Love Your Heart: Meyer Lemon and Blackberry Olive Oil Polenta Cake + Giveaway!


If tomorrow wasn’t the start of National Nutrition Month, I would be shedding many tears over the end of National Heart Month. I don’t know about you, but I have thoroughly enjoyed talking about ways to keep your ticker ticking and how to enjoy every bite along the way.

Lucky for us, today is no exception. Being the 5th and final week of “Love Your Heart”, we bring you…desserts! Didn’t know desserts could be good for your heart? Keep reading!

Before I entice you with a Meyer Lemon and Blackberry Olive Oil Polenta Cake (try saying that five times fast!), be sure to drool over the heart-healthy dessert offerings from Lauren, Amy, and Cara.

Lauren whipped up some Dark Chocolate Chunk Frozen Yogurt

Amy created an absolutely adorable Fruit Tart

And Cara baked up some decadent Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes!

Can I get a yum? I’m in awe of the heart-healthy dessert line-up, aren’t you?

As for my offering, I opted for a cake that used wholesome ingredients like whole wheat pastry flour, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, blackberries, and polenta.


Over the past few week’s I’ve discussed the value of a diet high in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids that help promote healthy lipid levels in the body. By using a heart-healthy oil such as olive oil and omitting fats commonly used in baking that are loaded with saturated fat, such as butter, you can replace the “bad” fat with “good” fat.

This recipe also uses fiber-rich whole wheat pastry flour and cornmeal, as well as berries. Sneaking fiber into the diet isn’t always easy, but including it in food items such as dessert sure makes meeting the recommended 35-35 grams of dietary fiber each day a much less daunting task.


That said, don’t forget to exercise portion control and sharing when baking up things like cake. Too much of a good thing doesn’t make it better…it makes it excessive. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Because this recipe contains quite a bit of sugar, regular lemons will work just fine. I know my abundance of Meyer lemon recipes is quite the tease, but this is surely one instance where you could sub in the every-day, humble lemon!



Meyer Lemon and Blackberry Olive Oil Polenta Cake slightly adapted from Peanut Butter and Julie

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup egg substitute
Zest from 3 large Meyer lemons (or 4 large regular lemons)
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
8 oz fresh blackberries
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray an 10-inch springform pan with non-stick baking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, eggs, and egg substitute on medium-high speed for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is pale yellow and tripled in volume. Mix in the lemon zest.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and the lemon juice. Add this to the egg mixture, alternating with the flour mixture, in two additions each, mixing after each addition until the ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold the blackberries into the batter.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake the cake until the top springs back when lightly touched, and a cake tested inserted into the center emerges clean, 35-45 minutes.

Cool the cake in the pan set on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then release the sides of the pan and allow the cake to cool completely.

Sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar and garnish with additional fresh blackberries (optional) before serving.

Yield: 16 slices.

Nutrition Information (per slice): 290 calories; 14.6 g. fat; 27 mg. cholesterol; 249 mg. sodium; 37 g. carbohydrate; 2.7 g. fiber; 2.1 g. protein

Result: Moist, crumbly, and bursting with lemon and berry goodness. This cake is refreshing and light, and packed with good-for-you ingredients. Get your sweet fix this guilt-free, healthy way!


And what better way to wrap up a stellar month than with a heart-healthy giveaway!? The kind people of Bob’s Red Mill (love’em!) have generously offered up this gift for one lucky winner:

This prize package includes Bob’s Red Mill whole grain products, other goodies, AND a $25 gift card.

How to win?!

  1. “Follow” Bob’s Red Mill on Twitter and leave a comment with your Twitter handle — that way, I can follow you, too!
  2. Leave a comment with your favorite dessert and any ideas you have to make it a bit more heart-healthy ๐Ÿ˜‰

This giveaway will end Sunday, March 4th at 11:59pm EST. No purchase necessary. Comments from Cara’s, Amy’s, and Lauren’s blogs will be included in this grand prize drawing, so be sure to head there to enter for a chance to triple your chances to win!

Be well,


  1. says

    I have been trying to sub a combo of 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white flour when the recipe calls for all white flour.

    I also try to sub butter out for yogurt when I can…!

    This recipe looks great – I am going to send it to my mom because she loves lemons!

  2. says

    I think that cake looks like it’d be lovely with coffee.
    But then again, what isn’t?
    I may or may not have a coffee addiction…

    My favorite dessert is the good ol’ chocolate chip cookie. And I know people cut the fat in it by using applesauce and the like instead of butter/shortening. And I know people say you can’t taste it. But I just don’t want to do it! :(

  3. says

    HELLLLLO! best giveaway EVER!!
    My favorite dessert is a no-bake cookie. Yes, I know, random, but they are SO EASY and SO DELICIOUS! The great thing is that they are already sort of healthy, because they have oats and peanut butter :) No, as for a healthy dessert that uses Bob’s Red mill, I use Oat Bran flour for ALL My cookies. More fiber….right?!

  4. says

    I’ve been loving taking our fave desserts and swapping in almond flour or coconut flour esp when i use bobs red mill brand. They work great in baking. Awesome giveaway!
    -veniceforever :-))

  5. Emily says

    best giveaway ever! my favorite heart healthy dessert is frozen banana “ice cream” with mix-ins like pumpkin, strawberries, cocoa powder, and of course peanut butter.

  6. says

    Great giveaway! I follow Bob’s Red Mill, and I think you already follow me, but just in case it’s @RDontheMove (not to be confused with arrrr don’t he move, not the same thing lol).

  7. says

    My favorite dessert is chocolate peanut butter tofu pie, and the soy, peanut butter and chocolate all make it a little more heart healthy than other desserts (mostly the soy in this case).

  8. says

    I love meringues, which are pretty heart healthy to begin with! Also, I love the sound of these flavors – I’ve yet to make an olive oil cake, but this may push me to do so, if only I can find meyer lemons…

  9. Becca B says

    i love all dessert, but i think that subbing greek yogurt or apple sauce for oil is great, and adding wheat germ and wheat bran in muffins is a great way to amp up the health factor as well. I have also seen mashed beans used in brownies and cookies for moisture instead of oil and that adds a ton of fiber and protein to an otherwise void treat!

  10. Heather says

    My absolute favorite dessert is ice cream. To make it more heart healthy I watch my portion size, top it with fruit and granola or enjoy frozen yogurt instead of the full-fat version. I love my ice cream!

  11. says

    Wow, Nicole…this looks and sounds amazing! Love the combo of lemon and blackberries! I still have quite a few meyer lemons hanging out in the fridge…I might have to make this!

    Fav dessert would have to have chocolate in it…

    Following BRM on twitter…renee@MKAdventures

  12. says

    I love polenta but haven’t tried using it in cake yet – yours looks delicious! Lemon and blackberries is a great combination
    I follow Bob’s on twitter @4seasonsoffood

  13. says

    As for desserts…I have a weakness for chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made a whole wheat version, which makes it healthier, and I could probably add some flax seed meal too. I bet I could cut down the sugar some as well

  14. Niki says

    The best heart healthy tip is to eat as much whole foods/least processed foods as possible. You’ll get less sugar. Less salt. More nutrition and help your overall health.

  15. Stacey says

    My favorite dessert is a tie between Creme Brulee and Chocolate Mousse….sadly, I have no clue how to make either of them healthier! You should take on that challenge! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Laurie says

    My favorite dessert is ice cream, for sure! The best tasting and healthiest substitute I’ve come across is banana fro yo. So delicious!

  17. says

    this sounds incredible… love a good olive oil cake, and with polenta and meyer lemons, it should be made asap!

    my recent go-to dessert is chocolate pudding, avocado style :)

  18. MC says

    I LOVE any desserts with lemons, or any kind of citrus. This will definitely be on my list of desserts to try :)

    Lately I have been subbing whole wheat pastry flour for white flour and throwing ground flaxseeds in whatever i’m baking…

  19. Amy M says

    So many choices… I think right now I would really enjoy a hot fudge brownie sundae. I would make it heart healthy by sharing with my husband and son so I don’t eat the whole thing myself!! I would probably just have a skinny cow ice cream treat instead. They are pretty darn good. :)

  20. says

    First off – this cake looks awesome Nicole!! I love everything about it and olive oil cake is something I still want to try.

    Second – Bob’s is awesome! What a prize pack. A dessert I love to healthify a bit is pie. Instead of white AP flour I love using spelt in its place. Plus less sugar too – let fruit be the star, not sugar.

    Have a great one!!

  21. says

    There’s too many desserts to choose from, but I’m a big red velvet cookie and cake fan…applesauce substitute and using some almond flour are my healthier dessert methods.

  22. Renae says

    I love using applesauce to replace oil in any baking product. I can’t ever tell the difference. What an amazing prize pack!

  23. Sarah says

    Definitely honey applesauce cake – replaces the sugar with honey and the butter with applesauce! and it’s super good

  24. says

    My favorite dessert? That’s really tough but I am always a sucker for a giant warm gooey cookie with ice cream on top, melting from the heat of the cookie. To make it healthier, I would prepare it like I have when making my favorite chocolate chip cookies healthier – substitute one egg for flax+water, reduce the sugar a little, substitute some of the butter with yogurt, and also use some whole wheat mixed in with the white flour. Maybe even light ice cream if I’ve feeling extra good.

  25. says

    Wow, does that cake look good! I love baked goods with polenta and also baked goods with olive oil…I can just imagine how fantastic the result is when you combine them!

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway! I’m now following Bob’s on Twitter! (@AnEdibleMosaic)

  26. Katie says

    I never met a cookie I didn’t like! I’ve found that I can sub 1/3 to 1/2 of the AP flour with white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour with virtually no impact on the outcome! Still not healthy, really, but at least I’m getting some fiber :)

  27. says

    How awesome! That cake looks lovely. I’m always up for fruit and dark chocolate for dessert. I’m following Bob’s Red Mill (@eatingRD) They have the best products!

  28. says

    My favorite dessert is probobly layered cakes. Too make them healthier I usually sub half the butter for applesauce. I’ve also used olive oil instead of butter.

  29. Rebecca says

    My favorite dessert is cookie cake OR chocolate chip cookie dough brownies! They’re already super healthy already, so no changes :) teff flour, almond flour, coconut sugar — vegan + refined stuff free!

  30. Kelli says

    my favorite dessert is my chocolate trifle.

    I use bananas instead of oil when baking the cake. I use skim milk, sugar free chocolate pudding & Cool Whip Lite/Fat Free.

  31. Dulcinea says

    Wow, that lemon cake recipe looks like a real winner. I’m definitely going to be baking this weekend!

    My favorite heart-healthy recipe is something I came to a little late: quinoa pudding! I had only ever prepared quinoa in savory foods and hadn’t thought to try it in anything sweet, but it was really yummy (and filling!). I just combined cooked quinoa (very high in protein) with plain yogurt (I use regular plain yogurt, but this could become healthier still by substituting soy or some other type of yogurt), some agave nectar (has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners), and frozen mixed berries (great source of vitamin C and fiber and tasty too). I tossed in some broken walnuts in there too for good measure (and good source of healthy lipids).


  32. says

    My favorite dessert (I’m actually eating it at the moment!) is frozen banana chunks blended with almond milk, peanut flour and/or cocoa powder! pretty heart-healthy already! But when baking, I often use applesauce or mashed banana in place of butter and oil, egg whites for eggs, and always whole grain flour.
    Thanks for hosting the Love Your Heart recipe link-up! I’ve enjoyed sharing my recipes and looking at others :)

  33. Elizabeth says

    Our favorite desserts are pretty much anything from Cooking Light, which is already pretty healthy! Also love the chocolate cookies from Meal Makeover Moms!

  34. Colette says

    Spice cake mix with a can of pumpkin – no other ingredients needed! Also baked oatmeal with pumpkin, apple sauce, and whatever fruit and spices sound good at the time…yum!

  35. says

    Weird how everyone seemed to get the memo about polenta cake day but me! This looks great. I’ve done couscous cake, but polenta sounds so much richer.

  36. says

    And my favorite desserts are Popsicles but not really the store bought ones – thought I have tons of them I prefer homemade ones. I really want to figure out how to make carob pops but I’m not there yet! But my favorite is (and I’d say this is very heart healthy) 1 cup almond milk (vanilla) with a tablespoon of lemon juice added (to make faux buttermilk) then add in your favorite fruit (mine usually grapefruit (just the juice) – hubs likes blueberries) then a couple tablespoons of Splenda mix and pour into pop molds and freeze! I have two sets of Popsicle molds and I saw the seriously cutest ones the other day that I want (the tops were umbrellas) but who needs a third set?

  37. says

    I love muffins, expecially with a few chocolate chips mixed in. I use whole wheat flour and flax seed in my muffins and also sub the oil for applesauce to make them healthier.

  38. Carlee K. says

    Cookies are my weakness! But when you make them with whole wheat flour, and applesauce to replace some of the butter and use egg whites, it can make it quite healthier!

  39. Linda S. says

    I wonder how much the taste would be affected by partial substitution (say, maybe 1/3 cup) of applesauce for the olive oil.
    My favorite dessert is an almond cake made by a cousin in Italy, with a zabaglione in it. I’d like to start baking polenta olive oil cakes, because that’s how they often make cakes in Italy.

  40. michele says

    Great cake……I can’t get enough of meyer lemons! I just wish my local store had them as cheap as your Krogers!

    My fav dessert is creme brulee……full of heavy cream, sugar and egg yolks. Hey, the stomach wants what it wants! While I will indulge in the real thing on the rare special occasion, I make my own a little bit healthier by cutting the sugar and subbing lowfat milk for part of the cream and reducing the yolks. I also only “brulee” one little spot on top to get the caramelized sugar effect and serve with fresh fruit. Not “healthy”, but a better alternative that the original.

  41. Sarah F. says

    Found your site from Lauren’s blog (Healthy Food For Living). I think your blog is great! I am doing my dietetic internship right now and am excited to be an RD soon! Thanks for the great recipe too! I looove desserts, but most of the ones I eat are probably not very heart healthy :) I do enjoy some dark chocolate and I usually replace all or part of the fat with applesauce. Greek yogurt with fruit is also a favorite for me, although that is usually more of a sweet breakfast for me than a dessert :)

    • Nicole, RD says

      Sarah: Congrats! You will love being an RD! So glad you found my blog and thanks for reading. I really appreciate your sweet comment! TGIF – happy weekend! :)

  42. keilah says

    Well my favorite dessert is cheesecake which is very difficult to make healthy and still be delicious, so I guess eating less of it would be healthier! lol

  43. Amy S says

    I love chocolate chip cookies and I try to put less sugar and replace some of the flour with whole wheat flour

  44. Elena V says

    My favorite heart-healthy dessert is blended iced coffee cubes, yogurt, agave nectar, vanilla and cocoa powder, poured into glasses and frozen. It’s like Graeter’s ice-cream ( a Cincinnati thing) but healthier!

    • meredith says

      I like chocolate brownies – to make them more healthy I like to add walnuts and reduce the butter amount

  45. Lara says

    I love a bowl of strawberries topped with greek yogurt and a sprinkling of granola. So yummy and healthy!

  46. Becca says

    I’m not a big dessert person, I usually prefer salty over sweet, but on our cruise I had a Grand Marnier (?) soufflee. Not sure how to make a soufflee so I have no idea how to make it healthier :)

  47. Dolce says

    My favorite dessert is warm gooey slightly undercooked homemade brownies:) To make them more heart healthy, I use whole wheat pastry flour and light butter!

  48. says

    I’m a chocoholic and recently found a very heart healthy recipe by making my own chocolate pudding ( a vegan version too) and adding chia seeds. these tiny seeds help keep me fuller longer and care for my heart. Since they dont have a distinct flavor you could add them to just about anything.

  49. 91% Chocolate Lover says

    Well, I don’t know if it counts as a dessert, but love dark chocolate…91%, of course! And that’s already pretty healthy.

  50. Natalie J Vandenberghe says

    My favorite dessert is fresh strawberry o’cheese. If the strawberries are really ripe & flavorful, I can cut-down on the sugar. It could probably be made with low-fat cream cheese, which would probably make it more hearty-healthy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  51. Jenn says

    My favorite heart healthy dessert is frozen banana “ice cream” with a little bit of melted peanut butter drizzled on top…to.die.for!!!

  52. says

    My favorite dessert would have to be carrot cake with a ton of cream cheese frosting. I started subbing in applesauce and using lower fat cream cheese to make it a little less guilty :)

    I followed Bob’s Red Mill.. @doughseedough

  53. Rebecca smith says

    My favorite dessert is baked pineapple, the two sticks of butter make it unhealthy though. It could be worse though since it has a lot of fruit

  54. says

    This cake looks wonderful. My usual dessert of choice is ice cream…usually I go with light, but occasionally peanut butter cup ice cream is calling my name :)

    I also follow Bob’s Red Mill on twitter…and pretty sure you already follow me :)

  55. Jennifer says

    1. I followed Bob’s Red Mill (@nanerbearr)

    2. My fav dessert would be cheesecake, topped with strawberries! I use “Chantal’s NY Cheesecake” recipe and it is deliciously creamy.. but definitely high in calories and fat. I generally try to use low-fat dairy in my cheesecake – milk, sour cream, and of course the cream cheese. I find it just as delicious… also a little bit goes a long way.


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