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Ricotta-polenta cake with lemon-rosemary syrup

Enjoy a slice of this fragrant, versatile cake at any time of day. And you can make the whole thing in just over an hour.

By Emma Knowles
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 50 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 8 - 10
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Ricotta-polenta cake with lemon-rosemary syrup
This tangy ricotta-polenta cake is just as good served a day or two after baking as it is served warm. Although once you've finished drizzling the sweet and herbal lemon-rosemary syrup over it, you'll find it difficult to stop at one slice.


  • 150 gm softened butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 120 gm honey
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 3 lemons
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 400 gm firm ricotta
  • 200 gm almond meal
  • 180 gm fine polenta
  • 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary, plus 3 extra sprigs
  • 330 gm caster sugar (1½ cups)
  • Flaked almonds, for scattering
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 150°C and butter the base of a 26cm diameter cake tin (we used a fluted tin) and line it with baking paper. Beat butter, honey and lemon rind in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes), scrape down sides of bowl, then add yolks one at a time, beating well between additions. Transfer to a large bowl, fold in ricotta, then almond meal, polenta, rosemary and a pinch of salt.
  • 2
    Whisk eggwhites and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer to soft peaks, then gradually whisk in 110gm sugar and whisk until glossy (1-2 minutes). Fold into ricotta mixture, then spoon batter into tin, smooth top and scatter with almonds. Bake until golden and a skewer withdraws clean (45-50 minutes). Remove from oven and pierce all over with a skewer.
  • 3
    Stir lemon juice, remaining sugar and 80ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla bean and seeds, bring to the boil and cook until a light syrup forms (4-5 minutes). Discard vanilla bean, add rosemary sprigs and pour half over cake. Chill remaining.
  • 4
    Serve cake warm or at room temperature drizzled with remaining syrup.


Drink Suggestion: Fruity prosecco Drink suggestion by Max Allen