The lemon polenta cake recipe

Almonds give this lemon polenta cake a wonderful richness and crumbly texture. Served with zesty lemon icing, orange mascarpone, and caramelized satsumas.


For the cake

  • 225g/8oz unsalted butter
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 225g/8oz ground almonds
  • 115g/4oz instant polenta
  • 1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 3 lemons, zest, and juice only
  • icing sugar, for dusting

For the glaze

  • 2 lemons, juice only
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar

For the orange mascarpone

  • 250g/9oz mascarpone
  • 2 oranges, zest only, plus a splash of juice
  • 50-75g/1¾-2½oz icing sugar sieved

For the caramelized satsumas

  • 75-100g/3-4oz caster sugar, for dusting
  • 100ml/3½fl oz orange juice
  • 4 satsumas, peeled and cut in half horizontally


  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Grease and line a 25cm/10in a cake tin with parchment paper.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until pale and light. Gradually add the eggs, whisking all the time. Using a large metal spoon, stir in the ground almonds, then fold in the polenta, baking powder, lemon zest, and juice and mix to combine.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until just set and golden-brown.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the lemon glaze, put the lemon juice and sugar into a bowl and mix well. When the cake is cooked, prick the surface and pour over the lemon mixture. Let it cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
  5. To make the orange mascarpone, gently beat the mascarpone, orange zest, splash of orange juice, and icing sugar together until smooth. Set aside.
  6. For the caramelized satsumas, heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add the sugar and orange juice. Reduce until thickened and syrupy, add the satsuma halves and cook gently for a few minutes on each side until softened and caramelized. Reserve the syrup to serve.
  7. Remove the cake from the tin and cut it into wedges to serve. Transfer to a plate, dust with icing sugar, and serve with a quenelle of orange mascarpone cream, the caramelized satsuma halves, and drizzle the orange syrup over to serve.

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