Nigella's Warm Raspberry and Lemon Polenta Cake recipe

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Tangy raspberries and lemon combine with sweet almonds and polenta to make this wonderfully textured cake. I'd been baking it for years before realising that it's both dairy and gluten free.

  • Prep15m
  • Cook50m
  • Total1h 5m

The selection of cake recipes on Nigella’s website and in her cookbooks is a wondrous thing. Some cakes get all the attention, like Chocolate Guinness or Nutella Cheesecake, but I love the understated cakes like Sunken Chocolate Amaretto, Chai Tea Muffins and this Warm Lemon and Raspberry Cake.

Okay, I like all the cakes that don’t need to be decorated but this cake is beautifully flavoured and has a lovely texture thanks to the polenta. I’ve made it many times and always had great feedback.

I’m glad that the recipe uses frozen raspberries because I hardly ever buy fresh ones but I nearly always have a bag in my freezer. When folding the raspberries into the batter, set aside a handful to scatter over the batter before the cake goes into the oven. This helps to distribute the raspberries more evenly otherwise they tend to sink to the bottom.


You'll need a 20cm square cake tin (mine is loose bottomed)

The original instructions advise baking the cake for 40 minutes but in my non-fan-assisted oven the cake takes 50 minutes to fully cook. I cover it with foil after 35 minutes to stop the top from burning.

The cake keeps for up to 2 days at room temperature or 5 days in the fridge and it freezes well.

Recipe credit

Simply Nigella (affiliate link) by Nigella Lawson


Nigella's Warm Raspberry and Lemon Polenta Cake

  • Prep15m
  • Cook50m
  • Total1h 5m
Serves: 16


  • 150ml light olive oil (plus more for greasing)
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 75g polenta (not instant)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs (large)
  • 150g frozen raspberries


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and line the bottom of a 20cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper. Lightly grease the insides of the cake tin with light olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix 150ml of light olive oil, the zest from 1 lemon (save the juice for later) and 125g of caster sugar.
  3. In a medium bowl, add 150g of ground almonds, 75g of polenta, ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Mix well then whisk a tablespoon of the almond mixture into the olive oil mixture (I use a balloon whisk).
  4. Crack 1 egg (3 in total) into the olive oil mixture along with a third of the ground almond mixture and whisk. Repeat until all 3 eggs and the almond mixture have been used up. The batter should be a cheerful yellow and fairly liquid.
  5. Gently fold most of the frozen raspberries into the batter then pour the batter into the prepared baking tin. Scatter over the remaining raspberries then transfer to the oven to bake for 40-50 minutes but check the cake after 35 minutes. In my oven the cake has usually browned enough by this point so I cover the top loosely with foil to stop it from burning while it continues to bake. The cake is done when it’s slightly pulling away from the edges of the tin and a cake tester comes out fairly cleanly (a few sticky crumbs are okay).
  6. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour over the juice from 1 lemon and allow the cake to cool a little in its tin. This cake is meant to be eaten warm but I think it tastes just as good cold. I cut the cake into 16 squares but you could cut it into 9 larger squares or 18 fingers.

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