Polenta Sponge Cake

Polenta Sponge Cake

Polenta Sponge Cake excerpted from Giuseppe’s Italian Bakes: Over 60 Classic Cakes, Desserts and Savory Bakes by Giuseppe Dell’Anno—photography by Matt Russell.

Giuseppe's Italian Bakes: Over 60 Classic Cakes, Desserts and Savory Bakes by Giuseppe Dell'Anno

Giuseppe Dell’Anno won hearts the world over when he was crowned winner of the Great British Baking Show in 2021. In Giuseppe’s Italian Bakes, his first cookbook, Giuseppe shares his skill, knowledge and love of baking through over 60 new sweet and savoury recipes.

Growing up in Italy and learning to cook at the side of his beloved chef-father, Giuseppe has mastered everything from focaccia to florentines, each with his own signature twist on the classics of Italian baking.

Through his step-by-step recipes, Giuseppe guides you through making focaccia, pannacotta, tiramisù, rum baba, piadine, Sicilian cannoli and, of course, pizza, among many other delectable treats. With gorgeous colour photos throughout and tips and tricks from the master of the technical challenge, bring a taste of the Italian bakery to your home with Giuseppe’s Italian Bakes.

Giuseppe’s Italian Bakes: Over 60 Classic Cakes, Desserts and Savory Bakes by Giuseppe Dell’Anno is available at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Indigo.ca.   

Polenta Sponge Cake

Amor Polenta

Amor polenta is traditionally baked in a half-round, ribbed loaf tin; but any loaf tin will do.
It is quick to make, as all the ingredients are worked in the mixer bowl, nevertheless, the result is a moist and light sponge, rustic and with a little bite. The batter only includes a minimal amount of leavening agent; most of the spongy structure is the result of the vigorous whipping of the eggs, so do not cut this step short.


For the sponge

150g (5½ oz) egg (about 3 medium eggs), at room temperature
120g (¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
100g (scant ½ cup) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
zest of 1 organic lemon
zest of 1 organic orange
½ tsp natural almond extract
2 tbsp amaretto liqueur (or rum)
70g (¾ cup) soft wheat 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
60g (1/3 cup) finely ground cornmeal (polenta)
100g (1 cup) ground almonds
icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting

For the decoration (optional)

10-12 fresh raspberries
100g (scant ½ cup) whipping cream (35–40% fat), cold
20g (generous 1 tbsp) icing (confectioners’) sugar ½ tsp vanilla bean paste


Grease the tin well and dust it with flour. Place the shelf in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 170°C (340°F/Gas mark 3).

Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip the mixture for 6–8 minutes on high speed until it triples in volume and looks pale and frothy. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl: 40 seconds in an 800W microwave should be enough. Set aside to cool. When the egg mixture is light and fluffy, add the citrus zests, almond extract and liqueur, and gently whisk to incorporate them.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture, add the cornmeal and ground almonds and fold them in with a silicone spatula until fully combined. Finally, fold in the melted butter. Ensure that the butter is fully incorporated by scraping the sides of the bowl thoroughly with the spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 28–30 minutes, or until the top of the cake is caramel in colour and a skewer inserted into the deepest part of the tin comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the tin, then turn it on a serving plate. Coat the top of the cake with a light dusting of icing sugar.


Prepare the Chantilly cream following the method on page 75 and place it in a piping bag with a 12mm (½ in) star nozzle. Pipe dollops of cream along the sponge and place a raspberry on each one. Store under a cake dome for up to 3–4 days or freeze for up to a month.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.

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