Meyer Lemon Upside Down Polenta Cake has a sweet-tart candied lemon topping baked right into a buttery dense polenta cake (the batter includes fine corn meal). The secret to this lemony dessert is to make sure to slice the lemons very, very thin so that they caramelize thoroughly and bake through the pith. Using a mandolin or hand slicer is helpful.
The lemons are arranged on top of a brown sugar-butter mixture in a springform pan that has been lined with parchment paper (makes for easy removal and clean up!). Add the cake batter and bake. Once the cake is inverted, you have a beautiful ombre cake — the cake will brown more on the edges and maintain a bright yellow center. This cake is delicious with a cup of coffee. Enjoy!
- Cooking-oil spray
- 3/4 cup butter softened, divided
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 or 3 whole Meyer lemons plus zest of 2 large Meyer lemons
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup fine cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by spraying with cooking spray and then lining with a 12-inch circle of parchment paper. Press the paper pleats flat and also spray the parchment.
In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup butter and the brown sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. Evenly spread the butter-sugar mixture into lined pan.
Thinly slice 2 lemons crosswise and remove seeds with a knife tip. Arrange slices in pan by setting a small lemon slice in center and then adding more slices in overlapping circles to fill pan.
Beat remaining 1/2 cup butter, sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl on medium speed until blended. Increase speed to high and bea until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, scraping down sides and beating well on high speed, about 1 minute per egg.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Next, combine milk and vanilla.
Add a third of flour mixture to butter mixture and blend on low speed. Scrape down sides of bowl, then blend in half of milk mixture. Repeat process for remaining flour and milk mixtures, ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes (it will be well browned) or until center springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool in pan on a rack at least 2 hours. Run a thin knife between parchment and pan; release rim and Invert cake onto a plate. Remove parchment and slice cake with a serrated knife.