Polenta, Almond and Lemon Cake

Serves 8–10

This recipe was inspired by the cake of the same name from The River Café Cookbook. It is wonderful served with a little dollop of Greek yoghurt and some fresh berries on the side, or the Compote of Berries (page 112), or on its own with a cup of coffee! It is so moist, it keeps for ages.


  • butter and 1 dessertspoon flour or polenta for tin
  • 225 g (8 oz) soft butter
  • 225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • a few drops of almond essence — optional
  • 200 g (7 oz) ground almonds
  • 125 g (41⁄2 oz) medium polenta (maize meal). I get this in a health-food shop
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • To Serve:
    • a little icing sugar to dust the top


  1. Preheat the oven to 170˚C/325˚F/gas 3. Place a disc of greaseproof
  2. paper in the bottom of a 20 cm (8 in) cake tin, which must be 5 cm
  3. 2 in) high. Butter the sides of the tin and dust with 1 dessertspoon of flour, or polenta. Cream the butter, add the sugar and mix well. Beat in
  4. the eggs, one at a time, then add the lemon zest and juice, and the almond essence, if using. Fold in the ground almonds, polenta, and the baking powder. Put the cake mixture into the prepared tin, and cook in the preheated oven for 58–68 minutes or until a skewer inserted into
  5. the centre of the cake comes out clean. Sometimes, depending on the oven, I quickly place a piece of tin foil on top of the cake after 45 minutes, to prevent it from getting too brown. Take it out of the oven when it is cooked, and let it cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before removing it. To serve, dust it with a little icing sugar.