Project Description

Lemon Polenta Cake & Lemon Mascarpone

Polenta cakes have a long tradition in Italy. This Lemon Polenta Cake & Lemon Mascarpone comes from my friend Luci Lothringer, who adapted it from one her mother used to make. It makes a very large cake. You will need five or six juicy lemons for this recipe, and two more if you decorate with shreds of rind as suggested.

Serves: 12–16
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 90 minutes


3 – 4 lemons,, to zest & give ¾ cup (180 ml/6 fl oz) lemon juice
light flavoured extra virgin olive oil or butter, to grease
500 g (1 lb) unsalted butter, softened
500 g (1 lb) caster sugar
6 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
rind of 4 lemons
410 g/13 oz) almond meal
280 g (9 oz) polenta (cornmeal)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt

Lemon Mascarpone
2 tablespoons (40 ml) brandy
1 cup (200g /7 oz) caster sugar
rind of 1 lemon
¼ cup (60 ml/2 fl oz) lemon juice
¾ cup (180 ml/6 fl oz) milk, or 1/ 3 cup (2 fl oz) dry
white wine
500g (1lb) mascarpone


  1. Zest or grate rind of 2 lemons and reserve. Juice them plus 1 or 2 more to get ¾ cup juice.
  2. Preheat oven to moderately slow, 160°C (325°F, Gas Mark 3). Grease a 26cm (10in) springform cake tin with  oil or butter and line base with baking paper.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until pale, then slowly beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla, rind of 2 lemons and juice, then fold in almond meal, polenta, baking powder and salt. Pour into cake tin and bake for 30 minutes. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour more, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool.
  4. To make lemon mascarpone, combine all ingredients in a food processor, taking care not to overbeat.
  5. To make glazed lemon rind bring ½ cup (125 ml/4 fl oz) water to the boil with ½ cup (110 g/4 oz) sugar, add the shredded rind of 2 lemons and simmer for 10 minutes, or until rind softens and is glazed with sugar.
  6. Serve cake with lemon mascarpone and glazed lemon rind.

Wine: Choose a late-picked or Botrytis Riesling to serve with this delicious lemon polenta cake.

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