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Monday 17 October 2011

Baking for Beginners: Lemon and Coconut Polenta Cake

Hello, my name is Elizabeth and I am the newest member of Domestic Sluttery. I have to say, I am utterly thrilled to be here and I am super-excited to get involved with all things Sluttery. I also blog at my personal lifestyle blog Rosalilium and you can find me on twitter @rosalilium_. But now, let's get onto the cake!

Autumn is my favourite season. It is the season for pulling out the cosy blankets, popping the heating on and enjoying copious amounts of tea and cake. It is the season for comfort as we head towards winter, and this cake is one of my comfort blankets. I love nothing more than idling down to the kitchen to scoop up a handful of this delicious crumbly cake as I pop the kettle on for my umpteenth cuppa of the day.

This sweet, buttery, lemon cake has a wonderful 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.

Lemon and Coconut Polenta Cake (makes 8 generous servings)

You will need:

For the cake:
  • 200g softened unsalted butter (plus, a little more for greasing the tin)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 120g fine polenta (unprepared. 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 syrup:
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 125g icing sugar
Make it!
  • Grease a 9in round springform tin and preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar. This works best with very soft butter (I might have cheated and popped the butter into the microwave for 10 seconds).
  • In a separate bowl mix together the ground almonds, polenta, coconut and baking powder.
  • Next, add a third of the mixture and an egg to the sugary-butter mixture. Beat in well and then repeat with the following two eggs. The mixture should be just shy of fluffy.
  • Just before adding to the baking tin, stir in the lemon zest.
  • Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
  • The cake will be a delightful golden colour and beginning to shrink away from the edges.
  • While the cake is cooling, make the syrup by boiling together the icing sugar and lemon juice in a small pan. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, prick the cake all over with a thin skewer (I used a sterilised hair pin) and pour the syrup over the cake.
  • 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. It looks lovely - I love a good polenta cake in Autumn. I think this one might be good for my sweet food averse fiance too (he loves citrus).

      Also - congratulations on the new job Elizabeth!

    2. Welcome Elizabeth! Looks delicious - I am a big fan of polenta!x

    3. Thank you Elizabeth! I was wondering what to serve at my gluten free mum's 80th birthday tea party and it looks like you've just solved my problem. Of course I'll have to make a trial one first, just to test it, you understand ;)

    4. Siobhan - if your fiance loves citrus this cake won't last long in your house!

      Louise - hoorah for good timing. I hope your Mum enjoys the cake. And absolutely test-run it first.

      Carrie - thank you! Polenta might be my new favourite thing.

    5. Ooooh, this sounds good. But I've never got on board with polenta (savoury anyway). I'm always a little sad that I'm not eating mashed potato.

      Maybe I'll have more luck in something sweet?

    6. sounds delicious, I've always wanted to experiment more with polenta, so I'm definitely going to try this at some point.

    7. Mmmm never had polenta in a cake - and I lvoe anything lemony! Congrats on joining the Sluttery team xx

    8. This looks divine. And simple to make too, which is always useful in my kitchen!

    9. Hey congrats on the new gig Elizabeth, will be looking out especially for your posts.

      That cake looks goooood, I am a citrus cake fan and this would make a nice alternative to the usual lemon drizzle.


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