Recipe: Almond Polenta Cake

Nancy Meyer

Nancy Meyer › Nancy Meyer has a true passion for food. Her career began as a Home Economics teacher ...


An almond polenta cake is easy to make and keeps beautifully, making it a great recipe for holiday entertaining.

This cake isn’t overly sweet, pulling more flavor from the rich almonds and nutty polenta, so it transitions well from brunch to dinner.

It’s also an excellent addition to afternoon teas, perfectly complimenting the flavor of bergamot or a bracing mint.

Serve the almond polenta cake at room temperature either alone or with a dish of freshly whipped cream and a simple compote of seasonal fruit. Your guests are sure to appreciate the understated elegance.

Makes one 8-inch cake

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup finely ground polenta
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons melted, for pan
1 cup sugar, plus more for pan
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon organic almond extract


Preheat oven to 325°. Spread sliced almonds in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl; set aside to cool. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, finely grind whole almonds; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, polenta, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Pour melted butter into an 8-by-2-inch round cake pan, swirling to coat bottom and brushing up sides of the pan. Sprinkle with sugar and toasted sliced almonds; set aside.

Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Beat in orange juice, almond and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients, slowly beating just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer baking pan to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan, and cool completely.

Have you made an almond polenta cake before? What’s your favorite way to serve it?

Photo Credit: Nancy Meyer

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