Raspberry & lemon polenta cake

Raspberry & lemon polenta cake

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(37 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 8
Give your sponge an Italian twist with Jane Hornby's easy-to-make polenta cake

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal608
  • fat40g
  • saturates23g
  • carbs58g
  • sugars38g
  • fibre2g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.97g
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    For the cake

    • 225g very soft butter



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

    • 225g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp
    • 4 eggs, beaten



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

    • 175g fine polenta



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

    • 50g plain flour
    • 1½ tsp 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…

    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • finely grated zest of 1½ lemons



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

    • 200g frozen raspberry, left frozen



      A member of the rose family, raspberries have a wonderfully intense, sweet taste, and many…

    • icing sugar, or more to taste (optional)

    For the filling

    • 100g soft cheese at room temperature (we used Philadelphia)
    • 1 tbsp icing sugar, or more to taste
    • finely grated zest of ½ lemon, plus a squeeze of juice



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

    • 142ml tub double cream
    • 100g frozen raspberry, defrosted



      A member of the rose family, raspberries have a wonderfully intense, sweet taste, and many…


    1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and butter two 20cm sandwich tins. Line the bottom of the tins with baking paper. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 225g caster sugar together until creamy and light. Gradually add the egg, little by little, until all the egg is worked in and the mix is pale and fluffy. If the mix looks like it’s starting to split, add 1 tsp of the flour, then carry on.

    2. Put the polenta in another bowl, then stir in the flour and baking powder. Beat the vanilla extract and zest into the eggy mix, then fold in the dry ingredients. Spoon half the batter into each tin and level the top. Scatter all but a handful of the raspberries over the mix and poke in gently. Sprinkle one of the sponges with the 1 tbsp sugar. Bake for 20 mins until risen and golden, but still with a little wobble under the crust.

    3. Open the oven, whip out the sugar-crusted sponge and quickly poke the remaining frozen raspberries into the top. Bake both sponges for 10 more mins or until springy in the middle. If this sounds too tricky, just leave the sponges to bake for 30 mins – the cake won’t look as glam, but will still taste great (you can add the leftover berries to the filling instead). Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then cool completely on a rack. Be careful when turning out the raspberry-topped sponge and slide it off its base rather than turning it upside down.

    4. When the sponges are cold, beat the soft cheese with the icing sugar, lemon zest and a little of the juice to loosen if it needs it. Very lightly whip the cream so that it just holds its shape, then fold into the cheese. Fold in the defrosted raspberries. Use to sandwich the sponges together, sugar-crusted on top, and serve dusted with more icing sugar.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    10th Apr, 2016
    I really enjoyed making and eating this cake! I used spelt flour instead of plain and fresh raspberries instead of frozen and it tasted great . My only issue was that the cakes browned a lot sooner than 20 minutes so I threw the top layer of raspberries in earlier and reduced the cooking time slightly. Definitely one I'll be making again.
    22nd Feb, 2016
    Really great cake - very light sponge and the taste of the lemon is fresh but not overpowering. I used blackberries instead of raspberries as that is what I had in the freezer. I found that adding the remaining fruit after 20 minutes worked well, although the cakes did take longer than the specified time to completely cook. I will definitely be making this again.
    Tup16's picture
    4th Jul, 2014
    Lovely cake but the cooking time was all wrong, 20 minutes and my cakes were burnt, both in 20cm cake tins....I would suggest 10 mins, then add the raspberries and bake for a further 8-10 mins! Wish I'd checked sooner to save black edges!
    16th Nov, 2012
    Lovely cake, a firm favourite in our household. Equally nice without the cream cheese in the filling - just firmly whip the cream - I didn't have a lemon in - i've been added 2-3 tbsp of lemon curd instead which adds a lovely flavour to the cake
    13th Nov, 2012
    Absolutely wonderful cake! Made this several times now and always comes out beautifully :)
    11th Nov, 2015
    which brand of polenta did you use please? the brand I have is very gritty almost like granulated sugar.
    22nd Feb, 2016
    I used TRS Fine Cornmeal which is sold in Asda in 1.5kg bags. It is very fine and worked really well in this cake. Hope that helps.
    29th Jul, 2012
    A very nice cake indeed, tangy, moist and fruity and not overly sweet. The cheesecake-like filling really sets it apart, giving it a creamy fresh taste and plenty of physical height too! And it really does look gorgeous, especially when cut into to reveal the raspberries throughout. Lovely.
    5th Jul, 2012
    Made this for my 3 year-old's birthday - I drizzled a little lemon icing over the top and stuck in the candles and and the whole family loved it.
    15th Jun, 2012
    Made this for my daughter's birthday and it was a big hit! Made it with all flour, no polenta - was a bit nervous opening the oven to add the raspberries but I was glad I did it looked very professional!


    6th Nov, 2014
    Is the texture meant to be slightly crunchy? We only have 1 type of polenta available here - it's fairly fine but I can feel some of the grain in the finished sponge. I have the option of cornmeal flour, I wonder if this would work? Or if I should substitute half the polenta for ground almonds? Thanks in advance
    goodfoodteam's picture
    20th Nov, 2014
    It sounds like you used the wrong kind of polenta, fine polenta has the texture of flour, use semolina flour if you can find that instead.
    22nd Jun, 2017
    I made this with blueberries instead of raspberries, and it worked just as well. I also used gluten free plain flour to make the whole cake gluten free. I would recommend using two and a half lemon zests in the recipe as I found one and a half didn't give quite enough flavour for me. I also mixed in a couple of teaspoons of poppy seeds for extra crunch.
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