Upside-Down Citrus Polenta Cake


  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • ½ cup almonds, finely groud
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ sour cream
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 lemons, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup polenta (yellow cornmeal)


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 inch springform pan. Heat 1 ¼ cup water and ¾ cup sugar in a large frying pan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the syrup begins to thicken. Add the lemons and simmer for about 8 minutes, turning once, until the lemon peel is tender. Using tongs, remove the lemon slices from the syrup and press them, overlapping, onto the bottom and sides of the prepared pan. Return the syrup to medium heat and stir in the remaining water. Simmer until the syrup is pale gold. Carefully spoon the syrup over the lemon slices int he pan. Stir together the flour, polenta, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter, remaining sugar, lemon zest, and lemon extract in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating at low speed, gradually beat int he dry ingredients, alternating with the sour cream and lemon juice. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake int he pan for 15 minutes. Loosen and remove the pan sides. Invert onto a serving dish. Serve warm.