Orange Polenta Cake (Gluten-Free)
A superb cake with a moist crumb and a rich, fruity flavor.
Vegetarian. Hands-on time: 10 mins. Total time: 1 hour.
Contributed by (December 2010).
Photo © Veg World
This is an excellent cake that's not at all difficult to make. Because it uses polenta (maize meal) rather than wheat flour, it's particularly light and fresh. It has a nice moist texture, and is very flavorsome.
The cake is suitable for those on a gluten-free diet (but note that some brands of baking powder contain gluten; if that's an issue for you, be sure to check the label).
You can use exactly the same recipe to make a lemon polenta cake: simply use three lemons instead of the two oranges.
- 2 large oranges
- ¼ cup (2 oz, 50 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (6½ oz, 190 g) superfine sugar (caster sugar)
- 1 2/3 cups (9 oz, 250 g) polenta (yellow maize meal), uncooked
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 3½ tbsp. milk
- 2 tbsp. plain yogurt or crème fraiche
- 2/3 cup (5 fl oz, 150 ml) water
Pre-heat oven to 360°F (180°C)
Zest the oranges. In a large mixing bowl, add the zest to the butter. Then add about two-thirds of the sugar, along with the raw polenta meal, baking powder, eggs, milk and yogurt or crème fraiche.
Mix thoroughly until completely smooth. The easiest way to do that is with either a food processor or a hand-held electric mixer that has a balloon-style whisk attachment. But you can also mix it by hand if necessary.
Place the mixture in an oiled loaf tin. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, make a syrup. To do so, place the juice of the two oranges in a small pan, along with the remaining sugar and the water. Bring to the boil, and simmer for ten minutes. Then remove from the heat and leave to cool. The mixture should become thick and syrupy.
When the cake is ready, leave it in the baking tin, and pierce the top in several places with a fork. Pour about half the syrup evenly over the entire top of the cake. Wait a few minutes for it to become absorbed, then repeat with the remaining syrup.
When the cake is cool, remove it from the tin, and serve.
Note on quantities and temperatures:
Quantities are given in American (cups), imperial (oz, fl oz) and metric (g, ml) units. Do not mix the units - use one or other system throughout the recipe.
See also How much does a cup weigh?
oz = ounces, fl oz = fluid ounces, g = grams, ml = milliliters, tsp = teaspoons, tbsp = tablespoons.
Oven temperatures are given in degrees F (Fahrenheit) and C (Celsius).
For fan-assisted ovens, reduce the temperature by 20F or 10C.