Polenta cake with nuts crumbly and rustic

Polenta cake with nuts crumbly and rustic

By 14/10/2015

My grandmother came from a little village in the countryside, in a place where you would only see the odd tractor passing by every 3 hours or so.

She was very advanced for those days, in the 70s, when less people knew about healthy eating. She fully embraced a macrobiotic diet to survive her serious chronic gut problems and she was successful. Even her dog was given potatoes with vegetables, meat and polenta for lunch which she would cook up for him. That dog lived until he was 16. We thought granny was kind of batty and too fixated with her diets but we also felt this was part of her charm. Despite her weak constitution she peacefully died aged 90 with no signs of dementia whatsoever.

She just sprang to my mind today when her handwritten recipe just magically fell from a book whilst I was tidying up. It was her polenta cake with nuts which so must reminds me of my time with her.

This cake resembles very much the Italian Sbrisolona cake but as this was her own recipe and slightly different from the original I won't call it like that.

Whatever the name if you make this you will enjoy it. It is rustic, crumbly and moreish, one of those wholesome rustic cakes which "taste" of grandma!


  • Prep Time : 20 minutes
  • Cook Time : 40 minutes



Take the butter out of the fridge to soften a little. Grind the nuts using a food processor.

ground nuts











Corn flour has a more rustic and heavier consistency than ordinary wheat flour. This will give the cake a very interesting texture.

Polenta flour

In a bowl work the butter with the sugar, the egg, the ground nuts and the vanilla until soft and creamy.

stiring eggs, nuts, butter and sugar

Add the polenta and the plain flour with the baking powder and mix well.

combining well the mixture

Put the mixture on a round baking tin (26 cm or 10 inch diameter) covered with parchment paper. Use your hands to spread it well and evenly on your tin.

pastry on mold

Gently press a handful of whole nuts on top and cook at 180C - 350F for 40 minutes.

When the cake has cooled down sprinkle it with a little powdered sugar.

Polenta Cake Recipe

Polenta Cake Recipe

I am entering this to "Bake of the Week" and to "Simply Eggcellent" with Dom.

Casa Costello

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20 Responses to Polenta cake with nuts crumbly and rustic

  1. Lucy @ BakingQueen74

    I love the sound of this cake (I also have some polenta flour to use up – perfect!). it is lovely that you found your grandmother’s recipe too, what a great reminder.

    • Alida

      Thank you Lucy.

  2. La cucina di Molly

    Bravissima tua nonna, che dolce delizioso e genuino! Le ricette delle nonne sono una garanzia, loro sicuro che sapevano mangiar sano! Un abbraccio!

  3. Elisabetta

    Simply beautiful recipe from a very special lady. It must have meant so much baking this cake recently. What a lovely post ….

    • Alida

      Grazie mia cara x

  4. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Ciao, Alida…
    Your words that you describe your granny and this cake are so beautiful. I could just see what your granny must have looked like…God bless her..I can understand how precious she must have been to you and your family. Strange that this recipe came floating down from a book up above…It was like her telling you that this was a recipe she wanted you to share. I love this and I feel how you feel as my grandmother was special to me as well…
    Never had a cake like this and it really looks so tempting..I have to try this one…One question, in the recipe you mention caster sugar, is that like regular granulated sugar that we use in the states or is it a special type of sugar? Thanks for sharing, a very inviting cake…
    Hugs dear friend Dottie 🙂

    • Alida

      Hi Dottie, I am pleased you like the recipe. Caster sugar is finer than granulated and it dissolves more easily, making it ideal for cakes but you can use ordinary granulated if you like. I am only using caster because it is available in most supermarkets in the UK. Ciao!

  5. Julie is Hostess At Heart

    I’ve never had polenta cake, but it sounds delicious! You were lucky to have your grandmother to 90!

  6. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Thanks Alida…for your answer….we have fine sugar here as well, so I can get that….this way it will taste like yours… Ciao Dottie 🙂

  7. cheri

    This is the type of cake my mother-in-law would make, love it!

  8. lucy

    interessante questa preparazione!!

  9. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    What a sweet and lovely memory of your granny! The cake looks charming and delicious.

  10. Alida

    Thanks for letting me know Ishita.

  11. Ishita

    You are most welcome. Happy reading 🙂

  12. speedy70

    Quanto mi piacciono queste torte rustiche….. e tanto golose, bravissima!!!!

  13. Dom

    that sounds like the village I live in! Glorious life and a glorious cake. I love the idea of the polenta in this, it’s beautiful x

    • Alida

      Many thanks Dom!

  14. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    The best recipes are those handed down from generation to generation. This one sounds very rustic, very Italian and very lovely x

  15. m saleh

    What kind of wine would you have with this cake? a very sweet one I guess!!

    • Alida

      I agree. A very sweet “liquor type” of wine like Vin Santo or Marsala would go heavenly with this cake.

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