Orange Polenta Cake

The Orange Polenta cake recipe gets its crumbly texture from ground almonds and polenta, while the orange zest and orange-flower water lend citrus and floral flavours. The sliced orange topping embedded in rich caramel glistens from a last-minute application of a delicate orange marmalade glaze.

This is a simple and easy to cook polenta cake recipe.


For Caramel Orange Layer

  • 1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 2 navel oranges

For Cake

  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange-flower water
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups ground almonds (7 oz)
  • 2/3 cup quick-cooking polenta

For Glaze

  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon water


Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in the middle. Lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper and also the side with a strip of parchment. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from the side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so that the caramel colours evenly, until dark amber.

Remove from heat and add butter, swirling pan until well integrated, then carefully but quickly pour caramel into cake pan, tilting it to coat evenly. Grate zest from oranges and reserve for cake. Cut remaining peel, including white pith, from both oranges with a paring knife. Cut oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Remove any seeds and arrange slices in 1 layer over caramel.

Make Cake

Beat butter with sugar using an electric mixer until just combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in orange-flower water and reserved zest. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer at low speed, mix almonds, polenta, and flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined. Spread the batter smoothly over the oranges. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a cake plate and discard parchment.

Glaze Cake

Heat marmalade with water in a small saucepan until melted. Strain through a sieve into a small bowl. Brush top of cake with some of glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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