DISH | blood orange polenta cake

blood orange cake-16

Here I go again making a gluten free cake. Listen, I am not at all on the gluten free band wagon. I can’t imagine life without freshly baked bread. I certainly mean no offence to any intolerant folks out there but you do have to admit the gluten free diet is quite the rage right now. Funny enough, when we were in Austrailia years ago we noticed gluten free options everywhere. We wondered whether the Aussie gene was somehow gluten intolerant but it soon became obvious that the fad had simply hit Down Under first. I’m not sure what would make folks turn their back on gluten. Perhaps it’s the whole low carb craze. That’s cool though. I’ll eat their share. 

Adapted from a recipe for lemon polenta cake by Nigella Lawson, this blood orange version is moist as all hell, slightly crunchy, and stunning glazed in a brilliant blood orange syrup. Aren’t blood oranges just the coolest. So deep and crimson, truly living up to their name.

Perhaps better the second day, I can’t stop thinking about this cake. There’s just something about that moist, crunchy interior and sticky sweet crust.  I may just eat it for every meal today. I’m also beyond excited to make it with lemons or grapefruits or all the rest of the Winter citrus. 

Originally posted with weighted measures, I decided to roughly convert it to volume for all you non-weighers. I’d be lying if I said I was one of those precise bakers relying on my trusty kitchen scale. After years spent baking more than three times a day in the bush, I became a somewhat fearless baker, adapting recipes as I saw fit. While I don’t recommend that approach for the novice baker, this recipe turned out perfect. So, grab those cup measures and get baking. Just be prepared to eat cake for breakfast. Hey, at least there’s Vitamin C in there. 

a moist slightly crunchy flour less orange cake glazed in vibrant blood orange syrupa moist slightly crunchy flour less orange cake glazed in vibrant blood orange syrupA moist cake of orange, polenta and almonds glazed in a brilliant pink blood orange glaze. An orange polenta cake glazed with a stunning blood orange syrup.

blood orange polenta cake
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  1. 1 cup butter, room temperature
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 3 eggs, room temperature
  4. 1 1/2 cup ground almonds
  5. 1/2 cup cornmeal
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  7. 3 blood oranges, zested and juiced
  1. juice of 3 blood oranges
  2. 1/2 cup icing sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon Aperol or Campari (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 9" cake or springform pan with parchment and grease the sides.
  2. In a standmixer or in a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light in colour and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the almonds, cornmeal, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in two additions, mixing until just combined.
  4. Fold in the orange zest and pour into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake 35-40 min until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Let cool. Run a spatula around the edge of the cake and carefully remove from pan by inverting onto a plate.
  7. To make syrup, heat orange juice with sugar and Aperol in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until reduced and thickened. You could also simply use it once the sugar is dissolved but I wanted a thicker glaze.
  8. Poke holes all over the cake and pour syrup on top. You can also brush the sides of the cake as well. Let cool and dig in.
  1. If you're making it with lemons, use the zest and juice of 2 lemons.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Nigella Lawson


  • February 9, 2014

    movita beaucoup

    This. Is. Gorgeous.

    • February 9, 2014

      Kathy Jollimore

      Next to your mouth watering masterpieces? I don’t think so.

  • February 3, 2014

    Janice (@KtchnHealsSoul)

    Ooh, cornmeal + blood orange is such a great combination! I adore cornmeal cakes and I agree that the texture of cornmeal in cakes is awesome 🙂

    • February 3, 2014

      Kathy Jollimore

      I am so in love with the texture Janice. In our worlds, cakes come in many forms!