Amor Polenta Cake Recipe

Amor Polenta cake is known in Italy simply as Amor Polenta or Dolce Varese, from the name of the city where this dessert was born.

This Italian dessert has a beautiful yellow color, characteristic of this cake, given by the use of polenta flour. 

Like all traditional Italian recipes, there are different versions of polenta cake.

amor polenta cake

Lombard families have handed down over the years this cake recipe, with very small differences in the doses of the ingredients.

The key ingredients, according to Italian tradition, are polenta flour – the finer version (in Italy it’s called Fioretto) – and chopped almonds.

amor polenta cake

It’s traditionally made in an almond cake loaf pan but the usual plum cake mold work fine too.

Polenta cake recipe is light, fragrant, tasteful, the perfect dessert for children because is healthy and nutritious. Try it with tea, coffee or vanilla cream!

amor polenta cake

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How to Make Amor Polenta Cake Recipe

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Cook Time: 40 Min
  • Servings: 8/10


  • 100 g (4/5 cup) of all-purpose flour
  • 120 g (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) of granulated sugar
  • 80 g (1/2 cup) of fine polenta flour or cornmeal
  • 100 g (1 stick) of unsalted butter softened at room temperature
  • 2 medium whole eggs
  • 70 g (2,4 oz) of peeled almonds
  • the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of fine salt
  • icing sugar for decoration

Kitchen Tools and Equipment

Making Polenta cake recipe is easy but you need these fundamental tools below for the perfect success of the recipe.

A whisk to whip the mixture of butter, eggs and sugar and a flour sieve to sift the flour.

We used an food processor to chop the almonds.

And finally the characteristic almond cake loaf pan but the usual plum cake mold will also work fine.


amor polenta cake step 1

Step 1) – In a bowl, beat together the softened butter, the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes until pale and creamy. You can do it by hand with a whisk or with an stand mixer at medium speed. Then add the seeds of the vanilla bean and mix.

amor polenta cake step 2

Step 2) – Add the baking powder and a pinch of fine salt to the flour then sift them with the help o a flour sieve. Now add them to the bowl with the butter-eggs-sugar mixture and beat to combine.

amor polenta cake step 3

Step 3) – In a food processor, finely chop the peeled almonds until you get a flour. Be careful not to overheat the machine and do not work the mixture too much otherwise it will become a paste. If you prefer you can use almond flour which however has a finer consistency. The chopped almonds give the polenta cake a coarser and more rustic texture.

amor polenta cake step 4

Step 4) – Now add the almond flour and the polenta flour. Mix everything very well to combine.

amor polenta cake step 5

Step 5) – Grease and flour your cake loaf pan then pour the mixture into it. Level the batter with a spatula.

amor polenta cake step 6

Step 6) – Place the pan on oven rack in the center of the oven. Bake in static oven at 170°C (240 F) for 40 minutes. Cool in the pan 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate to cool.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and enjoy cut in slices with a cup of tea or coffee.

amor polenta cake

How to Store Amor Polenta Cake

You can store Amor Polenta cake at room temperature for a week, under a glass bell. Alternatively, it can be frozen and kept in the freezer for about 1 month.

Amor Polenta Cake Variations

Gluten- free Amor Polenta Cake

For a gluten-free Polenta cake you can replace all-purpose flour with rice flour.

Amor Polenta Cake with Alcohol 

If you like a more aromatic flavor, you can add a shot glass of rum or of Strega Liqueur, an ancient Italian herbal liqueur colored with saffron.

amor polenta cake

Lemon Amor Polenta Cake

Add the zest of half a lemon to the mixture to get a lemon-flavored Polenta cake.

Amor Polenta Bundt Cake

An idea for a more elegant and yummy dessert, is to use a fluted tube cake pan. Add a layer of pastry cream on the bottom of the mold so that when you turn it over the cream will be on top!

amor polenta cake

Amor Polenta Cake: History and Curiosity

Polenta cake or Amor polenta is a famous dessert of the Lombard culinary tradition, in particular of the city of Varese.

This is a cake still made according to tradition, in the pastry shops, cafes, bakeries and delicatessens of Varese. For this reason, in italy polenta cake is also called “Dolce Varese”.

The peculiarity of Italian polenta cake is the use of the classic cake mold pan, designed and created specifically for the preparation of this dessert.

In Varese this cake made with polenta and almond flour, has always been a Sunday dessert, and you can find it every time you go to lunch in all the days of celebrations.

It is said that Amor Polenta Cake was born from the hands of Carlo Zamberletti, a historic pastry chef from Varese, in 1939.

He wanted to create a dessert for his city with typical local ingredients. He created this mixture with a simple consistency and genuine taste.

It became the symbolic cake of Varese and in the mid-1960s it was also highly appreciated by intellectuals and musicians, including the famous soprano Renata Tebaldi.

amor polenta cake

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