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Gluten-free lemon polenta almond cake

 In Baked Goods, Cakes, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegetarian

An intensely lemony, gluten-free polenta almond cake drenched in lemon syrup and served with creamy mascarpone is a lovely afternoon treat.

Gluten-free lemon polenta almond cakeI have been in a serious baking mood over the last few weeks. Every week sees me whipping up cakes, pies and pastries and it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight. This week, I revisited an old favourite of mine: the glorious polenta cake.

Gluten-free lemon polenta almond cakeNow, I know that many of you will be thinking I’ve lost my mind and that polenta is clearly an ingredient used mostly in savory dishes but hear me out. Polenta makes and excellent substitute for flour in cakes which in turn make them completely gluten-free. Score! Plus, polenta gives this cake it’s sunshine-yellow loveliness and adds a bit of texture. This is not a light and fluffy cake. This polenta almond cake is rich, buttery and intensely lemony and every bite is simply mouth watering.

Gluten-free lemon polenta almond cakeRoyal Baking powderFor this post I’ve partnered with my friend’s from Royal Baking Powder to share the exciting news about South Africa’s first Virtual kitchen! Presented by Royal Baking Powder, these interactive activations will entertain and delight South African families with virtual reality technology, while also enticing their senses with freshly baked goods. To top this all off, Royal Baking Powder is running a competition on their newly launched Facebook page where fans will stand a chance to win various baking essentials or the grand prize of R35 000, for a royal kitchen revamp or even just a well deserved summer break. Um, yes please!

royal_baking_powder_0097-2(Image supplied by Royal Baking Powder) 

To stand a chance of winning, simply create your ultimate #RoyalSundayRecipe and share a photo on Facebook showing off your (baked)goods. Head on over to Royal’s Facebook page for all the details.

Gluten-free lemon almond polenta cake

Gluten-free lemon polenta almond cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An intensely lemony, gluten-free polenta almond cake drenched in lemon syrup and served with creamy mascarpone is a lovely afternoon treat.
Recipe type: baking, cakes, gluten-free, easy recipe
Serves: 10-12 servings
  • 1 cup (150g) polenta (not quick-cooking polenta)
  • 1½ cups (150g) ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour (corn starch)
  • 3 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon
for the syrup
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50ml boiling water
to serve
  • mascarpone cheese
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºc and line a 30cm cake pan with baking paper.
  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and dry ingredients alternatively until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix well.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and place in the oven.
  7. Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Don't be alarmed if the cake has sunk in the middle, that's completely normal. Because this cake is so dense and moist and because of the lack of flour, this will most likely happen.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.
  9. To make the syrup, combine the ingredients and mix until the sugar has dissolved.
  10. Pour over the cake then serve with a dollop of mascarpone.
This post was sponsored by Royal Baking Powder. All opinions are my own. 

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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 21 comments
  • Laura | Tutti Dolci

    Intensely lemony sounds just perfect to me. What a beauty!

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks Laura. My heart belongs to anything lemony. 😉

  • Sabrina

    This cake sounds amazing!

  • Mary

    I made this cake over the weekend and it was delicious. The polenta add nice crunch, which was a little different at first but I actually really enjoyed it. The lemon glaze is also perfect on the cake.

    • Alida Ryder

      I’m so glad you liked it Mary. Yes, the polenta adds really great texture. And that glaze is just magic!

  • Green Valley Kitchen

    I’ve never made a polenta cake before, Alida – but this one looks wonderful. I love a simple cake and the lemon flavoring is my favorite in a cake. Looking forward to trying this!

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks Geraldine. Lemon cakes are my absolute favourite too!

  • Reply

    So excited to add this recipe to my gluten free baked goods list Alida! I have several friends who eat gluten free, so I’m always looking for new things to make when I have them over. This sounds delicious and refreshing.

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks Mary Ann! Yeah, it’s a really good one to have in your repertoire. I hope you and your friends enjoy this one. 😉

  • Chelsea Jones

    I would imagine this would be good with a scoop of ice cream too! Love that it’s such a pretty sunshine yellow too!

    • Alida Ryder

      Yes, ice cream would be perfection with this!

  • Sarah

    I LOVE polenta cakes. It love the texture it adds. This one looks great!

    • Alida Ryder

      Yeah, the texture is great with polenta cakes. Thanks Sarah!

    • Alida Ryder

      Yeah, the texture is great with polenta cakes. Thanks Sarah!

  • Jenni

    This cake looks so great! My daughter has gluten allergies and she loves anything lemon so I’m definitely going to be baking her this cake! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • Alida Ryder

      Thanks Jenni! Please let me know what she thought of this cake once you’ve baked it.

  • Karen @ Seasonal Cravings

    I have never used polenta for baking and I bake gluten free all the time. What a great idea and lovely color. I love using almond flour in baked goods as well- such a delicious flavor!

    • Alida Ryder

      That yellow gets me every time. Polenta is something I bake with often because I really like the texture it adds. And almond flour – swoon. It’s just too good.

  • DisplacedHousewife

    Yum!! This sounds so good!! Definitely cake season!! 😉 xoxo

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