polenta pudding cake

April 2, 2014 § 74 Comments

Here is a wonderful citrusy pudding cake for you to try.  This lemony pudding cake shares flavor characteristics of a lemon meringue, however, setting it apart is the wonderfully textured little bits of corn polenta.  Perhaps I should have used a fine grain polenta but  didn’t have any on hand.  The recipe didn’t specify, so I used what we had and enjoyed the tiny crunchy bits!


I was visiting my favorite second hand store a few weeks ago and stumbled upon and purchased a gorgeous hand thrown mug and a copy of My French Kitchen, written by Joanne Harris & Fran Warde.  After skimming through the cookbook I have eighteen page flagged recipes.  A delightful cookbook for only two dollars!  This pudding cake is the third recipe I have prepared from the book and all have turned out beautifully.  I have fifteen more to go and I’ll certainly be sharing the recipes here.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the dish
  • 1 -1/4 cups sugar, preferably superfine
  • 3 lemons
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 1/4 cups ground almonds (use a food processor)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Heavy creams, to serve

Heat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly butter an 8 inch pie plate.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.  Finely grate the lemon zest from 2-1/2 lemons and then juice the lemons.  Add the zest and juice to the creamed butter and mix.  Thinly slice the remaining 1/2 lemon and set aside.  Beat in the eggs – the mixture will curdle, but do not worry, this is normal.  Then beat in the the polenta and ground almonds.  Finally, fold in the flour with a large spoon.

Transfer the batter to the pie plate, arrange the lemon slices on top and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Serve warm with a pitcher of cream for pouring.




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§ 74 Responses to polenta pudding cake

  • Lisa says:

    How fantastic! I love this idea. A little texture in dishes is usually such a great thing :)

    • I agree, texture is very nice and not sure if everyone would like it in a cake, but we did. A little like a coarse grain corn bread, but lemony.

      • Lisa says:

        I must say, one of the things I miss from Lithuanian cuisine is the texture. I had one of the most fabulous cheesecakes there – less sweet, of course, but more textured – and it was incredible. So much more interest in each bite than the whipped-to-oblivion American variety. Both are nice but texture is a great change. I’m sure I would love this!

  • birgerbird says:

    So funny, I just made a cake just like this last week (Noe Valley Yogurt Polenta Cake)! And was it ever delicious. I used yogurt and so the recipe is different, but I wanted citrus in there too. Don’t you just love polenta baked into things? It’s sweet, dense and so delicious, plus the textural element is great!

    • This is the first time I used polenta in baking and yes! we thought it was wonderful. Just love a rustic cake, dense and textural are perfect descriptions of this one. :)

  • I’m not usually a polenta fan… but I’ll give this go.

  • Shari Kelley says:

    What a beautiful creation! How great to get a cookbook with wonderful recipes for such an inexpensive price. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • Thank you Shari! I was so happy when I found this cookbook. The recipes are so simple and rustic. The photography is wonderful too. I’m inspired to continue my discoveries of French cooking.

  • Ngan R. says:

    I have definitely never made anything like this cake and am excited to try it. This cake has so many flavors and ingredients I love–polenta, almond flour, and lemons! Yum. I’m wondering if I can halve the recipe (since I don’t think we can finish such a large pudding cake….)? I’ll have to experiment!

  • thebrookcook says:

    Beautiful! I love polenta and cornmeal baked into things… yum! :)

    • Thank you…me too. I’ve only made cornbread as far as baking with corn meal, so this was a nice discovery to add lots of eggs and lemon. Thank you for your comment! :)

  • birgerbird says:

    by the way I absolutely love this theme you are using in wordpress. I just previewed it with my blog and now I am in for trouble. :)

  • I love all the lovely citrus recipes that I am seeing. Love this cake it sounds so good. I love using polenta or cornmeal in cakes. I made a gluten free nectarine upside down cake with cornmeal and gluten free flour, I love that you used almond meal. I will have to try that.

    • I’ve noticed that too Suzanne! And for some reason I have been buying more lemons than usual, must need the extra vitamin C. Nectarine upside down cake sounds wonderful. There was another cake I made from this book that was fabulous, made with almond meal. I like baking without flour!

  • Bobbi says:

    Another good recipe you’ve shared that will make a lovely spring or summertime dessert.

    I love it when I find vintage cookbooks at a deal. I have several in my cookbook collection; many which I have found some unique and tasty recipes.

    I have a soft spot for lemons… I love the flavor and the bright color of the peel; not to mention, they brighten up a room by just sitting in a bowel atop a kitchen counter/table.

    • I agree, a bowl full of lemons is a happy sight! I don’t usually shop for cookbooks at the second hand shops, dishes, yes! We enjoy cooking with lemons more now than ever, for some reason. Must be needing the citrus. :)

  • I get along with polenta. It makes me feel home. Polenta is the only food I eat when I’m sick. Your cake remind me the italian cake known as “amor polenta”…. almonds, sugar, butter… should I add something more? almond and corn flour give to the cake an amazing crunchiness, not so easy to find in some other cakes. I’m sure that that crunchiness together with lemon flavour is an authentic dream!

    • Polenta brings great comfort to me as well. I’ll do a little search on “amor polenta” I like the sound of those ingredients in combination. The lemon was such a delight in this cake. Another comment (below) mentioned using oranges in this cake too. I like that idea as well.

  • What a beautiful cake! The texture sounds wonderful—using ground almonds is always a great idea in a cake like this. It may be interesting to substitute the lemon juice/peels for whole oranges (in a food processor) for a different flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lovely polenta cake! And what a great deal with the cookbook. :)

    • Thank you. It’s a first for me to try and I’m sure I’ll be making more polenta cakes! Lovely texture and density. A perfect cake to mix together in a last minute crunch.

  • Valerie says:

    I was watching the Food Network the other day and a debate came on about whether polenta was a vehicle for sweet or savory flavors. I gravitate toward using it as a savory canvas (cheese, bacon, shrimp!) but this recipe could sway me!

    • Before I made this cake I would answered savory…for sure! I haven’t even heard of polenta in a cake before I found this recipe. I love polenta so I just had to try this and it really is lovely. Sway away and make one today! :) (totally cheesy, I know)

  • Nice dessert and a pleasnt change from the run-of-the-mill desserts. Italian cooking often uses polenta in desserts.

    • Looks like I need to do a little investigating on Italian desserts using polenta because I was quite smitten with this cake. We love the texture and flavor of the coarse grain polenta in this cake.

  • The second hand stores are my favorite places to visit. It’s like a treasure hunt.
    That’s one nice recipe. The polenta in a cake is an awesome idea.

    • I used to spend quite a bit of time at the second hand stores. That was when I was filling my cupboards up with plates, bowls, cups and whatnot. Now I am out of room and had to stop. :) Occasionally I like to stop in and see what treasures I can dig up.

  • Wow! What a novel way to use polenta. This sounds amazing…perfect for a spring tea party actually! :)

    • Spring tea party sounds so fun! I can just picture the lovely napkins, plates and cups. And yes, this cake too. :) Thank you for stopping in and leaving me with a nice image of a spring tea party!

  • ladyredspecs says:

    I made a flourless syrup cake from Nigella Lawson’s last week with the exact same ingredients (minus flour) which was absolutely delicious. We too loved the texture the polenta gave to the cake. The pudding sounds YUM!

    • Oh wow! That’s amazing. I would love that recipe Sandra. I’m always looking for no flour desserts,we just just really like skipping the extra carbs…if you know what I mean! :) Did you post it by chance?

      • ladyredspecs says:

        No I haven’t yet, but google Nigella’s lemon polenta cake and you’ll find it for sure. I am going to try adapting it to exclude almonds. One daughter has an allergy and I thought it would be a great birthday cake for next month, so it was a trial run. Standby

  • Polenta, lemon and pudding. I know this is French, but it seems almost like a gorgeous Italian dessert. I cannot argue with butter, sugar and lemons. I’ll be over for tea shortly, Seana. Warmest wishes, Shanna

    • Hello Shanna. I am learning today this does resemble an Italian dessert. I must do some research because my most favorite food in the world is Italian food. And don’t you wish we could sit down for tea today? It would be such a lovely time. :)

  • flippenblog says:

    Aaah. So full of yellow goodness. Beautiful.

  • That looks incredible! How delicious!

  • It looks fantastic and so yummy with citrus!

  • Liz says:

    a lovely two-fer you have here: a fabulous and unique and creative dessert AND a vintage cookbook deal. You got it goin’ on ;-) Have only baked polenta into biscotti, but I think a cake is also a lovely idea. And you’ve paired flavors so nicely.

  • saucygander says:

    What an intriguing cake! I love a polenta pastry from David Lebovitz, and I think I will like the polenta crunch in a cake as well.

    • Hi Saucy! Let’s talk about intriguing cake….if you can believe it I woke up this morning thinking about your cake! What a work of art. I keep trying to imagine myself building a cake like that and for some reason the leaning tower of pisa keeps coming to mind. Yes, that would be the end results for me! I’ll have to look for David Lebovitz’s polenta pastry…sounds great!

      • saucygander says:

        Hahaha, leaning tower of pisa cake. Now THAT would be something! Maybe that can be my next birthday cake project … with fondant icing looking like marble! The ideas you give me! :-)

  • Beautiful and so different from any baked dessert I’ve tried. Love the citrus flavors and the crunch from the polenta.

    • Thank you. Those were the two elements that made this cake so wonderful. Citrus and crunch. Well, and the 4 eggs! I’ll make this one again and again. Great dessert for guests, because like you said it really is different from typical baked desserts. :)

  • Amanda says:

    Wow. This looks so good. What an interesting combination, polenta and lemon. It’s almost like that deadly Mexican lime and corn that makes everything taste like candy. I think I would love this cake. I love that you found this cookbook randomly. Maybe I should look into it!

  • This cake looks lovely! I love the simplicity of your photos :) Beautiful!

  • Sophie33 says:

    A lovely tasty special cake! I love it too! I am so going to make it tomorrow,…ooh yeah! x

  • Jody and Ken says:

    Polenta in all forms… rules. I love polenta cakes and puddings. This sounds grand. I seem to think I’ve seen something in Italy, with perhaps blood oranges used instead of the regular ones. This looks delicious in any event. Thanks. I may need to track down that book. Ken

    • I agree, polenta rules. :) Well, I can just picture a similar cake with blood oranges, how marvelous would the color contrast be with the yellow pudding cake and the vibrant blood oranges. Taking it to the next level of beauty for sure. Thank you for visiting Ken, and your kind comment.

  • Oh my yes I must try this recipe. I am just in love with anything made with cornmeal or polenta, especially desserts. This looks just wonderful.

  • ChgoJohn says:

    Polenta is very big in my family and I cannot wait to give this a try and share it with Zia. She’s going to love it. Well, I will, too. ;)

  • Karen says:

    I had an orange cornmeal cake at a restaurant years ago that I loved. I can’t wait to try this cake as I think it will be similar.

  • This is such a beautiful cake…and I can only imagine how delicious it must have been! A citrusy cornbread of sorts.. Just lovely. xx

  • How lovely and citrusy! Looks so incredibly delicious. Like you I love to buy cookbooks at tag sales too! Sometimes you end up with such treasures! :)

  • This looks delicious! I want it right now! :)

  • […] This recipe was inspired by the cookbook, My French Kitchen, which I bought after reading about it on the beautiful (and highly inspirational) Seattle-based food blog Cottage Grove House. […]

  • […] This recipe was inspired by the cookbook, My French Kitchen, which I bought after reading about it on the beautiful (and highly inspirational) Seattle-based food blog Cottage Grove House. […]

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