Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

As I started to write this post I realized that not everyone would be familiar with polenta, or realize that you could actually use it in a cake. Polenta, a ground cornmeal which can be white or yellow in color, has its origins in Italy. This humble “peasant” food has been a staple of Italian cooking for hundreds, and hundreds of years. And need I remind you that the best food comes from Italy.

This “Mama” is a lover of comfort food and rustic desserts, and that’s exactly what this Polenta Cake is…rustic. It’s simple and straight forward. It’s not overly sweet, and almost gritty in texture, and that’s what I love about it. Imagine if you will that you’re sitting in the hills of Tuscany under an olive tree having a picnic lunch of bread, cheese, olives and wine. This Polenta Cake would be the perfect ending to that meal. I like to top mine with a huge dollop of freshly made whipped cream and my homemade strawberry sauce. As we head into the summer months, I find myself serving this dish quite often at my backyard barbeques’.

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

From Women’s Health Magazine

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup fine polenta 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • zest of one whole lemon
  • zest of one whole orange
  • strawberry sauce and whipped cream garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the center position. Melt some butter, and using a pastry brush, brush the bottom and sides of the pan and then dust the pan with some almond flour. Tap out the excess.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy for about two minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and then the applesauce, and beat just until ingredients are incorporated.
  3.   In another bowl, combine the flour, polenta and baking powder. Add the flour mixture along with the orange and lemon zest to the bowl on the electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed just until ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. I used a small off-set spatula to spread it evenly in the pan. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes until the edges are golden and when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. I topped this cake (as you can see) with freshly whipped cream and a fresh strawberry sauce once the cake was completely cooled.
Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Fresh Strawberry Sauce 

  • 4 cups strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice


  1. Place the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice into a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  3. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved and the berries have softened. Transfer to a bowl and chill. If there’s too much liquid in the mixture, then just spoon some off.
Polenta Cake hot out of the oven

Polenta Cake hot out of the oven

Recipe: Easy

33 Comments on “Polenta Cake with Citrus”

  1. erika says:

    Looks fabulous, as usual! Thanks for making Monday a little sunnier 🙂

  2. Looks amazing and I want a piece now!!

  3. dinnerbysusan says:

    Lovely, lovely cake. I have a recipe for a chocolate polenta cake, but it’s so much more involved. I’ll have to try this one!

  4. Love the pictures and the cake. I do have a question for you, have you ever heard of black polenta? We had it in Italy and am trying to track it down. Imagine the cake it would produce. Yumm.

    • Judy, no, I have never heard of black polenta, but it would make for a visually stunning cake. I bet you had a lot of fabulous food in Italy. I want to go back just to eat!

  5. nessa says:

    This looks really interesting! I want to try it and see how it turns out.

  6. I NEVER thought to put strawberry sauce + whipped cream on this cake. YUM!!

    This is my husband`s fave. Thanks for posting this!

  7. df says:

    So very, very pretty and delicious looking! And did you set out to making something gorgeously delicious and gluten free? I’m suitably impressed!

  8. This looks SO gorgeous! I really love the flavour combinations too, citrus, whipped cream and strawberry sauce – yum!!

  9. ohlidia says:

    I just love polenta and this cake looks fabulous! Especially that photo with the specks of orange zest coming through, Oh yum!

  10. Francesca says:

    I am so intrigued by polenta, I’ve never cooked or baked with it, but this looks like a great place to start. Thanks!

  11. Strawberries, citrus & cream, delicious! For some reason, this cake makes me think of Wimbledon and that beautiful tradition of fresh berries, fresh cream & champagne, (not that I’ve ever been,) but I know this would be equally at home for a glamourous occasion anyday!

  12. deliciouslynell says:

    Polenta is beautiful in cakes, and yours looks amazing!

  13. You paint quite the picture, Mama. I want to be sitting in Tuscany with wine and cheese and this amazing cake! I’ve never had polenta but I love cornbread. If the flavour and texture are similar, then I know I’d be head over heels in love with this cake. It looks beautiful!

  14. Jacob says:

    I used to make a honey polenta cake back when I was pastry chef at Baroncini in Iowa City. This is the only other time I’ve seen a similar dish. Looks lovely, I bet the almond flour goes well. I’ll have to try it.

  15. Gregory says:

    I love polenta, but I have never see it as a cake. Looks great.
    Enjoy your memorial weekend.
    Keep on baking !

  16. That looks amazing! Especially with that strawberry sauce dripping down the sides… yum!

  17. marazavrori says:

    Hi, great idea, gotta hand it to ya. I’m from the northeastern part of Italy, and we Friulans are very proud of our polenta. It’s part of our heritage.

  18. marazavrori says:

    Gotta try that burger!!!!

  19. Trinity says:

    This is on my “to try” list when our weather cools again in the autumn! Neighbouring Italy, we can get some very good Polenta here in Switzerland, so I can’t wait to try it!

  20. […] blogging friends and favourites. These citrus cornbread muffins were completely inspired by this Polenta Cake with Citrus from Mama’s Gotta Bake. […]

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