Lemon Earl-Grey Polenta Loaf
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We love a one-bowl, no-fuss, practically-zero-effort baking recipe as much as the next person, but we also like to look like we tried. Enter this lemon Earl-Grey polenta loaf from Jessica Elliott Dennison’s new cookbook, Lazy Baking. It’s the kind of cake that you can toss together in an hour and still get oohs and ahhs from your audience.
“Bright and zingy in flavor and with a lovely grainy texture from the polenta, this loaf is optimism in cake form,” Dennison writes. “Earl Grey adds an interesting citrus note of bergamot. If you can, try to use loose-leaf tea, but if that’s out of reach, the contents of a few standard Earl Grey teabags work brilliantly, too.”
Recipe excerpted with permission from Lazy Baking by Jessica Elliott Dennison published by Hardie Grant, November 2021.
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
Heaping 1 cup (250g) granulated or superfine sugar
1 cup (150g) polenta
1 ⅔ cups (200g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons loose-leaf Earl Grey tea
Scant ½ cup (100g) granulated or superfine sugar
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1. Make the Loaf: Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a 2-pound loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar. Crack in the eggs, one a time, whisking between each addition.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the polenta, flour, baking powder and Earl Grey tea. Add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture, along with the lemon zest, and stir until just combined.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until risen and golden, 40 to 45 minutes.
5. Make the Lemon Syrup: About 5 minutes before the cooking time is up, pour the lemon juice into a small saucepan and add the sugar. Heat over medium-low until you have a glossy syrup. Remove from the heat.
6. While the cake is still warm and in the pan, use a skewer or tip of a sharp knife to gently poke 8 holes in the top and pour the syrup over. Cool completely in the pan. Once cool, lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment overhang and cut into slices.
Note: Thanks to the lemon syrup, this loaf cake keeps well in an airtight container for up to 4 days.