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Lemon polenta cakes

December 4, 2009

I love lemon polenta cakes. The deli up the road makes a really nice lemon polenta slice and I have tried (mostly unsuccesfully) to create it at home. I suspect their verison has about twice the butter I am willing to put into a cake. Luckily I can just go and buy a slice and pretend ignorance while I eat it!

And then I spotted the Manna from Heaven recipe for the little lemon polenta cakes they make and supply to just about every cafe in Sydney in a NQN post. My kids love these tiny little morsels so I knew I had to make them. They turned out brilliantly – better than the cafe version (although a bit more rustic looking) if I say so myself. In fact, they were actually nicer the next day and they kept really well for a week. They retained their moistness and the lemon flavour got a little stronger as the week wore on. Makes me wonder just how old those cafe versions are, as they are invariably quite dry when we buy them. I took the lazy option and didn’t line my cupcake tins…which I usually do but in a pique of extraordinary laziness decided to skip. Mistake. They were hard little beasties to get out and resulted in the ‘rustic’ look. Next time I will take the extra thirty seconds and line the trays.

Manna from Heaven’s Lemon Polenta Cakes (slightly modified to have less butter and sugar – I can’t help myself! – and retold in my slap dash way)

  • 200g  butter at room temperature
  • 190g caster or superfine sugar
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 110g ground almond
  • 110g shredded coconut
  • 110g fine polenta
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemon
  • 2.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract


  • 200g icing confectioner’s sugar, sieved
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 150 C.

Cream the butter and sugar together for just a minute or two. Fold in the rest of the ingredients. Spray your mini muffin tin with some oil or butter them well. Better yet, use some muffin liners as these are hard little beasties to get out of the tray. Spoon some mixture into the tray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow them to cook while you mix up the icing.

For the icing you could get all fancy and sift and strain…or you could do what I did. Put the icing sugar in a bowl and squeeze the lemon over the bowl (pick out the seeds). Stir and keep adding juice until it gets to a thick but runny cream consistency. Spoon over the little cakes.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2009 5:45 PM

    So glad that you liked them! I think they’re brilliant and better because they’re so freshly made. Love these little cakies (and yes lining the tins helps to avoid morbid disappointment at the end when they don’t come out!) 🙂

  2. December 6, 2009 8:47 PM

    Anything lemony…gets my vote. Plus its gluten free….and while I have no gluten allergies, I think its important to experience the spectrum of baking with various flours. Well done

  3. December 9, 2009 1:15 PM

    I wondered how NQN’s cakes were. I’ve never had polenta cakes, but now I’m so intrigued. I’m glad you tested them out.

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