Lemon and Berry Polenta Cake (Gluten Free)

Zesty, lemon sugar syrup the slight crunch of polenta coupled with juicy berries gives a refreshingly different dessert cake.  Serve with oodles more berries and cream and you have yourself a mighty fine pudding. This cake uses fine grained polenta (quick cook) which as an added bonus makes it a gluten-free cake so you get all the taste but without the gluten gunk.  I have not said I love you to a cake yet but this is a surprising contender and definitely on my bake again list.

Four lemons go into the cake and the juice – yes four of them!  So expect a citrus hit which is great as I love lemons but it is not too sour just right in my opinion.  In my tutor group leavers speech I told them ‘If life gives you free lemons – say hey – free lemons!’ OK so they did not get my meaning either but maybe one day they will realise that free lemons = great cake. Nom nom.

I added berries for more flavour and texture.  Yes I admit they were frozen ones as we are not quite in strawberry and blueberry season yet but don’t knock frozen fruit as it tastes better than some of the out of season water filled varieties.

Do you know why I like this cake so much? 

Quite simply it was quick to make, simple, tasted great and when I went to take the photographs it was about to rain as the dark grey clouds were gathering.  This meant instead of spending countless hours getting the pictures right to fulfil the perfectionist streak in me I was challenged to just shoot the images as it was.  I love the pictures  and just like the cake they were no fuss but a great result.  Finally something that required not much effort!

Lemon Berry Polenta Cake

I took this cake as part of a set of gluten-free goodies to a university reunion and it was very happily received so I promised my newly diagnosed coeliac friend that I would do a post on gluten-free baking – more on that to follow.

What surprised me the most about our PGCE gathering (teaching qualification) was that I am the only person still in teaching!  What does that say about the profession I wonder?  Also on a sadder note apparently I am only a quarter of the bubbly person I used to be perhaps that is the result of still being in teaching I wonder.  Cue mid-life crisis….

Recipe (adapted from Doves Farm)

150g soft room temperature butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
75g ground almonds
1/s tsp gluten-free baking powder
4 lemons – grated rind and juice
75g Polenta (quick cook fine grain variety)
50g granulated sugar ( for the sugar syrup)
200g berries of your choice


1. Preheat oven to 170°C/Fan150°/325°F/Gas 3
2. Grease a 20cm/8”cake tin and line with baking parchment or greaseproof.
3. Beat butter and 150g sugar together until pale and light(about 5 mins).
4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
5. Mix in the ground almonds and baking powder until fully combined.
6. Stir in all the grated lemon rind and juice of two lemons – reserve the rest for the sugar syrup.
7. Stir in the polenta and then the berries.
8. Spoon mixture into cake tin.
9. Bake for approx 40/45 minutes on the middle shelf
10. Allow to cool in the tin.
11. Add the juice of the remaining 2 lemons into a saucepan with 50g sugar.
12. Boil gently, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes to form a thick syrup.
13. Make holes in the cake with the cake tester or a skewer and pour syrup over the cake
14. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.


This cake is very moist and will last in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  Generally gluten free cakes do not last as long as regular cakes – so more excuse to get one and eat it!

Enjoy!   Coming up next – 7 tips on gluten free baking and the turkish temptress layer cake (pay day cake 3!)

17 thoughts on “Lemon and Berry Polenta Cake (Gluten Free)

  1. Wonderful, Boule. My girlfriend wants to become a teacher, though I may try to dissuade her – I think she’d enjoy doing something else more – no offence, of course. This looks delicious – I love gluten free cakes, they always work better in my opinion – you get more of their intended flavour.

    • Very true about the cake and probably right about teaching too! Knowing what I know now I would have chosen a different career except I do enjoy the holidays with my son so at least I have not missed out on those.

  2. Now that sounds totally delicious. Love lemon cakes and really like the idea of adding berries. I keep thinking I should try fresh raspberries in my chocolate polenta cake – roll on raspberry season. Interesting that quantities of almonds / polenta are the same as mine – gives lots of scope for ideas. I’ve made Nigella’s rhubarb and polenta cake a few times and that is good too, but can’t remember exact ingredients. Apologies for taking a while to respond to our comment on my blog – I’ve just done it. It was only to say, I don’t see why white chocolate wouldn’t work, but it would be quite a different cake – something else to try.

    Well done for continuing in teaching – it;s tough. I was a school librarian for a while and that was tough enough.

    • Hey don’t worry about not replying we are all very busy people in todays world! I am going to try a white chocolate one just not decided what to pair it with – but raspberries are on my list and I too can not wait until they are fully in season. I still have your raspberry and choclate one to do on my list thats if i could get my hands on frozen ones at the moment which I can’t. It is dissapointing as I have my heart set on a raspeberry bakewell cake as well. As for the teaching I do like it most days and to be honest I have no idea what I would do if I didn’t teach. However once my son is old enough ( which is not long now) I won’t need the holidays so who knows what I could do instead? My mind boggles!

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    • Add them after adding the polenta and no it is not a dumb question it is just the dumb blogger forgot to say that!! Doh! I have updated it now so thanks a million for letting me know 🙂

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