11 Aug 2015

Orange, polenta and almond cake

I  love London in the summer. 
Most of the best restaurants have promotional offers going on to fill the tables left empty by Londoners who’ve gone on holiday. Parks and monuments fill up with outdoor cinemas and fun fairs. The Southbank centre puts on amazing festivals, and the rooftop terraces are back in business. 
It is definitely one of my favourite seasons in which to enjoy this beautiful city of ours!

Orange, almond and polenta cake

This cake looks very simple and plain, but is one the nicest cakes I have eaten in a long time.
With the sponge infused with the orange syrup, the cake is so moist, luxurious and full of flavour. 
I served it with a homemade lemon thyme ice-cream, but a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or a good dollop of creme fraiche would do wonders too.


For the cake 
200 g soft unsalted butter
200 g caster sugar
200 g ground almonds
100 g fine polenta
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
Zest of 4 oranges (save juice for syrup) 

For the syrup 
Juice of 4 oranges
50g g icing sugar


1/ Preheat the oven to 180°C

2/ Line the base of a 20-25 cm springform cake tin with baking parchment and grease it it all over with butter.

3/ By hand with a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy.

4/ Mix together the almonds, polenta and baking powder, and beat some of this into the butter-sugar mixture. Add 1 egg, and mix a bit more. Then add some more of the dry ingredients, then another egg, and so on until you have added all the dry ingredients and eggs.

5/ Beat in the orange zest and spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.

6/ Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out just clean. The edges of the cake might have begun to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Remove from the oven on a cooling rack, and leave in the tin.

7/ Make the syrup: boil the orange juice with the icing sugar in a small pan, letting it thicken slightly (it will take about three to four minutes)

8/ Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester or a tooth pick, pour the warm syrup over the cake, and leave to cool completely before taking it out of its tin.

For this cake, I did a mix between recipes from Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver.

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