Nectarine and polenta upside-down cake

A gorgeous gluten-free polenta cake with luscious nectarines that is perfect to serve as a summer dessert or for afternoon tea. If nectarines aren't available, use any other stone fruit like peaches, apricots or plums.

First published in 2015

My dad likes to talk and think about food as much as I love to cook it. Rarely a day goes by without us discussing what we've eaten and he often sends me recipes he thinks I'd like to make (or make for him). Polenta cake is one of his absolute favourites.

With an upside-down topping and moist, sandy texture, this charmingly retro cake is naturally gluten free. If you're baking for someone who is sensitive to gluten, make sure to use gluten-free baking powder.

This recipe is from Kate's new book Homemade Memories: Childhood Treats with a Twist published by Orion, 2015.






  • 120g of butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 125g of caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 75g of ground almonds
  • 75g of polenta, fine or quick cook
  • 1 tsp baking powder, gluten free if necessary
  • 1 lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1 pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas mark 5
Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin with butter and line the bottom with baking parchment. Generously grease the parchment with butter too. It’s best not to use a loose-bottomed tin here, but if that’s all you have, tightly wrap a double layer of aluminium foil around the outside of the base to prevent any juices escaping
Quarter the nectarines and cut them into thin slices. Toss with the sugar and lemon juice then arrange in a single layer, slightly overlapping, round the bottom of your tin. Scrape any excess sugar syrup over the top
To make the sponge, cream the butter and sugar in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Fold in the almonds, polenta, baking powder, lemon zest and salt
Spoon the batter over the nectarines, smooth the surface with a spatula then tap firmly on the work surface to remove any bubbles. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until risen and gold
Remove the cake from the oven, run a sharp knife round the edge then leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate
Serve warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days
First published in 2015

Kate Doran is the blogger behind 'The Little Loaf', specialising in nostalgic baking recipes.

Get in touch

Please or register to send a comment to Great British Chefs
You may also like
Load more