Joel Callen

Food & Wine

Orange polenta cake

Orange polenta cake

Ripe with zingy flavour, with the addition of a syrup sauce this delicious cake really is something really special.


  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g demerara sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100 g coarse polenta
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • plain yoghurt, to serve
For the syrup

  • 250ml orange juice
  • 30ml orange blossom water
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 125g golden caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease a 20cm springform tin, line the bottom and sides with baking paper and grease again.

2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and creamy. Note, the sugar will make it look gritty, but don’t worry, as it will dissolve when it’s cooked. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then stir in the vanilla essence.

3. In a small bowl, combine the ground almonds, polenta, orange zest, orange blossom water and baking powder, then stir this into the cake mix.

4. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the surface is light brown and the cake is slightly coming away from the sides of the tin.

5. Gently remove the tin from the oven, leave to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. As the cake is quite moist it’s thus a little fragile, so handle carefully as you remove it.

6. To make the syrup, put all of the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over a low–medium heat until reduced and thickened slightly, it should take about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

7. Prick the cake all over with a skewer, then brush generously with the syrup. Serve in slices with yoghurt and an extra drizzle of syrup.

Related links:

Devil’s food cake 

Flourless carrot cake

Victoria sponge cake