Baking, Recipes

Olive Oil, Polenta and Citrus Cake

We have always wanted to try a polenta cake – this recipe uses almond, polenta and olive oil, making it a great gluten free cake option. The combination of rosemary with lemon and orange makes for a flavour packed cake, great served on its own or with some cream!



3 lemons
3 large oranges, or 4 medium sized
170 grams blanched almonds
170 grams caster sugar
4 large eggs
85ml extra virgin olive oil
150 gram polenta – we used Sainsbury’s instant polenta
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 sprigs rosemary
75 grams caster sugar for the glaze


  1. Add one large orange / or two medium oranges, and one lemon to a pan of boiling water and leave to simmer for 25 minutes.
  2. Lightly toast the almonds in a pan over medium heat. Keep an eye on them and keep moving every minute or so. They won’t turn brown but will smell toasted. This takes around 5 minutes. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes.
  3. In a bowl, beat the eggs until they start to foam, for around 1 minute. Add the sugar with a pinch of salt and keep whisking until creamy and light. Takes around 5 minutes.
  4. In a blender, pulse the almonds with the leaves from 6 rosemary springs until the almonds are a fine powder. It is fine to have some big rosemary bits in there.
  5. When the boiled fruit is done, cut in half and remove the seeds. Our large oranges had no seeds which made life easier. Add the whole fruits  including the skins into a blender with the juice of one lemon and one more orange. Blend into a paste / pulp. If you taste it at this point it will not taste good and will be bitter but do not panic!
  6. Add the almonds, olive oil and fruit pulp to the mix, and combine.
  7. Mix in the polenta and baking powder. When combined, pour into a 23cm loose bottom cake tin which has been lined with grease proof paper and buttered. If you are not wanting to use butter, use some olive oil.
  8. Bake at 180C for 40 minutes. The top will be brown, and a skewer should come out clean. If not, keep for longer.
  9. Meanwhile, make the syrup by combining the juice of 2 oranges and one lemon (around 150ml) with 75gram of caster sugar and the leaves from two sprigs of rosemary. Put on a medium heat until it boils and becomes a syrup. Takes around 5 minutes. Strain out the rosemary.
  10. When the cake is done, make some holes in it with a skewer and pour on the glaze. You want it to soak into the cracks and holes.
  11. Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool on a rack before eating.



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