Sweet treats

Gluten-free lemon and poppy seed polenta cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

It is impossible to eat just one of these zesty cakes, made with polenta and ground almonds. This is a fantastic gluten-free cake recipe, even if you don’t have an intolerance. These lemon and poppy seed polenta cupcakes are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea and incredibly easy to make.


    For the cakes

    • 170g unsalted butter
    • 170g caster sugar
    • 3 large, organic, free range eggs
    • 150g ground almonds
    • 90g polenta
    • 4 tsp poppy seeds
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 3 lemons

    For the icing

    • 115g unsalted butter
    • 1 lemon, juice & zest
    • 500g icing sugar, sieved
    • 2 tsp poppy seeds
    • 1 unwaxed lemon, rind


    1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/gas mark 2-3.
    2. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and light, once you have achieved this, gradually whisk in the eggs, combining well. Stir the almonds into the mixture with a metal spoon and then fold in the polenta, baking powder, poppy seeds and lemon juice and zest. Spoon the mixture into your prepared muffin cases and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
    3. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. While your cakes are cooling, beat the butter, half of the lemon juice and half of the icing sugar together until well incorporated. Add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat until thick and creamy; slowly add the remainder of the lemon juice, making sure that the mixture does not become too runny.
    4. Use a knife to spread the icing like butter over the surface of each cake. Sprinkle a pinch a poppy seeds over the top of each cake and use a lemon zester to obtain individual ‘strands’ of lemon to place on top.