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Lemon Cornmeal Cake inspired by Nigella's Lemon Polenta Cake

I love baking and I love lemony things! So it was natural to pair the two in this moist Lemon Cornmeal cake that is inspired by Nigella Lawson's Lemon Polenta Cake. It makes for a wonderful, soft, nutty bite along with tea.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: international
Keyword: cake, cornmeal, lemon, nigella lawson, polenta
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Kanika Samra


  • Oven
  • Stand mixer or whisk and mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Zester or stand grater



  • 1 cup Olive Oil Best when baked with Olive Oil but can be replaced with any other light tasting cooking oil
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Cornmeal Finely ground
  • 1 cup Almond meal Or grind them at home, might be oily.
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 lemons Zest
  • 1 lemon Juiced
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Sugar syrup

  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 lemon Juice


  • Pre heat the oven to 350 F.

Cake batter

  • Start by oil to the bowl and then 1 cup of sugar. Cream the sugar by whiskig well until frothy.
  • Beat in the eggs – one at a time.
  • Then add vanilla essence and mix well.
  • Measure cornmeal and almonds in a bowl, to that add baking powder.
  • Add flour mix to the egg in your mixer or bowl. Do it in three to four parts. Add a bit of it, mix well and continue until all of it has been added to the batter.
  • Finally, add the juice of 1 lemon along with the rind. Mix well by folding, instead of whisking.
  • Transfer to the baking tin and bake for about 40 minutes. Use a cake tester/ toothpick to check the cake.

Sugar Syrup

  • Prepare a sugar syrup by heating juice of one lemon with 1/2 cup sugar until all the sugar dissolves.

Finishing and Serving the Cake

  • Poke a few holes in the cake and spread the syrup all over.Let it soak the syrup and cool down completely before taking it out of the pan and slicing.The syrup gives this cake a beautiful sheen.


  1. About using oil – Nigella recommends oil for making the cake lactose/dairy free. If you have browsed other cake recipes, you know I use only oil. Olive oil makes any cake light, airy and incredibly soft. Try it!
  2. I ground almonds at home for this cake without blanching them. If you have almonds, do this or use store-bought almond meal.
  3. If you are allergic – Don’t Use ALMONDS!
  4. Instead increase the amount of cornmeal. Almonds are used to add flavour to the cake. IF the almond meal is not too fine, then it adds some crunch. Increasing the amount of cornmeal to compensate will not affect the overall impact of creating a granular, citrus cake.