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Lemony Polenta Cake

Extra-virgin olive oil and sugar combine to put a crisp sweet crust on this crumbly treat. The cool simplicity of the unsweetened cream nicely complements the tangy cake.

slideshow Beautiful Desserts

  • Servings: 8

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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup polenta
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Sift together the flour, polenta, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and vanilla.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the granulated sugar at medium speed until thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the oil mixture and the lemon zest. Gently fold in the dry ingredients just until blended.
  3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the center springs back when lightly pressed. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the side and let cool completely.
  4. In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and sift the confectioners' sugar over the top. Serve with the whipped cream.


Olive Oil Make the cake with a buttery extra-virgin olive oil; do not use a pungent oil.

Suggested Pairing

This soft, mildly sweet polenta cake needs a slightly sweet wine, such as a chilled glass of fruity Italian Moscato, to add the desired flourish to the dessert.

Contributed By Published April 1998

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