Sliced flourless lemon & polenta drizzle cake

Lemon polenta cake

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(23 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 1 hr, 50 mins


Cuts into 8 slices

This gluten-free, flourless citrus cake is made using polenta and ground almonds. Serve with lemon drizzle icing and creamy mascarpone for an indulgent dessert

Nutrition and extra info

  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per slice

  • kcal590
  • fat31g
  • saturates11g
  • carbs69g
  • sugars51g
  • fibre2g
  • protein10g
  • salt0.6g


  • 140g butter, softened, plus extra for the tin



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 2 lemons



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 3 eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 200g ground almond
  • 175g polenta or fine cornmeal



    An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy…

  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • mascarpone, to serve

For the drizzle

  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…


  1. Butter a 23cm cake tin and heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the lemons in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, drain, pour over more cold water, then simmer for 1 hr until the lemons are really soft, topping up with more water if you need to. Drain the lemons well. When cool, halve them, remove the pips and blitz in a food processor to a purée.

  2. Add all the other cake ingredients and carry on blitzing until you have a loose batter. Scrape the batter into the cake tin and bake for 40-50 mins until golden and starting to shrink away from the sides.

  3. While the cake bakes, make the drizzle by mixing the sugar with the lemon juice. When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and leave to cool a little. While still warm, pour over the drizzle and leave to cool completely. Serve with mascarpone.

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Comments, questions and tips

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10th Jun, 2020
I also used just 160g sugar, increased the baking powder to 1 and a half teaspoons and swapped the butter for 7 tablespoons of olive oil. And I halved the drizzle topping. The cake has turned out very well and is delicious.
30th Apr, 2020
Great gluten free recipe! I never add as much sugar that the recipe recommends. I added 160g sugar just like suggested by another reviewer. I guess boiling lemons take away most of bitterness of lemons. For the drizzle I added jut a tablespoon of sugar. The cake went a treat and didn't last long. A great bake for a time when no flour in the market!
20th Apr, 2020
Delicious!!! Instead of boiling the lemons for an hour I cooked them in the pressure cooker for 20min which I'd recommend if you have one. They were perfectly soft . I also heeded others advice on using less sugar for the drizzle, I only used 65g and it was plenty! Will definitely make again, it is lush!
Sophie Whetnall's picture
Sophie Whetnall
22nd Mar, 2020
Great cake for Gluten free, I would recommend but I thought there was too much sugar, - I adjusted the cake recipe to 160g of sugar and the syrup topping to 15g of sugar and it worked excellently. I have also tried this recipe using 2 satsumas instead of the lemons and that was lovely.
Valeria Frank's picture
Valeria Frank
29th Jan, 2019
Great cake. I would like to try it with olive oil instead of butter. How do I go replacing it proportionally? thanks
Jugear27's picture
26th Jan, 2019
Deliciously moist and lemony. I cut the lemons in half, and microwaved in a splash of water in a jug covered with film for 5 mins on high. When cool, remove any pips and then blitz to a purée. Quick and easy and lot less fuss than boiling the lemons. Using whole lemons adds a great zesty flavour and contributes to the wonderful texture this cake has. Going to try the cake again with pink grapefruit, should be good. Super recipe for gluten-intolerant friends.
10th Mar, 2016
This lovely lemony cake was an instant hit in my house. I used the zest and juice method as mentioned by others for speed and the sponge turned out beautifully. I also only used approximately 60g of sugar for the topping as my last lemon was on the small size and I didn't want it to be too sweet. Three days later it is still lovely and moist although there's not much left :)
3rd Apr, 2015
Delicious - made it last week and it's going on to the easter lunch menu it was so good. Used the juice and zest of 2 sizeable, juicy lemons rather that messing with whole lemons and it worked perfectly. Only used 100 grams sugar for the drizzle - think any more would have been just too sweet. Its quite a rich cake but so moorish - my husband who's not really a big lemon drizzle fan just loves this. Perfect with home made vanilla ice cream and fresh cream. Will be trying it soon using oranges.
20th Mar, 2015
Lovely, but this cake was rich - so I would say it makes 12 portions. Next time I would reduce the amount of drizzle. It's a shame that the online recipe doesn't seem to repeat the tip included with the hard copy one which says "..if bitter lemon isn't your thing then swap the whole lemons with the juice and zest of 2 lemons". I suppose it would also apply if you were running short of time. But the original is actually quite easy. The mascarpone went very well with it. I wonder what it would be like with a bit of lemon zest added...I shall have to make it again! I am a coeliac so this recipe was very welcome. Thanks
3rd Oct, 2017
I have now made 2/3 quantity in a 20cm tin which divides nicely into 8 portions. I had to add a bit of milk to loosen the mixture. Still excellent!


15th Sep, 2018
goodfoodteam's picture
18th Sep, 2018
Thanks for your question. We think this is better if you don't freeze it.
26th Mar, 2018
Hi, I found the flavour lovely but I had a problem with the texture. It was as if the polenta was raw - what did I do wrong? I used a fast cooking polenta I always use that also says "can also be made into a type of loaf that can be baked and sliced" - so it should have worked....
goodfoodteam's picture
1st Apr, 2018
Sorry to hear you weren't happy with your cake. Fine or quick cook polenta is needed for this recipe. It will have more texture than a flour-based cake.
14th Jan, 2018
How long does this cake keep?
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Jan, 2018
Thanks for your question. This cake will keep 3 - 4 days in an airtight container.
17th Jan, 2016
When you say "loose batter" should the lemons be still juicy after simmering? Mine burst...
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Mar, 2016
Hi there, the lemons should be soft enough to push a cocktail stick into them without too much effort. It doesn't matter if the lemon bursts.
11th Sep, 2014
The receipe doesn't seem to clearly state that you take the skin of the lemon? it says it's bitter but... please can someone clarify? Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Sep, 2014
Hi there, thanks for your question. Yes, the skins stay on the lemons in this recipe.
28th Jan, 2015
I pressure cook my lemons for 8 minutes for a recipe like this (or oranges for that matter). I do a load and freeze them (defrost fully though before putting in the food processor)
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