Blood Orange Polenta Cake


I was sent a gift of blood oranges in the post by @dapheslondon and so I felt it was reason enough to make one of my old favourites. This is the blood orange polenta cake that I used to make at Gelupo every week. Sadly these blood oranges didn’t have much colour but you can imagine it being more striking with darker shades of pink.


Serves 10


100g quick-cook polenta

200g ground almonds

2 tbsp rice flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

zest of 3 oranges

200g soft unsalted butter, cut into cubes

200g unrefined caster sugar/soft brown muscovado

3 medium free-range eggs, beaten lightly together

1 1/2 tsp orange blossom water

1 tsp vanilla extract, optional

Unrefined icing sugar for dusting

For the syrup:

the juice of 4 oranges, (about 140ml) plus 1 orange for decoration

100g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Grease and line a 10 inch cake tin with baking parchment.

Measure out the first 5 ingredients into a bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar with an electric handheld whisk until light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes depending on how soft the butter is. Slowly whisk in the beaten egg a little at a time whilst also adding in the dry mix until everything is well combined. Lastly add in the orange blossom water and vanilla extract if using. Use a spatular to scrape everything into the cake tin and into the oven for about 30 minutes or until its golden on top. Insert a skewer and it should come out fairly clean and leave to cool.

Just before the cake is ready, add the orange juice and sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer until it has reduced a little and thickened. Carefully remove cake from tin and use a cocktail stick to pierce a few small holes in the top of the cake. Pour the warm syrup over the top and leave to come to room temperature. Dust the top with icing sugar!

Slice off the top and bottom of the leftover orange with a serrated knife. Carefully slice off the outer skin so that you just remove the white layer but not too much of the orange flesh. Then carefully cut out the segments and then arrange the pieces on top. Sprinkle over with some finely chopped pistachios and serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Nina ParkerComment