Recipe: Lemon and Coconut Polenta Cake

Lemon and Coconut Polenta CakeWe came up with this recipe many moons ago. In fact, I think it was back in our Southampton days of 2010 that we adapted a Nigella Lawson recipe to come up with most delicious concoctions, the Lemon and Coconut Polenta Cake.

It’s an Italian-style polenta cake that works perfectly with a nice cup of afternoon tea. It’s a rather more-ish cake so whenever we’ve made it, it usually sits in the kitchen where we sneak in for surreptitious handfuls of cake. It doesn’t last long!

This sweet, buttery, lemon cake has a slightly coarser texture than your average sponge cake, and will stay fresh for at least 5 days. Perfect for preparing ahead of a tea party, gathering, or for impressing your mates when they come over to watch a bit of Saturday night telly.

This is a gluten-free cake, so quids in for those of you are wheat-averse.

Recipe for Lemon and Coconut Polenta Cake

Lemon and Coconut Polenta Cake (serves 8-10)

  • 200g softened unsalted butter (plus, a little more for greasing the tin)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 120g fine (dry) polenta (It’s also sold as fine Corn Meal)
  • 80g desiccated coconut
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder (gluten-free if you like)
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest of 2 lemons

for the syrup

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 125g icing sugar
  1. Grease a 9 inch round springform tin and preheat the oven to 180C (fan-assisted).
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. This works best with very soft butter (I might have cheated and popped the butter into the microwave for 10 seconds).
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the ground almonds, polenta, coconut and baking powder.
  4. Add a third of the dry mix plus an egg to the sugar-butter mixture. Beat in well and then repeat with the following two eggs. The mixture should be just shy of fluffy.
  5. Just before adding to the baking tin, stir in the lemon zest.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. The cake will be a delightful golden colour and beginning to shrink away from the edges.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the syrup by boiling together the icing sugar and lemon juice in a small pan.
  8. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, prick the cake all over with a thin skewer and pour the syrup over the cake.
  9. You should probably allow the cake to cool before serving, but if you are as impatient as me pop the kettle on and enjoy a delicious slice while its warm.





  1. Emily Jayne
    24 February 2015 / 7:58 pm

    Ooh I love lemon polenta cake! (in fact, it’s one of the first things I ever baked for Dan!) but have never thought of adding coconut to it. May have to give this one a try!

    • Elizabeth
      5 March 2015 / 4:35 pm

      Aw, what a coincidence. This is the first thing the boyf baked for me. 😀

  2. 25 February 2015 / 8:54 pm

    This looks delicious, I love lemon cake!

    Maria xxx

    • Elizabeth
      5 March 2015 / 4:38 pm

      Me too. One of my fave cakes. x

  3. GeryArt
    20 March 2016 / 9:59 pm

    I did this cake today
    is just perfect gluten free
    Moist, sweet and fresh
    My boyfriend loves it .
    I put some poppy seeds inside and cover in the end with decided coconut which I made it a bit browny on the pan
    Delicious xxx

  4. plasterer bristol
    20 September 2016 / 4:26 pm

    This sounds really delicious and something new to try. Thank you for sharing this.


  5. Agnes
    30 December 2016 / 12:17 pm

    Can I use honey instead of butter & how much?

  6. Agnes
    30 December 2016 / 12:18 pm

    Sorry, I meant honey instead of sugar … Apologies !

  7. Sara
    7 June 2018 / 12:09 pm

    How could I use polenta from a tube in this recipe?

  8. 11 March 2019 / 8:04 pm

    Made this cake three times now, each time it sinks in middle,I meticulously followed the recipe and cooking time. Any advice on where I might be going wrong. Thanks Mary. X

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