Lemon Pumpkin Polenta Cake (Vegan, Gluten-free, Oil-free, Low-Fat)

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One of the weird things about living in New Zealand: it is pumpkin season in spring! …and in autumn. But the spring pumpkins taste way better. This year I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try a completely new pumpkin recipe.

Just recently I heard of so called polenta cake. The name is pretty much self-explaining: it is made with polenta! Why not, me thought and bravely combined it with freshly blended butternut squash, lemons and dates. And yes, it works! The texture has a funny, fluffy feel to it and it is quite moist.

Lemons are still in season and they keep stacking up on our kitchen table. I let the lemons have the leading role in this recipe. Not only are they in the dough, but also in the filling. This allows for a fresh lemony flavour that will have any lemon lover drooling 🙂

For a 8inch/ 17cm cake tin you’ll need:

For the cake:
1 cup (190g) fine polenta
1/2 cup (70g) buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon psyllium fiber husk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-2 pinch salt

200g peeld, raw butternut squash
juice and zest of one lemon (1 tablespoon zest, 1/4 cup juice)
1 cup water
3/4 cup (105g) dates, pitted and diced

For the filling:
100g peeld, raw butternut squash
1/4 cup (50g) dried apricots
juice and zest of one lemon (1 tablespoon zest, 1/4 cup juice)

some coconut flour for sprinkles on top (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 200° C (top-/ bottom heat). Line the cake tin with baking paper.

2. For the dough, place dates, lemon juice and water into high-speed blender and let soak for a little.

3. In the meantime mix all dry ingredients for the dough in a medium sized bowl.

4. Chop the butternut to smaller chunks, chuck it in the blender and blend everything to a fine paste.

5. Pour lemon-date-pumpkin-mixture into the bowl with the ingredients and mix well. Make sure you don’t stir it too long. Quickly transfer to the cake tin and spread it evenly.

6. Place in the oven and bake until an inserted skewer comes out clean (about 10-15 minutes). Let rest in the form for a little before taking it out and letting it cool down completely on a cooling rack.

7. In the meantime blend the apricots, lemon and butternut squash to a fine cream. Here it will also help to let the apricots soak in the lemon juice for a while.

8. Once the cake has cooled down, cut it lengthwise into two and take the gently top off. I like to use a large serrated knife for this job. Spread the filling on the lower part of the cake and then gently replace the top part. I like to sprinkle it with some ground desiccated coconut flour 🙂

Enjoy! 🙂

Please let me know what you think about this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! And if you remake this recipe, please share the picture with me on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook.

6 thoughts on “Lemon Pumpkin Polenta Cake (Vegan, Gluten-free, Oil-free, Low-Fat)

    1. vgmonster Post author

      Thank you, Tracey! I can’t think of a substitute for psyllium husk. I use it mainly to make it bind a bit better. Every now and then I forget to add it and the cake turns out just a little more crumbly. So it might work without it. Here in New Zealand you can buy psyllium husk in health stores, organic shops and in the gluten-free section of the supermarket.
      All the best,
      Jana 🙂

    2. robin m

      I really want to make this cake. Sounds interesting different and delicious. From what i am reading, the butternut squash is not cooked at all and is blended raw??? Is this correct?
      Do you think sweet potato would work instead of butternut squash?
      Thanks so much…..robin m

      1. vgmonster Post author

        Hi Robin,
        Yes, the butternut squash is raw. Since it is a fruit, you can eat it raw. I’m not sure how sweet potato would work in this recipe though. I haven’t tried that at all, but it would have to be cooked before using it in the filling. I hope that helps! 🙂
        All the best,


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