Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free) |

I know it’s sweltering hot here right now, but some kind of madness possessed me and I decided I needed to bake. The rhubarb made me.

A short while ago a friend of mine offered me some rhubarb that her neighbour gave her but she didn’t want. Now, I’m not one to turn down free fruit (actually I think rhubarb is technically a vegetable….) so of course I graciously accepted the gift.

That rhubarb had been hanging around for far too long and making me feel guilty about not using it every time I opened the fridge.

The time had come, and, beyond eating it raw dipped in coconut sugar as Gabby of the Veggie Nook recommended, all my ideas involved some heat.

Rhubarb stalks

An afternoon of having an extra hot kitchen ended up being well worth it though as this cake turned out wonderfully! Strawberries and rhubarb are a classic culinary pairing, I suppose because they’re both in season at the same time but also since strawberries’ sweetness complements tangy, tart rhubarb rather nicely too.

When baked the fruit creates little jammy pockets in the cake- delicious!

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free) |

I made this recipe gluten-free seeing as everyone is always requesting gluten-free recipes and I do do my best to please! I actually loved the soft, moist texture of the cake from the ground almonds and polenta and though it’s a little delicate to be able to pick up with your hands, it’s lovely eaten with a little non-dairy yogurt or vanilla bean cashew cream.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)  |

I also used Clearspring Organic Corn Germ Oil which really brought out the nutty taste in the cake and contributed to the lovely golden crumb. But, if you can’t get hold if it, then any neutral oil or even olive oil or melted coconut oil would be fine here.

Oh, and you can also make muffins with this recipe! (You will need to reduce the cooking time accordingly)

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)  |

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)


  • 1 Tbsp Ground flax
  • 3 Tbsp Water
  • 1/3 C Corn Germ oil OR other oil of your choice (see note)
  • 1/2 C Coconut nectar OR agave nectar OR maple syrup
  • 1/3 C Apple purée (unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1/2 C Polenta
  • 1/2 C Ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 1/4 C + 3 Tbsp Brown rice flour (reserve 1 Tbsp to coat the fruit)
  • 1/4 C Tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 C Chopped rhubarb (1/2" pieces)
  • 1/2 C Chopped strawberries
  • Optional glaze
  • 1 Tbsp no added sugar apricot spread
  • 1 Tbsp water


  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground flax through to the apple purée.
  3. Sieve all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir well to mix.
  4. Add the liquid mixture to the dry and stir well to fully combine.
  5. Toss the rhubarb and the strawberries with the remaining 1 Tbsp brown rice flour (this helps prevent the fruit sinking) and gently fold into the batter.
  6. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking tin/muffin liners and bake for 40-45 minutes (less for muffins)
  7. If using the optional glaze, mix together the fruit spread and water and brush over cake just after you remove it from the oven.
  8. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
  9. Serve with non-dairy yogurt or vanilla bean cashew cream

(I’m sharing this recipe with the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck)

Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake (Vegan & Gluten-free)  |

This cake  didn’t make much of a dent on my rhubarb supply so I think I’ll be making either my Stewed Rhubarb with Orange or my Rhubarb-Berry Compote soon! Unless you have any other tasty recipes to share?

Let me know if you try out this Strawberry & Rhubarb Polenta Cake recipe. I always appreciate your feedback.

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  1. says

    This looks like the kind of moist, fruit (even if technically a vegetable 😉 ) filled cake I like best – definitely worth the heat it required! In fact, I keep meaning to try baking with polenta so this will be perfect for when I get hold of some and test it out in baked goods.
    Kari @ bite-sized thoughts recently posted…Thai-style beetroot noodlesMy Profile

  2. says

    This looks really delicious Emma and I love, love that it is gluten-free as well! I definitely want to try this, just not sure how much brown rice flour I have left and I would need to buy some polenta. I know this sounds horrible, but I would want to put chocolate chips in mine! I really, really prefer breads, cakes with chocolate chips or blueberries. The last time I baked with strawberries, it made the muffins more wet than I’d like…does it make this cake wet?
    The Vegan 8 recently posted…Thin Mint Freezer Fudge AND I’m On YouTube Now!My Profile

    • says

      Add all the chocolate chips you want! Maybe not with rhubarb but I think choc chips and strawberries would be tasty. I didn’t find the berries made the cake wet but then I didn’t use a lot and the pieces were pretty small…

  3. says

    Mmhm, this looks lovely! I always eat cake with a fork/spoon anyway so I wouldn’t be fussed if it fell apart. Nice to see so many multiple uses for polenta too, its starting to look really appealing! I came very close to buying it the other day but didn’t, purely because I’m going to be working for the Fringe next month and will be lucky if I have enough time to EAT, let alone cook xP It’s definitely on my to-try list though.
    Shonalika recently posted…PB&J Ice CreamMy Profile

    • says

      You’re working at the Fringe?! Sounds like fun…though maybe a bit manic! You know I went last year and had such a great time. I’d love to go back to Edinburgh :)
      I always eat cake with a fork/spoon too. Makes it last longer 😉

  4. tmlcrewdson says

    I didn’t have any rhubarb in but I did have 12 blackcurrants hanging off a bush outside (the birds had the rest I think!). So I decided to donate these precious gems to trying this cake – I had a few strawberries in so that’s my combo for today! Really hope it turns out ok!

  5. says

    oh that cake looks lovely and squidgy and just right to have with a cuppa tea. I love rhubarb and get amazed at how well it cooks in a cake – we bought rhubarb yesterday and I have planned to stew it because once it is stewed it gets gobbled up here – but this is making me think about baking rhubarb cake because it is so good in cake
    Johanna GGG recently posted…Gluten free grain free almond meal pancakesMy Profile

  6. Tanya A says

    I have a strange question…if I want to use gluten flour, which would I use? I just don’t have those flours but also don’t need to avoid gluten. Thanks.

    • says

      Not a strange question at all Tanya. I can’t say for certain as I haven’t tested this recipe with wheat flour but I would leave the ground almonds and polenta in and just replace the brown rice flour and tapioca starch with the equivalent amount of regular flour- should be 3/4 C total. Let me know how it works out if you try it! E :)

    • says

      Hi Juliana, most definitely! Other chopped fruit or berries would work well instead. I think strawberries and peaches would be a lovely combination if you can get peaches in your part of the word.

  7. says

    It was sweltering hot here in Italy when I arrived few weeks ago, but thankfully not in the south. Then it rained few times a week and a local said this year was the wettest summer compared to previous summers. Right now its about 28 F. How sweet of your friend (I didn’t like rhubarb but I really like them pureed and sweetened). Wow, this is one delightful summer polenta cake – I’ve never had polenta-based cake, but they do have a very nice texture. I would love to pair this with some vanilla bean ice cream…mmmm..and for breakfast, hehe!
    rika@vm recently posted…Tarragon Potato SaladMy Profile

    • says

      29 C is definitely hot enough for me! Shame about the rain though. Looking forward to reading all about it- I don’t know anything about Turin.
      I don’t know why I didn’t think to eat a slice of the cake for breakfast! That would have been pretty fab…:D

  8. Zara says

    Hi! I just made your cake. As I’m not vegan and didn’t have any ground flax, I used an egg (from my backyard chooks!) instead. It worked out very well!
    I couldn’t see the temperature to cook the cake at, so I did 180 degrees celsius, which took less than 40 minutes.

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