Lemon Poppy Polenta Cake (Dairy Free, Gluten Free)

Nations all over the world have been using oils instead of butter and margarine in cooking and baking for centuries upon centuries. We’re just a little nervous to try new things with regards to food. God forbid we take our Grannies butter drenched recipes and throw them out the window, however we are slowly becoming more experimental with our foods and open to change. Oils like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and pumpkin seed oil etc. have lots of great benefits internally and externally and can be used in almost all areas of cooking.

Lemon Polenta Cake

For my Lemon polenta cake I’m using olive oil, I use regular olive oil and not extra virgin olive oil as the flavour, I find, is sometimes too strong a flavour for baking.

This cake is moist, light, tangy but sweet tasting and a perfect little treat for after dinner or even just with a cuppa.

What you need:

For the cake

  • 140ml olive oil
  • 200 grams caster/cane sugar
  • 180 grams fine polenta/corn meal
  • 120 grams ground almond flour
  • 1½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder (gluten free if needed)
  • 4 large eggs
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice of half a Lemon(save the rest of the lemon juice for later)
  • handful poppy seeds(optional)

For the topping:

  • Juice of 1½  lemons
  • 100g icing sugar (Keep 20g for dusting)


  1. Line the base and sides of a 9 inch springform cake tin with baking parchment and a little olive oil so that the paper sticks.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and creamy and doubled in volume (for about 5 mins). Slowly pour in the olive oil and juice of half a lemon, keep folding gently until all the oil and juice is combined. Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla essence.
  4. Sieve together the ground almonds, polenta, baking powder (add poppy seeds now if using), and fold this into the egg and sugar mixture. Don’t over fold it here as you will lose too much volume.
  5. Scrape the mixture into the baking tin and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
  6. When the cake is cooked, a cake tester or sharp knife should come out almost clean and the rim of the cake will have come away slightly from the sides of the tin. Remove onto to a wire cooling rack, but keep in the tin.
  7. Make the lemon syrup topping by boiling together the left over lemon juice and 80g icing sugar in a pan.
  8. Once the icing sugar’s dissolved into the juice, take it off the heat.
  9. Poke the top of the cake all over gently with a cake tester or a small fork, make sure you are careful as it’s delicate while warm,pour light layer of the warm syrup over the cake, let seep in and leave to go completely cold before removing from the tin. (Don’t drown the cake in syrup – you don’t want it half soggy – half dry, you can use the rest of the syrup for serving.)
  10. Dust with the remaining 20g icing sugar.
  11. I know this seems like a lot of steps, but it’s not all that technical and really is worth the wait.
  12. Serve and devour!

Enjoy the little moments.( i.e the only spell check suggestion for the word polenta is tadpole – Yum.)



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