recipe image

  Lemon Lavender Polenta Cake

Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time
    20 minutes
  • Cook time
    45 minutes
  • Serves
Author Notes

This is one of my favorite recipes using lavender—particularly in the springtime when we are looking for fresh and light flavors. Thanks to the polenta/cornmeal used in the recipe, this is a super moist cake, and with a deep lemony flavor and a beautiful hint of lavender that complements the lemon perfectly. Great for spring and summertime get-togethers.

Pairing: Pairs well with Argentine Torrontés, sparkling wines, Champagne with a nice citrus or floral flavor profile, or sherry. —Chrissie

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Chrissie, from Mendoza, Argentina, is the author of a food blog

WHAT: A moist lemony cake with a bright hint of lavender.

HOW: Beat together butter and sugar, then add flour, polenta, baking powder, and an egg. Beat in lemon zest and juice and dried lavender, then bake for 40 minutes. Boil lemon juice and sugar to make a syrup, then pour the syrup over the cake. Sprinkle icing sugar over top, and serve.

WHY WE LOVE IT: As if we weren’t already ready for warm weather, this cake has us dreaming of picnics and summertime dinners with friends. While moist and dense, the addition of the lemon and lavender gives the cake a lightness that makes it ideal for rounding out a large meal. Consider adding some extra lavender if you’re looking for even more of a floral kick. —The Editors

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

  • For the cake

  • 200 grams

    unsalted butter, softened, plus some to grease the cake pan

  • 170 grams

    caster or natural cane sugar

  • 100 grams

    cake flour (all-purpose flour also works)

  • 200 grams

    instant polenta or cornmeal

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 3

    medium eggs

  • 2

    lemons, zest of

  • 1

    lemon, juice of

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried lavender

  • For the syrup

  • 2

    lemons, juice of

  • 125 grams

    caster sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    icing sugar, for serving

  1. Line the base of a 23-centimeter (9-inch) springform cake tin (a slightly smaller one will work as well) with baking parchment and grease sides lightly with butter.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
  3. Beat the butter and sugar till pale and whipped, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, polenta, and baking powder, then beat some of this into the butter/sugar mixture, followed by one egg. Alternate adding dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.
  5. Finally, beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and lavender. Then pour, spoon, or scrape the mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the oven, about 40 minutes. (Please remember that depending on altitude, cooking times can change. Higher altitudes usually require a slightly longer time.)
  6. It may seem a bit wobbly but, if the cake is cooked, a cake tester (I actually just use a slender steak knife) should come out clean. Transfer it from oven to a wire cooling rack, but leave in its tin.
  7. Make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan.
  8. Once the sugar has dissolved into the juice, leave it for about one minute more and then you’re done.
  9. Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester, fork, or skewer. Be careful not to tear the cake too much if using a fork or a skewer, as it is delicate. Pour the warm syrup over the cake, and leave to cool before taking it out of its tin.
  10. Before serving, sprinkle icing sugar (using a sieve) over the top of the cake. Then slice and serve.

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