Lemon Poppy Seed and Polenta Cake

Frank Bordoni's poppy seed-speckled polenta and lemon cake is sandwiched together with a zingy lemon filling
By Frank Bordoni
Lemon Poppy Seed and Polenta Cake
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8-10
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the cake

  • 115 g polenta
  • 40 g poppy seeds
  • 175 g milk
  • 200 g butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 170 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 115 g flour
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 lemons, juice only, enough to make 125ml

For the filling

  • 1.5 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

To serve

  • crème fraîche
  • sprigs mint


1. Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2, and line a 20cm round cake tin with baking parchment.

2. For the sponge, grind the polenta in a food processor until it resembles the texture of flour. Combine the poppy seeds and milk in a bowl, stir and set aside.

3. With an electric whisk, beat the butter, lemon rind and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and continue to beat well.

4. Sieve the flour, polenta and baking powder into the butter mixture, and fold in. Stir in the lemon juice, poppy seeds and milk, and spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin.

5. Bake for about 1 hour, until firm to the touch. When a skewer is poked into the centre of the cake, it should come out clean.

6. For the filling, place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Tip the flour, lemon juice, zest, sugar, egg yolk and butter into the bowl and whisk until thick. Remove from the heat and leave on one side until it has cooled to room temperature.

7. To assemble, slice the cake in half horizontally, and spread a thick layer of the filling over the bottom layer. Replace the top half of the cake, dust lightly with icing sugar, and cut into generous wedges.

8. Serve with a spoonful of crème fraiche and decorate with a sprig of mint.

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