Skip to main content

Lemon & Polenta Tea Cakes

Gluten and diary free tea cakes
My Grandparents as others baked with polenta and corn meal, as this was one of the bi-products of their land and quite simply what was readily available to everyone.  Who would have known then that they were eating what we call today a gluten free diet!  

Cakes were very dense and heavy, but as my father recounts "...when there was hunger everything tasted great."  Now a days we substitute flour with almond meal, but I have never made cakes with polenta.

I came across a recipe that needed to be  modified several times as I wasn't happy with the consistency and heaviness of what should have been 'light cakes'.  I reduced the amount of polenta and increased the almond meal.  

For those who are wheat and lactose intolerant, these are a delicious little treat with a cup of tea. 


90gr almond meal
50gr polenta (super fine)
40gr corn flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100gr castor sugar (super fine)
3 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil ( I found this to be too heavy, and recommend you substitute with vegetable oil)
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
Icing sugar (for dusting)


Beat eggs, oil and sugar until creamy.  Add zest and juice of lemon.  Fold in dry ingredients. Pour into small cake tins. Bake at 180c for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar.  Decorate with fresh lemon rind.

Dust with icing sugar and decorate with fresh lemon rind

If you like more tang you can make a lemon curd and fill them!

Lemon Curd 

6 large lemons
1 1/2 cups (375g) butter, cut
1 kg caster sugar
8 eggs, beaten

Squeeze the juice from the lemons and cut the rinds into thin strips.
Put the lemon juice, lemon rinds, butter, sugar and eggs into the top of a double sauce pan.
Place over very hot (not boiling) water and cook, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved.
Pour the mixture through a strainer and discard the rind.
Return to a clean double sauce pan and cook over very hot water,stirring frequently,until the mixture is thick and smooth
Pour into warm sterilized jars and seal immediately. (Use within four months)



Popular posts from this blog

Panzerotti /Tortelli di Castagne & Cioccolato (Chestnut & chocolate filled morsels)

When I think of chestnuts, I reminisce about my birth town - Domodossola, where I was first introduced to this distinctive flavoured nut.  We were fortunate to live close to Sacro Monte Calvario, a mountain lined with chestnut trees. My mother cooked many dishes which used this flavorsome nut, especially sweets such as these panzerotti di castagne & cioccolato.  Withthis sweet mamma has more recently substituted the chestnut filling with chickpeas as they are readily available all year round and knowing that my papa`enjoys this sweetmade frequently.

Chestnut season is a favourite for our whole family and we are of the belief that if you've never had a freshly roasted chestnut you haven't lived. We often visit Daylesford in country Victoria around autumn to purchase them fresh and enjoy them roasted at the farmers markets.

This recipe is a variation of panzerotti / tortelli di ceci which I have shared previously with you.  The filling is more delicate in texture and lighter t…

Cucina Conversations: Cassatelle Siciliane

Cassatelle are typical Sicilian pastries filled with lemon scented ricotta, and also known as cassateddi in Sicilian dialect.  The name derives from the word cassata, and by adding the diminutive suffix ‘ella’ you get the word cassatella, a smaller individual serving. An assortment of these pastries can be found in different regions of Sicily and are considered traditional deserts for the Carnevale and Easter period. In researching this topic, I become enthralled by the history behind the most complex of cassate from Palermo through to these more simple-to-make pastries from Siracusa, and therefore could not help but share some of its history with you.
Sicily is known as the sweets centre of Italy, and it appears that the most colourful and famous cassatasiciliana in all its glory, is one of the reasons.  It is believed to have originated in Palermo, made with sheep’s milk ricotta – at its richest and herbaceous during Spring; and containing other ingredients prevalent to the area suc…

Cucina Conversations:Pasta Mollicata (Pasta with Breadcrumbs)

We begin 2018’s Cucina Conversations calendar with the notion of ‘waste not, want not’. The subject here being stale bread or pane raffermo as it is known in Italian; and the endless uses of this staple ingredient found in every kitchen I’m sure.  Many would agree that it should never be thrown out just because it has passed its prime, in fact my nonne considered and mamma still believes that throwing out old bread is sacrilegious due to its religious significance.

One of the best things about bread second to enjoying it freshly baked, is its amazing ability to absorb other flavours and ingredients better when at least a day old. If you are not a big fan of day old bread, the simplest thing you can do with it is to turn it into bread crumbs, so don't throw it out. It has however subsequent thrifty uses and found in many Italian recipes. This month we share a few of those recipes and show you how a simple stale ingredient such as bread can be turned into a delicious meal.
I’ve ch…