Lemon Polenta Cake

My husband recently bought me a new cookbook, Illustrated Step-by-Step Baking by Caroline Bretherton. Since I have so many cookbooks already, I don’t often buy new ones anymore. I have several criteria of whether or not I will actually puuchase a cookbook. It has to be full of gorgeous pictures and I have to like at least 10 of the recipes. This one is wonderful. There are so many glorious, colorful pictures, step-by-step photographed instructions and I want to try almost every recipe in the book. I guess you’ll be seeing a lot of new baked goods in the near future on this blog, because whenever I glance through it, I feel a burst of inspiration. The apron is on and the mixing bowls come out.

This recipe quickly caught my eye. It’s simple to prepare, and has a rustic and homey appeal. I love the brightness that the lemon syrup gives this cake. I really like using citrus in cooking and baking. The cake has a crumbly texture from the cornmeal and almonds. The lemon zest perfumes the whole cake with a light and fresh taste of citrus. With a cup of tea and a plate full of sandwiches or Blini With Smoked Salmon, you can have a stress-free tea party or a family movie night.

Yields: 1 cake


12 Tablespoons of butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened

1 cup of sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 1/3 cup (6 oz) ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Lemon syrup:

juice of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon of sugar

Preheat the oven to 32 5 degrees. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with baking sprayand line the bottom with parchment paper. Using a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand miser, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. On low speed, add the eggs. Process the almonds in a food processor until they are almost like a powder. You should have about 1 1/3 cups of ground almonds. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the ground almonds and cornmeal into the butter and egg mixture. Add the lemon zest and baking powder. Scoop out the batter and evenly distribute in the prepared pan. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, until golden brown. You can check for doneness with a toothpick. While the cake is baking, put the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and heat through until the sugar dissolves. (Oops! I forgot to take a picture). Poke a bunch of holes in the baked cake with  a toothpick. Pour the lemon syrup over the warm cake. I used a spoon to drizzle it on. I made this cake, took a picture and went to take a shower, leaving the cake and the slice on the counter. This is what I found when I came back:).

A little mouse is in my house:)

You can sprinkle some powdered sugar on top if you’d like. This cake would be great with a glass of milk too.




  • Natasha

    It’s made with nuts, dulce de leche, and biskvit. I think there is also “mak” in there. I have tried it once when we bought it in one of the Russian stores in Brooklyn, but haven’t had it since and wasn’t able to find a recipe for it. Another thing that I am looking forward to making is “Oreshki” but still looking for a good recipe.

    • olgak7

      That sounds delicious! It kind of sounds like the similar components of pirozhnoe Kartoshka. I have a really good recipe for that, although I don’t put poppy seeds in it. I think I tried something like it, maybe in Brooklyn too:). It would be great to find a good recipe for it. I love oreshki! I’ll have to share the recipe sometime soon. It’s one of my favorites:).

  • Natalie

    Olga, I just found you on FB and messaged you. I am so excited to find Russian food bloggers. And photographers too! I am so with you on cookbooks with pictures and all. I am so making this cake! I love using cornmeal and almonds. Lemons are always a must in our house. This one looks so absolutely simple. If I could less hours of work and school I’d be cooking up like I used to and putting weight on too :)! Do you know how to make a good zapekanka? My mom passed away and she left me a recipe, but with moving every 6 months with 4 kids her precious recipes got lost. I crave it so much! We aren’t anywhere near a Russian store, never have been everywhere we lived. But when I got to one I always tried their zapekanka, but it wasn’t the same. I also lost my most favorite one of white cherry preserves with lemon, OMG! Talk about yumminess! Thanks for sharing!

    • olgak7

      Hello Natalie!
      I make a few different kinds of zapekanka. They certainly are yummy and homey. My husband loves to enjoy them with some milk. Do you remember what kind of ingredients your mom used in hers?

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