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Rhubarb Polenta Cake with Rose & White Chocolate

Rhubarb Polenta Cake topped with rose petals.

Gluten Free, Large Cakes | 22nd July 2013 | By

A large and delicious rhubarb polenta cake made with buckwheat flour and cornmeal. There’s white chocolate for added richness and the rose flavouring is optional but recommended. It’s the perfect gluten-free bake for rhubarb season.

I made this gluten-free rhubarb polenta cake for Liskeard’s first pop-up cafe. It’s just right for a bake sale as you can make it the day before and it will still taste delicious. The rhubarb keeps it nice and moist. But it’s also really good to eat warm after lunch or dinner. Just don’t forget the custard.

Random Recipes

The task this month from Belleau Kitchen was to select our 30th cookbook and then make the recipe from whatever was on page 30. This is the 30th Random Recipes after all. I always approach Random Recipes with some trepidation as you just never know what you might get landed with. But off I went to Eat Your Books to find my 30th cookbook.

As it happened, I struck lucky and my 30th book was Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. For many years, this was the only book on my bookshelf dedicated to baking, so I know it well. Now that I have many others, I don’t use it as often. I was, therefore, really pleased for the excuse to renew my acquaintance. It also meant, that with any luck I might be able to enter my recipe into Forever Nigella.

The next task was to go and find the book and turn to page 30. It was Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake. Now this couldn’t have been more opportune. I made this cake once before, many years ago, so I already knew it was a good one. I was about to bake for Liskeard’s first pop-up cafe and I hadn’t yet come up with a gluten-free bake I could include.

Rhubarb Polenta Cake

With a little tweaking, namely substituting the wheat flour for buckwheat, Nigella’s recipe would do very nicely, I thought. I reckoned the addition of white chocolate could only improve things and would also allow it to appear on Chocolate Log Blog. I’ve already established that rose and rhubarb make for a fine combination, so I added some of my homemade rose syrup for added interest.

Liskeard Pop-Up Cafe with a table loaded with cakes and other bakes.

The bake came an honourable second behind the most popular one, the chocolate cake. Sadly, I didn’t get to try any, but I had very good feedback and all of it disappeared. The very first person to try anything was gluten intolerant, so she was delighted to have something tasty she could eat.

Other Liskeard Pop-up Cafe Bakes

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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this rhubarb polenta cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

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Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake. PIN IT.

Rhubarb Polenta Cake topped with rose petals.

Rhubarb Polenta Cake – The Recipe

Rhubarb Polenta Cake topped with rose petals.
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Rhubarb Polenta Cake (gluten-free)

A large and delicious rhubarb cake made with buckwheat flour and polenta so that it's gluten-free. There's white chocolate for added richness and the rose flavouring is optional but recommended. Enjoy it warm as a dessert with custard or cold for afternoon tea.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: buckwheat flour, cake, gluten-free, polenta, rhubarb, rose, white chocolate
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 318kcal


  • 500 g rhubarb
  • 100 g golden caster sugar (I use homemade cardamom sugar)
  • 4 tbsp rose syrup (optional)
  • 50 g white chocolate (I use Green & Black's)
  • 125 g unsalted butter - softened
  • 150 g golden caster sugar (I use homemade cardamom sugar)
  • 2 large eggs (I use duck eggs when I can get them)
  • 150 g buckwheat flour
  • 155 g fine polenta (cornmeal)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250 g natural yoghurt


  • Wash and trim the rhubarb, cutting it into ½ cm slices.
  • Place in a bowl and cover with the sugar to extract some of the juice. Add the rose syrup if using.
  • Melt the white chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water. Leave to cool a little.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the cooled chocolate.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Sift in a third of the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in a third of the yoghurt. Repeat the process until everything is just combined.
  • Gently stir in the rhubarb and juice.
  • Pour into a 23cm round silicone cake mould or lined tin and smooth the top. Bake in a preheated oven at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for about 50 minutes or until the top iss well risen and springy to the touch. Cover with tin foil after the first 30 minutes to prevent the top burning.
  • Leave to cool for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Dust with icing sugar and scatter with rose petals if liked.


Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.


Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 185mg | Potassium: 268mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 391IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 1mg


I am entering this rhubarb polenta cake into Random Recipes, an excellent if somewhat adrenalin-inducing monthly challenge run by Dashing Dom of Belleau Kitchen.
And I did indeed strike lucky with Forever Nigella, a monthly challenge from Sarah of Maison Cupcake. This month Victoria of A Kick at the Pantry Door is hosting and luckily for me, she has chosen Party Party. I think this is a fitting contribution to any celebration.

It’s been a while since I entered Made with Love Mondays, a weekly challenge from Javelin Warrior, whereby everything must be made from scratch.

As I used rose syrup in the cake, made with my own roses, I am entering this into Cooking with Herbs with Karen of Lavender and Lovage.


  1. manu

    22nd July 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Oh polenta cake sounds delicious!!
    I love using polenta flour for cakes

    • Choclette

      22nd July 2013 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks Manu – I like it too, it gives an interesting texture, which makes for a nice change.

  2. belleau kitchen

    22nd July 2013 at 12:57 pm

    beautiful… I am obsessed with rose at the moment as it’s such a heady summery flavour… so glad I could be of service and reunite you with an old flame… glad it went so well and thanks for entering… now do you have some ice, this heat is exhausting and I need an ice bath!

    • Choclette

      22nd July 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks Dom – rose just goes so well with British summer fruits. I haven’t tried one yet which it didn’t enhance. As for the ice, I’m waiting for the ice-cream …….

  3. Johanna GGG

    22nd July 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I used to spend a lot more time with how to be a domestic goddess too when I had less baking books but strangely I don’t remember this one – will have to have a flick through it again and refresh myself – love the sound of your version – so glad it was well received

    • Choclette

      22nd July 2013 at 5:34 pm

      It’s well worth trying Johanna. It’s funny but before everyone got into this @work your way through a book@ malarkey, I started doing that from the beginning with Domestic Goddess when I first got it 12 years or so ago. I only ever managed the first 10 recipes, but even so, I claim that idea as my own 😉

  4. Javelin Warrior

    23rd July 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Love this cake, Choclette! Beautiful presentation and what a delicious use of rhubarb. I’d imagine it would keep the cake really moist, besides the tasty flavor…

    • Choclette

      23rd July 2013 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks JW. It was a nice moist cake, it had lots of yogurt in too. I suspect it would have kept really well, if it hadn’t all disappeared on the night.

  5. Caroline Taylor

    23rd July 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Beautiful sounding cake, what a great one to have at random!

    • Choclette

      30th July 2013 at 6:44 pm

      I got really lucky with that one Caroline

  6. Gloria Baker

    24th July 2013 at 1:57 am

    This look really delicious!

  7. Cheryl Pasquier

    25th July 2013 at 4:40 am

    You’ve just reminded me that I bought a box of polenta to try in a cake recipe and have yet to use it !

  8. Jacqueline @Howtobeagourmand

    25th July 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I’d love to try some of that cake. Sounds amazing! No wonder there was nothing left! Well done in coming 2nd place!

  9. Magnolia Verandah

    31st July 2013 at 12:10 am

    Great cake and how clever of you to include all the ingredients to enter all those competitions.

  10. Victoria Lee

    31st July 2013 at 9:23 am

    What a beautiful cake Choclette, I’m not surprised at all that it went down so well at the pop-up cafe. I’ve never been all that adventurous with rhubarb, I love the idea of pairing it with rose though! Thanks for linking with Forever Nigella

  11. itsafinefinelife

    31st July 2013 at 11:34 am

    Wow, that looks gorgeous. Beautiful photo too.

  12. Karen S Booth

    31st July 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Magical ingredients and such a PRETTY cake, what a lovely photo too! Karen

  13. Ruth Ellis

    31st July 2013 at 5:46 pm

    That sounds absolutely amazing – rhubarb and rose is a gorgeous flavour combination. I might have to give it a go – I’ve got a freezer full of rhubarb!

  14. Rachel A

    1st August 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Heavenly! I had a rose recipe too, it’s such an incredible ingredient and combined with the rhubarb must have been out of this world! Might have to give this a go for an afternoon tea party…will report back!

  15. Food Suppliers

    2nd August 2013 at 6:32 am

    Truly Delicious..thanks for the awesome recipe!

  16. Maya Russell

    16th November 2013 at 7:48 am

    I’m not keen on rose syrup. Recipe looks good though.


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