May 7, 2023 - Food and Drink

Mother's Day recipe: Strawberry polenta cake

Photo of a cake missing one slice.

Strawberry polenta cake from Chicagoan Jeanine Donofrio. Photo courtesy of Jeanine Donofrio.

Mother's Day is around the corner, and procrastinators who haven't made a brunch reservation might be out of luck.

Yes, but: There's plenty of time to perfect this stunning but simple recipe before next Sunday.

The dish: Strawberry polenta cake from Chicagoan Jeanine Donofrio's new cookbook, "Love and Lemons Simple Feel Good Food."

  • Donofrio says it's perfect for "spring celebrations."

What she's saying: "It's super simple — you can get it in the oven in 15 minutes! — but the strawberry and almond topping makes it look so pretty and festive."

  • "Moist, tender, and full of bright lemon flavor, it would be the perfect treat for a Mother's Day brunch."

Her pro tip: Dust the cake with powdered sugar for an extra-special finishing touch.

The recipe


  • 1 cup all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • ½ cup medium grind cornmeal, spooned and leveled
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¾ cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1½ cups small strawberries, halved
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • Lightly oil a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and lemon zest. Add the yogurt, olive oil, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and whisk to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Don't overmix.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and top with the strawberries and almonds.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

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