Spring has been slow to arrive here in London. We’ve been getting peeks at the sun, followed by spurts of cold, gray rain. In other words, it’s been the most London-y of London springs. That’s why I had to make this sunny blood orange polenta cake a few weeks ago, to bring some brightness into our house. Best of all, it’s a gluten free cake!
Here’s the thing about simple cakes that don’t require layering or icing: they’re awesome. All you need is a pan (I love this loose-bottomed one, which makes the cake easy to pop out in one piece after it’s baked), some basic ingredients, and time. These types of cakes like this blood orange polenta cake are weekday cakes, the kind you can whip up and have with a cup of tea in the evening right before bed.
The recipe for this blood orange polenta cake comes directly from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook 5 Ingredients, which is one of my go-to meal planning cookbooks. The cookbook is really simple, boiling down everything from a tender slow-cooked lamb shoulder to various riffs on pasta dishes that are family crowd-pleasers. Every recipe requires just five ingredients (besides olive oil, salt and pepper), and it’s the one cookbook I find myself reaching for over and over again. The end result is a nutty, zesty cake with tons of flavor packed into a very simple, dense dessert.
The only major difference with my recipe is that I added fresh springs of mint to the simple syrup that you trickle over the cake once it’s been baked for an extra dash of freshness. The cake turned out delightfully moist, full of flavor, and absolutely perfect with a hot cup of tea. If this is the one tidbit of English culture that I take with me back to the US, it’ll be this cake-and-tea in the afternoon habit. Maybe you can join me?
- 10 blood oranges (if you can't find blood oranges, regular ones are just fine)
- 250g (3/4 cups) of honey
- 3 large eggs
- 200 grams (2 cups) ground almonds or almond flour
- 100g (1 cup) polenta
- 200ml (1 cup) olive oil
- 2 sprigs of mint, plus more for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius). Grease and flour a 9-inch baking pan with olive oil and set aside.
- Squeeze the juice of 3 oranges into a small saucepan, add ¼ cup of the honey and whisk to combine. Simmer the honey over medium low heat until the mixture is thickened and remove from heat. Add the mint springs and leave to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil with the remaining ½ cup of honey for 2 minutes with an electric mixer on low speed. Switch the electric mixer on high speed and beat in the eggs for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and zest in 3 oranges. add the ground almonds, polenta and the juice of 2 oranges.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 40-50 minutes until the cake is cooked through, then leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Poke the cake all over with a skewer. Remove the springs of mint from the pour the honey/orange syrup and pour the syrup all over the cake.
- Decorate with more sliced oranges and fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately or leave to continue cooling and serve at room temperature.
Looking for other dessert ideas? Check out these recipes:
- Chocolatey Banana and Nutella Brownies
- Strawberry Cake Roll
- Raspberry and Lemon Curd Chiffon Cake
- Lemon Tart Recipe