Sunday 10 May 2015

Recipe: Lime and Coconut Polenta Cake (Vegan, Gluten Free)

It's Christian Aid Week this week, and my church held a bake sale to raise money for their valuable work - they work to end poverty across the world by partnering with local organisations who are best placed to help in their communities (regardless of religion, creed or colour).

I've been busy with crochet for a few weeks but I can never resist the opportunity to bake! I made some regular red velvet cupcakes, but I thought it would be nice to make something egg, dairy and gluten free too because that way, everyone can have cake that wants it.

I wasn't sure I wanted to make cupcakes (not least because there's a limit to the number I can transport) but mini loaves seemed perfect - they're the right size to share, and it's easy to make several.

Last year I discovered polenta cakes, and I really like their texture and how they don't have any hint of grittiness that gluten free cakes can sometimes have. But the recipes I had tried up to now had many, many eggs in. I had some flavours in mind when I found this recipe for Flour-free Lemon & Blueberry Polenta Cake. I don't really like blueberries very much, but it seemed like a good place to start. 

The finished cake was very moist and a bit crumbly. I was pleased how light the texture was, not at all dense, and the lime and coconut flavours came through really nicely.


I doubled the original recipe I adapted this from to make five mini loaves. Half of this would fit one 2lb loaf tin.

  • 200g sugar
  • 200g vegan margarine (eg. vitalite)
  • 4tsp ground flaxseed
  • 8tbsp/120ml water
  • 180g almond meal, divided
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 180g polenta (corn meal)
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 2 lemons, zest + juice
  • 2 limes, zest + juice
  • 200g coconut yoghurt (or coconut flavour soy yoghurt, or other non-dairy yoghurt + a few drops coconut flavouring)

  • Juice of a lime
  • 50g sugar

Coconut icing
  • 2 limes, zest + juice
  • 200 - 225g icing/powdered sugar, sifted
  • 50g desiccated coconut



Preheat the oven to 170°C (for mini loaves - the original recipe suggests 180°C for one big loaf) and grease/line your tin(s).

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer if you have one, or with electric beaters if not.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together the flaxseed and water until it thickens, then add 2 tbsp of the almond meal and whisk until it thickens some more. Add the flaxseed mix to the creamed butter and sugar, and mix until combined.

Sieve the remaining dry ingredients (coconut flour, polenta, almond meal and baking powder) together to mix them thoroughly. It doesn't matter if some of the almond meal doesn't make it through the sieve. Add these to the rest of the mixture along with the lime and lemon juice and zest, and mix until combined.

Finally, add the coconut yoghurt (or yoghurt and coconut flavouring) and mix on slow until combined.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 30mins (45mins for a large loaf) until a tester comes out clean and the cakes have pulled slightly away from the edge of the tin.


In a small microwave safe bowl, mix the lime juice and the sugar. Microwave on high for 20 seconds at a time until sugar dissolves with a little stirring.

While they're still warm, prick holes all over the cakes and pour the glaze over.

Mix the lime juice and icing sugar together, until smooth. You may need to use more or less sugar depending on what consistency you like for your icing and how juicy your limes are. Mix in the dessicated coconut, and ice cakes. Sprinkle the lemon zest on top of the cakes to decorate.


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