Santa Clara University


Nonno's polenta cake recipe

From Cooking Dinner: Simple Italian Family Recipes Everyone Can Make (Mega Productions, 2009)

Prep Time: 20 Minutes • Cook Time: 60 minutes • Serves: 12

Photo: Michael Collopy

Also known as Amor di Polenta, this recipe is named for all grandfathers who appreciate a great dessert and specifically for Claudia’s father, Mario, who is from the town of Bergamo, Italy, where this recipe originated. It is very simple to prepare and the hint of lemon makes it a refreshing dessert. Serve by itself or with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries.



  • 1 cup butter, 2 sticks, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted before measuring
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal, fine grind
  • Additional powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10 x 4-inch loaf pan.

Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer for several minutes until fluffy. Slowly add the sugar. Beat for several minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon zest.

Meanwhile, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cornmeal in a mixing bowl. Add to creamed butter and sugar. Mix on low speed until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer cake to a rack to cool. With a knife, cut around pan sides to loosen it, then turn out. Remove from pan and dust with powdered sugar.