This recipe for lemon marmalade and polenta cake is deliciously decadent and so easy to make. The syrup soaks into this gluten-free cake making it perfect for tea or dessert. Serve with whipped cream.

Lemon marmalade and polenta cake

Lemon marmalade and polenta cake

This recipe comes from Chris Hoffmann of Cafe des Arts in Franschhoek which is sadly now closed.

The cake paired beautifully with the 2012 Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Pinot Noir Chardonnay.

*If you are in any way apprehensive about making marmalade and think it’s too complicated, don’t be. This is terribly easy to do, it just takes a little time for the lemon to boil. The zesty jam and lemony sauce make this cake quite delectable.

Recipe | Serves 6 – 8


Lemon marmalade polenta cake

A dense and delicious gluten-free lemon marmalade polenta cake

  • Author: Sam Linsell


For the lemon marmalade:

2 lemons, thinly sliced

220 g sugar

375 ml (1½ cup) water

For the cake:

200 g soft butter

200 g castor sugar

200 g ground almonds

100 g fine polenta

7,5 ml (1½ tsp) baking powder

3 large eggs

grated zest of 2 lemons

For the syrup:

juice of 2 lemons

125 g icing sugar

double cream, to serve


Preheat the oven to 160 °C. Line the bottom and sides of a 23 cm spring form tin with baking paper.

For the glazed lemon topping, place the lemon slices in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and add the sugar and water. Boil for 30 minutes or until a syrupy consistency.

Lift the lemon slices out of the syrup and allow to cool on baking paper.

Reduce the leftover lemon syrup until halved and reserve for later.

For the cake, cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.

Combine the almonds, polenta, and baking powder. While whisking, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the eggs.

Whisk in the lemon zest and spoon into the prepared tin. Bake for 40 minutes. The cake may seem unstable but is ready when a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Place on a wire rack to cool in the tin.

For the syrup, bring the lemon juice and icing sugar to a boil. Prick the top of the cake with a cake tester and pour the warm syrup over the cake. Leave to cool before taking it out of its tin. Serve the cake topped with glazed lemons, extra lemon syrup, and double cream.

Lemon marmalade and polenta cake

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  1. hmmm… another hard day at the office! Have just received a huge bag of lemons from my niece in Graaf Reinet so know exactly what to do with them now. Thanks Sam!

  2. Sam

    Enjoy Sue. I want to use this recipe as a base for an orange marmalade, it really came out so well and the jam part set nicely.

  3. Sam

    Thanks Kiran, its time for me to get going with some orange marmalade now x

  4. Sam

    Thanks Laura, I was quite amazed at how easy it was to make and how delicious. Definitely going to b e trying an orange marmalade with the oranges from my tree. x

  5. Sam, does this cake keep well? I want to make it for lunch on Sunday and we have a power outage that day. So need to bake today or tomorrow. I have a tree full of beautiful lemons, so can’t wait to taste this.

  6. Sam

    Hi Beryl, this cake is so moist it will keep for week. No problem to make it a couple of days in advance.

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