Lemon polenta cake with vanilla cream cheese icing

March 27, 2020 (Last Updated: March 21, 2020)
Lemon polenta cake with vanilla cream cheese icing

Weekend baking plans, sorted.

Recipe and Styling by Nomvuselelo Mncube

Photograph by Hema Patel

Lemon polenta cake with vanilla cream cheese icing

Serves: 8
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins



  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 50g white sugar

  • 230g softened butter + extra, to grease
  • 230g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 120g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 190g fine polenta
  • zest of 1 lemon

  • 225g (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 230g cream cheese
  • 230g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract



For the caramelised lemon slices, place a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Dip the lemon slices into the white sugar, coating both sides, and place in the pan.


Cook until the sugar starts to melt and caramelise around the edges, 1 – 2 minutes. Turn the lemon slices and cook until browned, another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place the lemon slices on a rack to cool.


For the cake, preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm cake tin with baking paper.


Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the 230g softened butter and the castor sugar until pale yellow, light and fluffy. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice while mixing.


Add the 2 tsp vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until thoroughly combined. Stir in the baking powder, ground almonds, salt, polenta and lemon zest.


Spoon into the prepared tin and level out the top. Bake in the preheated oven until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, 30 – 40 minutes. Remove from tin and place on a rack to cool.


For the vanilla cream cheese icing, using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the 225g (1 cup) softened butter, cream cheese, icing sugar and 1½ tsp vanilla extract. Refrigerate or about 20 minutes to firm up. Spread over the top of the cooled cake and garnish with the caramelised lemon slices.

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