field notes

Italian Lemon and Polenta Cake
March 1, 2021

This moist and sweet cake is a Chiavarini family favourite. It is perfect for a Sunday afternoon treat or to enjoy over a coffee with a friend (remember when friends could pop over?!)

The recipe I use is not gluten free however you can swap the flour for ground almonds and use gluten free baking powder and it should come out just as tasty!

The syrup that we add at the end gives this Italian classica a little bit of an English feel, a little nod to the lemon drizzle cake! It also keeps it moist and extra sweet – delicious!


150g Butter

50ml Milk

200g Sugar

100g Italian 00 Flour

1 ½ tsp Baking Powder (or if you have any, we use 1 packet 'Lievito Pane Degli Angeli')

165g Polenta

3 Eggs

Zest of 2 of Lemons

Juice of 2 Lemons

100g Icing Sugar



Line the base of a 23cm (9inch) springform cake tin with baking parchment and grease its sides lightly with butter. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, either with a wooden spoon, or using a mixer/kitchen aid.

Mix together the flour, polenta and baking powder, and beat some of this into the butter-sugar mixture, followed by one egg. Alternate dry ingredients and eggs until all ingredients are combined.

Finally, add the lemon zest and pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.

If the cake is cooked, a cake tester should come out clean and the edges of the cake will have begun to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack, but leave in its tin.

To make the topping/syrup, boil together the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small saucepan. Once the icing sugar is dissolved into the juice, it’s ready to pour!

Lemon and Polenta Cake



Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester to make tiny incisions. Pour the warm syrup over the cake, and leave to cool a little before taking it out of its tin and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Best served with a cup of coffee! Enjoy!

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