Orange and Polenta Cake (gluten-free!) 2

Oranges are versatile.

A glass of chilled orange juice is refreshing on a hot day and no jug of Pimms is complete without a few slices. 

But oranges also conjure up the smell of mulled wine on the stove, the memories of clasping a Christingle in my hands (and secretly eating all the sweets of it) and the taste of a chocolate orange segment melting on my tongue.


An ideal gluten-free cake for any tea party


When I worked at The Pudding Stop, one of our gluten-free offerings was a lemon polenta tray bake. It was a deliciously moist cake with a crunchy topping, wonderful with a dollop of creme freche and even better teamed with a generous scoop of blackcurrant sorbet.


My mum had an unusual amount of polenta in her cupboard, so while I was ‘home’ I decided to create something similar for an afternoon of tea and cake.


Despite people repeatedly telling us how warm the weather was, it still seemed pretty cold to me and lemon seemed too summery. So I made an orange version and judging from the response it worked just as well. 


Matt spent two days insisting that he didn’t like polenta cake, before admitting he’d actually just never tried it. I pursuaded him to try some and it turns out he loves it.


I used Jamie’s recipe as a start and made a few changes.


Orange Polenta Cake
  1. 200g butter
  2. 150g caster sugar (plus a little extra for the topping)
  3. 200g ground almonds
  4. 100g polenta
  5. 3 eggs
  6. 1 teaspoon of gluten-free baking powder
  7. 3 large oranges
For the cake
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. In another bowl mix together the almonds, polenta and baking powder.
  3. Whisk one egg into the butter and sugar mixture, beating well. Add one third of the dry ingredients and mix well. Continue to alternate adding the dry mixture and the eggs until it is all incorporated.
  4. Zest the oranges and mix it into the batter along with the juice of one orange.
For the topping
  1. Wait for the cake to cool and then make small slits in the surface by stabbing it with a knife.
  2. Mix the juice of one of the remaining oranges with two tablespoons of caster sugar. Keeping it well mixed, pour the juice over the cake and use a spatula to spread it evenly over the top of the cake, making sure it gets to the edges.
  3. Leave to rest before serving.
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Orange and Polenta Cake

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