After our visit to Jamie’s Italian in York last week, I felt inspired to try to bake my own version of the gorgeous dessert I had there – an orange blossom polenta cake.
I actually looked at a few recipes for polenta cake, most with either orange or lemon, but this authentic Jamie Oliver one was the nicest-looking and easiest to make, so I stuck with it. I’m not the best baker but I like to have a go, and I have to say the way this made my house smell while it was in the oven was totally out of this world.
With my little helper Florence, I made this gluten-free treat yesterday and I know it won’t be for the last time. We were lucky in that we went out for a few of the ingredients we didn’t have – like orange blossom water – and actually managed to find all of it in our local health food shop. The orange blossom water smells amazing, like perfume! I’m sure I could find some more uses for the rest of the bottle.
So after telling everyone in the shop that we were going home to make an orange cake, Flo loved helping by pouring in the ingredients, holding the electric mixer with me and of course licking the spoon. I served mine with a big dollop of natural yogurt, but you could use creme fraiche or cream if you prefer.
Jamie Oliver’s Orange Blossom Polenta Cake
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
200g demerara sugar
3 large free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g ground almonds
100g coarse polenta
2 oranges, zest of
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
crème fraîche or plain yoghurt, to serve
For the syrup:
250ml orange juice, (from about 3-4 oranges)
30ml orange blossom water
5 cardamom pods, crushed
125g golden caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 2½. Grease and line a 20cm springform tin on the bottom and sides.
Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla essence. I actually used vanilla bean paste as I had some in the cupboard.
In another bowl, mix the ground almonds, polenta, orange zest, orange blossom water and baking powder (I didn’t use gluten-free), then stir it into the cake mix.
Pour into the tin and bake for 40–50 minutes, or until the top of the cake is light brown.
Take the tin out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a plate.
To make the syrup, add all the ingredients to a pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Then, remove the cardamon pods from the pan, make holes on the top of the cake with a skewer and pour or brush on the syrup.
Eat and enjoy!