Top with rhubarb or fill with jam and buttercream to make a celebration cake. Or serve this polenta cake hot with crème Gluten-free rhubarb polenta cakefraîche or custard.


For the polenta cake

  • 200g (7oz) butter, softened
  • 200g (7oz) caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200g (7oz) ground almonds
  • 150g (5oz) polenta (see Sue’s tip, below)
  • 1 level tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • Finely zested rind of 1 lemon

For the poached rhubarb

  • 150g (5oz) caster sugar
  • Zested rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 400-500g (14oz-1lb) rhubarb, cut into pieces
  • 20cm (8in) shallow, round cake tin, preferably loose-bottomed, buttered and base-lined with baking parchment
  • Baking sheet


  1. Set the oven to gas mark 3 or 160°C.
  2. To make the cake: Place the butter in a bowl and add the sugar. Beat the mixture until it’s light and fluffy, preferably using an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and fold in the ground almonds, polenta, baking powder and lemon zest. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  3. Put the tin on the baking sheet, just in case any of the butter runs out during baking. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 1-1¼ hrs, or until the cake feels just firm to the touch in the centre.
  4. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for about 5 mins. Turn it out on to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To poach the rhubarb: Pour 150ml (¼ pint) water into a non-aluminium pan. Add the sugar and the lemon zest and juice. Place the pan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a rapid boil for 1-2 mins. Remove the pan from the heat, and quickly add the rhubarb to the pan. Cover the pan and leave the rhubarb for about 10 mins or until it’s softened. Pour the rhubarb into a bowl and chill it until it’s going to be used.
  6. Make sure that the lining paper is removed from the base of the polenta cake and top with the rhubarb about 10 mins before serving. Spoon over any juices to soak into the cake.
  7. The cake may be made up to 2 days in advance, but only top with the rhubarb just before serving.

Woman’s Weekly cookery editor Sue McMahon says: Polenta is sometimes called cornmeal. It’s possible to buy fine or coarse cornmeal and either will work, although I prefer the fine type as it gives a smoother-textured cake.Extra info: The polenta cake without the topping may be frozen for up to 1 month. Allow the cake to defrost thoroughly before topping with the rhubarb.Nutritional values are for maximum number of servingsFeature: Sue McMahon. Photos: Props stylist: Sue Radcliffe

Nutritional information per portion

fat 26.0g saturates 10.0g calories 428(kcal)

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.