
How to Make Lemon polenta cake:
- For easier whipping, bring egg whites to room temperature. Here’s a great shortcut: crack and separate the yolk and whites into a small dish while getting your cake pan and the rest of the ingredients ready. You can also place the whole uncracked eggs in a bowl of very warm water for 15 minutes.
- Keep the wrapped cake at room temperature for several days — the texture and flavor will actually improve the day after baking.
- Lemon polenta cake can be frozen: Cool completely, then wrap in several layers of plastic wrap and freeze up to 1 month Defrost at room temperature
- Lightly oil your cake pan and parchment paper to easily release the cake from the pan.
- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 413 Total Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 61mg Sodium: 398mg Carbohydrates: 66g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 42g Protein: 7g
Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
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