Gluten-Free Polenta Cake

Gluten free polenta cake with bananas
Delicious, moist gluten-free polenta cake.

Sweet Banana Polenta Cake

I've been craving polenta cake. Don't ask me why. Okay, ask me. It was the lemon polenta cake in the movie Dinner with Friends. Such a cake! And I didn't have any lemons on hand. But I did have a few ripe bananas. So I thought, Why not make a banana polenta cake? How bad could it be?

Turns out, not bad at all! I used my Banana Snacking Cake recipe as a starting point. The cake was tender and sweet with a big banana flavor.

Karina's Gluten-Free Polenta Cake Recipe with Bananas

Recipe posted September 2006.

Polenta or stone ground cornmeal makes this tender sweet cake recipe not your average boring gluten-free. We've really enjoyed this as a side bite to spicy stews and chili. Sometimes we even grill slices with a dab of olive oil. This tender cake (terrific for kids) can be GF/CF with a dairy-free self-rising GF flour mix, and coconut milk.


1 1/4 cups Pamela's Ultimate Baking Mix *or your own self-rising gluten free baking mix - see Cook's Notes
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Polenta
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons sea salt
3 large free-range organic eggs, room temperature* see notes for egg-free
1/2 cup light vegetable or extra light olive oil
1 3/4 cups packed organic light brown sugar
3 very ripe medium bananas, mashed into puree (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup coconut milk, milk, or other non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 10 x 13" baking pan by lining it with greased parchment.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Pamela's Baking Mix, cornmeal, baking powder and sea salt. Set aside.

In a larger mixing bowl beat the eggs. Add the oil and beat to combine. Add the sugar and beat till smooth. Add in the banana puree, milk and vanilla; do the same.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet, and beat to combine. I did all this by hand and it worked out beautifully.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake in the center of a preheated oven for 33 minutes, or until done. Check the center for doneness with a wooden pick. The cake should appear slightly golden brown at the edge, firm to a light touch.

Cool the cake completely on a wire rack- if you can resist. I couldn't, and ate a piece while it was still warm. It was fabulous with a mug of hot tea.

When the cake is cool, cut and slice into squares for wrapping and freezing, if you wish.

Makes 12 to 15 squares.

Recipe Source:

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Karina's Notes:

If you do not use Pamela's Ultimate Baking Mix substitute your own gluten-free baking mix, or use your favorite gluten-free flour combo and add for each cup of flour:

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum or guar gum
1/4 teaspoon salt

We made this cake egg-free by substituting the three eggs with Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs, mixed with warm water; and adding two extra tablespoons liquid. 


Dianne said...

Hi Karina

This looks fabulous! I wonder, have you ever tried throwing a biscotti together? All of blogland seems to be cooking biscotti at the moment and I do so miss it! Well some days I miss it!


sher said...

Yumm!! That looks wonderful. The picture is so good, I can almost smell the cornbread.

k a r i n a said...

Hi Dianne!

I have been thinking about biscotti, too. I am going to try a chocolate-almond biscotti soon. Will post results...

Hi Sher!

I just had a piece with my morning cuppa java. It's perfect with coffee. And I was thinking, it would be great with a bowl of hot and spicy chili laced with lime...

kathryn h said...

Karina -

It looks and sounds so wonderful. except for the bananas :) Not a big fan of them at all. So I think I'm going to try it without and see what happens. Thanks for the idea!

Chocolate-almond biscotti...yummy!


k a r i n a said...

Hi Kathryn!

Make sure you substitute for the mashed bananas with some other kind of pureed fruit. Pumpkin would work. Or something like sour cream.

Otherwise, the recipe will yeild a dry cake.

lucette said...

When I read the title I imagined a cake with banana and corn kernels in it--which sounded enticing. Might not be bad.

k a r i n a said...

Hi Lucette!

You could certainly add some sweet corn kernels. I was going for a snacking cake [for coffee or tea] but adding corn would make it a yummy bread for chili, or a roasted turkey dinner, etc... Yum!

Kathryn H said...

Hi Karina -

Thanks for the suggestion of pumkin. I was thinking of trying applesauce, since that is what I have.....but the sour cream is also a great suggestion. And I have that. We'll see which one wins :)


rowena said...

Hi Karina, I was just going to tell you how much my husband and I enjoyed the Pinon Rice Bake over the weekend, following the recipe that you posted. Awesome stuff, so much so that I made it TWICE! Now you have this Banana Corn Cake that I'm going to try today as a way to use up those ripe peaches in the fridge. I'm sure it'll be a winner!

Jaclyn Kaye said...

Hello Karina! Thanks for all these wonderful recipes. I recently made the Summer Blueberry Crisp twice: once with blueberries, once with a raspberry/blackberry combination--both were a huge success among my gluten-eating friends, family, and housemates. It was such a pleasure to be able to actually share dessert with my friends for the first time in ages!

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has tried out this out with chocolate chips. I'd love if I could have a banana-chocolate cake...

k a r i n a said...

Hi Jaclyn!

I'm so glad you enjoyed the crisp[s]. Excellent!

I think your idea of adding chocolate chips to this cake is brilliant! YES!

Joy said...


I used your recipe for Sweet Banana-Corn cake but made a few changes, adding about a half cup of crushed pecan bits (Trader Joe's), a couple tablespoons of ground flax seed (Bob's Red Mill), adding a quarter cup of brown rice protein powder and using a little less brown sugar to meet my needs. It turned out really good. But its very moist. It could be the altitude here but I had to add about 10 minutes to the baking time.

karina said...

Hi Joy!

Yes, adding protein powder and flax, and cutting back on the sugar will affect it, for sure. So will the size of one's bananas [if ya know what I mean ;-)].

Joy said...

It appears to be an oven temperature problem. I plan to get one this weekend.

MB said...

I feel like the woman who is working her way through the baking handbook of the dometic diva whose initals are MS! I figure I will eventually try all of your recipes because every one I've tried has been wonderful. I have tried GF baking recipes from other sites, but they have been drek, each and every one. This cake is fabulous, and I hope it will entice my picky-picky little girl to eat more breakfast than usual. She loved the pumpkin muffins.. for a few days. She loved the sour cream blueberry.. for a few days. You get the drift. As long as I have an assortment of things in the freezer, I can rotate them to keep her interested. It was hard to just have a taste of this cake- the flavor and texture are great! My non-GF husband had a big slice and will, I think, eat it all if our daughter is too slow! Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

A lemon version and/or a whole-grain version would also be intriguing. Best, Karina!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to try this but I'm allergic to eggs and potatoes so I can't use the EnerG egg replacer. Will a rice milk and flax mix work instead??

AutiMama said...

Hi Katrina,
I'm new to your blog ... but I'm loving everything I see and I have to tell you that after 2 hrs here looking around ... I'M HUNGRY!!! LOL!!
I even subscribed!!!

I know this is an old post but I sure hope you pick this up and answer me because it is now officially your fault that I want to make this yummy cake!! *wink*

Now, my question is this what can I sub the cornmeal for? My lil guy is allergic to corn. Thanks in advance!!

Karina said...

Hi AutiMama!

Welcome. I have only made this cake with cornmeal. That said, however, I'm thinking that buckwheat flour might work beautifully. I've had such good luck using buckwheat flour in my GFCF baking recipes. It's higher in protein than the usual rice flours.

And if you try buckwheat in this recipe- please do check in with us here and let us know how the sub worked.



21-year-old gluten-free goddess-to-be said...

What would happen if I replaced some portion of the sugar with honey or maple/agave syrup? It's already a very moist cake; I'm not sure I could pull it off. Any words of wisdom from a more experienced chef?

Karina said...

Twenty-One Year Old GF Goddess To Be-

First, welcome! :) Nice moniker.

You're wise not to jump right in and substitute without concern. This is a moist cake (bananas bring a lot of moisture to the recipe).

The usual rule about using a liquid sweetener in place of granulated sugar is that you must compensate for the added liquid- usually by cutting back on the liquid in the recipe.

This might work if you're willing to use at least *some* sugar. Sugar adds structure to baked goods.

How about cutting back the sugar by half? And adding enough agave, to taste? Maybe 1/4 cup? Then start with adding only half the liquid. See what your batter looks like.

You can add up to two tablespoons of flour if you need to.

I haven't done too much experimenting with agave in baking. But it does work.

You might end up having to bake it for a slightly longer time, as well, so that the center isn't gummy.

Another thought I had- why not try baking these as cupcakes? Often gluten-free cakes fair better smaller- and cook through more easily.Turn them out of the pan quickly so that they don't get soggy.

Let me know how your experiment turns out.

Whatever happens- keep a sense of humor. ;)


Anonymous said...

Someone posted they wanted to sub cornmeal...Karina you suggested buckwheat. Did anyone try that? How did it go? I'm really wanting to make my toddler a GFCF cornless corndog and can't seem to figure out a sub...rice won't work either.

Gina said...

I made this cake for a party with non-celiac folks. Everyone loved it. The party was three months ago and they are still talking about it.

Karina Allrich said...

Anon- Sorry no one got back on your question. I don't see why buckwheat wouldn't work. In fact, I bet it would be delicious. I'll try it soon and let you know. And if you do it first, stop back and tell me how it turned it out.

Gina- Really? How cool is that. I love it. Thanks for coming back to tell us. Much appreciated.



Erin said...

I just made this with a few little tweaks and it was so good! my version is here:
I really liked the addition of chopped of banana chunks, which turned into gooey heavenly goodness when baked :) thanks for the great recipe!

Anonymous said...

I know this recipe has been up for ages but I just tried it and I have to tell you, it is going into regular rotation. We loved it! I substituted normal flour for the gluten free and used real vanilla bean but otherwise followed it exactly. Such a delicate flavor and such a moist cake. I just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed it. Thank you for the recipe!

Kelly said...

My 3-yo daughter loved this cake; I made it in a sheet cake pan. I think it'd be great with cream cheese frosting or a dusting of powdered sugar for a birthday cake.

We enjoyed it for dessert tonight and will enjoy it again for breakfast tomorrow morning! Thanks! :o)

redhotmomma4321 said...

If I wanted to use Agave instead of brown sugar in this recipe, how could I do that?

Karina Allrich said...

As mentioned above, Redhotmomma4321- This is a moist cake (bananas bring a lot of moisture to the recipe).

The usual rule about using a liquid sweetener in place of granulated sugar is that you must compensate for the added liquid- usually by cutting back on the liquid in the recipe. I'd suggest cutting back on the mashed banana. Use only two. And for the agave, maybe 1/4 to maybe 1/2 cup? See what your batter looks like. Agave tends to make a denser, wetter baked good.

wedding cake said...

nice recipe...
time to try....
keep posting....

Mela said...

Great consistency, moistness and feel to this cake. Would only say it's too sweet. Could cut down the sugar to half, if not a third of the amount. The bananas are already quite sweet. Also would benefit from some walnuts or pecans. I used butter instead of oil, which gave a caramelized flavor. (Used 10 tbs butter and 2 tbs less milk)

maja said...

Thanks for this delicious recipe! I was just wondering if I may have done something wrong. The polenta doesnt taste cooked throughout but some what gritty. Is the texture of the cake suppose to taste like or am I doing something incorrectly?
thanks! maja

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