Polenta lemon cake

This is a delicious and very quick to make summer cake. It is quite ‘light’ and refreshing to eat, it almost smells of summer. I prepare this cake very often because of its unusual but great taste that everyone likes. In northern Croatia, in Zagorje region, there are similar cakes that are called Zlevanka (meaning something like: ‘poured’ cake) but in Italy, it is called Polentina.


275 g butter
225 g fine sugar
6 egg separated
50 g ground almonds

75 g rice flour
150 g coarse polenta
Grated zest and juice of 4 organic (unwaxed) lemons
powder sugar, for dusting

Optional: 1 teaspoon backing powder

You can replace a part of butter with fresh cream cheese (or cottage cheese)
You can experiment with other nuts or completely omit them and replacing them with with additional polenta. I wasn’t very impressed by the taste of hazelnuts in this cake. Not as good as almonds.
One or more lemons could be replaced by (organic) oranges.
Dust the cake with sifted powdered sugar through a paper pattern you can easily make yourself. This Hello Kitty was used for the Carrot birthday cake I made for my daughter (previous recipe).


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a cake tin with butter
2. Grate the 4 lemons, squeeze them and set the peel and juice aside.
3. Cream the butter and half the sugar together until thick and creamy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating between each addition.
4. Add the almonds, polenta, lemon zest and juice to the mixture and mix well together.
5. Add remaining sugar to the egg whites and whisk them until stiff. Using a flat spoon, fold carefully into the mixture.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and leave the cake for 5-10 minutes. Open the oven after 10 minutes and leave the cake cool in the tin. When cold, remove from the tin and dust with sifted powder sugar. This ‘cooling down’ is especially important if not using the baking powder so the cake does not suddenly become flat.


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