Lemon Polenta Drizzle Cakes

Image of spoon cutting into cakePossibly my favourite cake, this is a moist, lemony, grown-up dessert and to my mind the perfect end to a meal. It’s gluten-free, too, provided you use gluten-free baking powder.

I usually make one big cake but this time I experimented with smaller, individual servings, made in muffin tins.

These quantities will be enough for around eight generously-sized individual cakes or one large cake baked in a loose-bottomed 23cm/9″ tin. Any product placement is inadvertent, by the way.

Lemon Polenta Drizzle Cakes

Image of cake with creme fraiche and berries


250g granulated sugar

250g butter (or margarine, if you really must)

3 eggs

250g ground almonds

125g fine polenta (not the grainy sort)

3 lemons, zest and juice

2.5 g salt

5g baking powder (gluten free if necessary)

Plus 150g caster sugar for the drizzle.


Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.

Image of zested lemons

Zest the lemons and squeeze the juice, keeping them separate. Grease eight muffin tins or, if you’re making one big cake, line the base of the tin and grease the sides with butter or Cake Release.

Beat the butter with the sugar until smooth, pale and fluffy. In another bowl, mix together the polenta, almonds, lemon zest, salt and baking powder.

Add a couple of spoons of the dried mix to the butter and sugar and beat it in. Crack in an egg and beat again.

Image of egg being added to batter

Repeat until all the eggs have been incorporated into the batter (alternating the eggs and dry mix helps stop the batter from splitting). Now beat in any remaining dry mix.

Spoon into the muffin tins, filling to about halfway, and smooth the tops. Or spoon into the the larger cake tin and smooth. Give the tins a sharp rap on your work surface to settle the batter.

Image of cake mix in tin

Bake the muffin-sized cakes for around 40 minutes and the larger cake for around an hour. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean and the sides of the cake(s) should be shrinking away from the sides.

While the cakes are cooking, put the lemon juice and caster sugar into a pan, stir to dissolve the sugar then boil until the mixture has reduced by half and is thick and syrupy.ย When the cake(s) are out of the oven, make some holes in the top.

Image of holes being skewered in cakes

Pour over the lemon syrup. Allow to cool in the tins. Remove carefully using a small palette knife – next time I make this I think I’ll use muffin tin liners.

Image of cake released from tin

Serve dusted with icing sugar, with creme fraiche or ice cream and a few fresh berries on the side.

Image of cake with berries and creme fraiche, seen from above

11 thoughts on “Lemon Polenta Drizzle Cakes

  1. “…product placement is inadvertent.” Uh-huh. You’re posting this from the yacht moored off Mykonos, conveniently supplied by Prestige bakeware, right? (GREAT recipe–polenta and lemon are the best.) Ken

    • Lol! You’ve seen my holiday pix! I tell you, hot fat really burns when you’re cooking in a bikini. Thanks re the recipe – and for commenting. All the best, L x

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  3. I didn’t think a good lemon drizzle cake could be improved on. This looks as though I could be proved wrong. I’ve only got coarse polenta at the moment, otherwise I’d be Doing The Test this minute.

    • Wow, thanks! Sorry to say it does need polenta flour rather than the grainy type but it’s worth the trek to the shops. Do please let me know what you think if you make it. Linda x

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