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Lemon Polenta Cake


Fresh lemon juice gives this fluffy polenta cake from Nigella Lawson's "Nigella Kitchen" cookbook its light, tangy flavor. Photo credit: Lis Parsons

  • Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, November 2010


  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 cups almond meal or flour
  • 3/4 cup fine polenta or cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten-free, if necessary)
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 heaping cup confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the base of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and butter sides; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and superfine sugar until pale and fluffy.

  3. In a medium bowl, mix together almond meal, polenta, and baking powder. Add some of the almond meal mixture to the bowl with the butter mixture and beat to combine. Add one egg and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, continue alternating adding remaining almond meal mixture and 2 eggs; mix until well combined. Add lemon zest and mix just to combine.

  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and transfer to oven; bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs and cake begins to pull away from sides of the pan, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, mix together lemon juice and confectioners' sugar; place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved; remove syrup from heat.

  6. Using a cake tester, prick holes all over the top of the cake; pour warm syrup over cake and let cool completely. Remove from pan and serve.

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