Lemon Verbena and Polenta Cake with Chocolate Cardamom Cream

Preparation info

  • Makes one loaf, enough for


    • Difficulty


Appears in

A World in My Kitchen

A World in My Kitchen

By Peter Gordon

Published 2003

  • About

Health shops often sell lemon verbena in ‘tea’ form, if you’re unable to find a fresh tree. If you are fortunate enough to have fresh leaves, dry them on the window ledge or in an airing cupboard. Either way, grind the verbena to a fine powder in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Failing that, use the Australian ‘bush food’ lemon myrtle, or the finely grated zest of a lemon.


  • 70 g (2 ⅓ oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons powdered lemon verbena
  • 125 ml (4 ¼ fl oz) light olive oil
  • 125 ml (4 ¼ fl oz) sweet white wine
  • 130 g (4 ⅓ oz) flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 70 g (2 ⅓ oz) polenta


    Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 5. Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Beat caster sugar, eggs and lemon verbena together until pale-coloured and fluffy. Lightly whisk in oil and wine. Sieve flour, baking powder and polenta together and gently stir in. Pour batter into prepared loaf tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes, then cover the tin loosely with foil and turn the oven down to 170°C/340°F/Gas Mark 3–4. Bake a further 25 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer into the deepest part. It should come out a little moist but clean. Remove the foil and cool on a cake rack.

    To serve, slice cake and dollop on chocolate cardamom cream. This is also excellent served with poached pears or stone fruit.