Lemon and zucchini polenta cake

A nonna’s favourite made healthier with the addition of zucchini – and it’s gluten-free to boot!

  • 1 hr 50 mins cooking
  • Serves 12
  • Print
If you prefer your cake without the added vegetables, we also have a lemon polenta cake with lemon compote.
Looking for more polenta recipes?


  • 2 cups (400g) firmly packed coarsely grated zucchini (see notes)
  • 350 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (440g) raw caster sugar
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1½ cups (240g) polenta
  • 3⅓ cups (400g) almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) lemon juice
  • greek-style yoghurt, to serve
Candied lemon slices
  • 3 small lemons (300g), sliced thinly
  • ½ cup (110g) raw caster sugar
Orange blossom syrup
  • 2 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup (360g) honey


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Grease a 7cm-deep, 26cm round springform pan. Line base and sides with three layers of baking paper, extending paper 5cm above the edge.
  • 2
    Squeeze out excess liquid from zucchini and discard liquid. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Beat in one egg at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • 3
    Fold in zucchini, baking powder, polenta, almond meal, rind and juice. Spoon mixture into pan and loosely cover with foil.
  • 4
    Bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • 5
    Make candied lemon slices and orange blossom syrup.
  • 6
    Use a long skewer to pierce surface of hot cake several times. Drizzle with ⅓ cup (80ml) of the hot syrup. Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes.
  • 7
    Transfer cake, top-side up, to a wire rack to cool.
  • 8
    Place cake on a plate or stand. Top with candied lemon slices and yoghurt, then drizzle with remaining syrup.
Candied lemon slices
  • 9
    Increase oven temperature to 200°C/180°C fan. Grease and line 
two oven trays with baking paper. Combine lemon and sugar in a medium bowl. Place slices in a single layer on trays. Bake for 15 minutes or until beginning to brown. Cool.
Orange blossom syrup
  • 10
    Stir ingredients and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan over low heat until melted and combined, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 1 minute.

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