This recipe is from OUR TAMARAMA KITCHEN a fabulous new cookbook by Joanna Cooper, photographed and designed by Vanessa Rowe. A book that unites a deep friendship, love of delicious and wholesome food and commitment towards community. 


I love anything lemony and this cake really does hit the spot! It is also gluten free, so it’s perfect for my gluten free friends to enjoy. It is an adaption of my two favourite lemon polenta recipes, the River Café’s and Nigella Lawson. I hope you love this as much as I do. 





  • 200g soft unsalted butter
  • 200g raw caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla essence or 1.5 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 200g finely ground almonds or almond meal
  • 100g fine polenta (buy as fine as you can as it affects the texture of the cake, if you can’t find any, blend up the coarse polenta to a finer meal)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (gluten free)
  • Pinch Himalayan salt
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest 2 lemons and juice 1 lemon
  • Zest 2 limes


  • Juice 1 lemon
  • Juice 1.5 limes
  • 125g icing sugar (gluten free)
  • To serve with - some ideas
  • Coconut flour or pure icing sugar to dust the top of the cake Thick creamy yoghurt or coconut yoghurt 


Pre heat oven to 180 ̊C.

Line the base of a springform cake tin (approximately 23cm or 26cm diameter) with baking paper and grease the sides with grape seed or any other bland oil. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste or essence and beat. In a separate bowl, mix together the almond meal, fine polenta, salt and baking powder. Add some of this mixture into the butter and sugar mixture, followed by one egg then alternate the dry ingredients with the eggs, beating well after each. Remove the beaters and zest the limes and lemons directly into the bowl. Add the lemon juice. Stir well and scrape the mixture into your prepared cake tin, smoothing it out.

Cook for about 30-35 minutes.

You will know when the cake is ready as the edges will come away from the sides and the cake will be a deep brown colour on top. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on top of a cold tea towel, leaving the cake in its tin.

To make the syrup, in a small saucepan add the icing sugar and juice of the lemons and limes. Place the pan on a low heat. Using a whisk, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Once dissolved, take it off the heat. Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester and pour the warm syrup over the cake. Leave to cool in the tin, before taking it out. Just prior to serving, dust with icing sugar or coconut flour and serve with creamy thick yoghurt or try coconut yoghurt for a dairy free alternative.

Dairy free (if not using yoghurt to serve with) Gluten free

Prep Time

10 mins

Cook Time

30-35 mins