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Orange Polenta Cake by James Hillery

Orange polenta cake is one of my favourites. Gluten and fat free, deliciously moist and can easily be dressed up to be a showstopper. The caramelised oranges slices look like little stained glass windows and the addition of some edible petals and pistachios gives the mascarpone icing a lovely splash of colour.  

Makes 1 x 20 cm cake, approx. 12 slices.



Caramelised orange slices

  • 2 medium oranges
  • 150g caster sugar


  • 4 medium oranges
  • 6 large eggs
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 125g polenta
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Mascarpone Frosting

  • 110g mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

To decorate

  • 25g pistachios sliced
  • optional edible flowers


Caramelised Blood Orange Slices

  • In a medium saucepan add 150g caster sugar with 150ml of water. Simmer on a medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Thinly slice the oranges and place them in the sugar syrup. Bring to a gentle boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow to cool.
  • Remove the orange slices carefully and lay on a lined baking tray. Reserve the syrup. 
  • Preheat the oven 150c/130c Fan, Bake for 10 minutes then   flip the slices over and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the oven and allow to cool in the oven.


The Cake

  • Place the oranges into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 160c/140c Fan. Line and grease a 20cm round cake tin.
  • Remove the oranges from the saucepan.
  • Chop the oranges roughly and remove any pips, then put the oranges into a food processor or blender and blitz until they are a smooth paste.
  • In a large bowl or a stand mixer beat the eggs and sugar until pale and thick.
  • Gently combine the blitzed orange.
  • Add the dry ingredients: polenta, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, making sure you leave a centimetre from the top to allow for a little rise.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  • Once the cake is baked, remove from the oven, prick the surface all over with a cocktail stick or skewer. Pour about 70ml of the reserved orange syrup over the surface of the cake.
  • Let the cake cool in the cake tin before removing. 


The Icing

  • In a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric whisk,  whisk together the mascarpone cheese, cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract until smooth, thick and fluffy. 
  • Spread the icing on the top of the cooled cake and decorate with the caramelised orange slices, pistachios and flowers (if using). 

Check out James on instagram @cluckmuckcook for more recipes and baking inspiration! 

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