Blood Orange, Polenta, Almond Cake

As with most cakes, this tastes even better the day after, as the caramely, orangey goodness gets the chance to seep down to the bottom. But I have to say that generally by the time I have turned it out I am itching for at least one slice.


| serves 10 |

For the caramel -

  • 40g of unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 75g of light golden caster sugar or coconut sugar (about 1/2 a cup)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

    For the cake -

    • 2 blood oranges
    • 5 organic eggs, separated
    • 130g golden caster sugar (about a cup) plus 3 tablespoons - or coconut sugar
    • 110g ground almonds (about 1 cup)
    • 75g polenta (½ cup)
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp pure, organic, vanilla extract


    • Preheat your oven to 180°. Grease and line an 8 inch spring form cake tin with baking parchment.
    • Begin by zesting both of your oranges keeping the zest aside. Using a sharp serrated knife chop the bottom and top from just one of your oranges before slicing off its skin and any white pith. Slice the orange horizontally into about 1cm slices being careful to keep the segments intact. Set aside. 
    • To cook the caramel place your butter into sugar into the pan and heat on a medium heat stirring constantly. Cook for about five minutes. You will notice bubbles are starting to form and a smell of caramel. As soon as the bubbles begin to climb up the sides remove from hob. Stir in your lemon juice and pour it into the base of your lined cake tin spreading it out as much as you can.
    • Arrange your orange slices over the caramel placing any more attractive sides of the orange slices face-down. 
    • In a large bowl, using an electric whisk, whizz your egg yolks with the 130g of sugar until the mixture has become a light brown as has a bit of a shine to it. (About 3- 4 minutes)
    • Add your polenta, almonds, baking powder, orange zest and the juice of the remaining orange and stir with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are incorporated.
    • Clean and dry your whisk and In a separate bowl whisk your egg whites until they are slightly stiffened and hold what I like to call a droopy peak. At this stage begin to gradually add the 3 tablespoons of sugar whilst you whisk. You will be left with a slightly speckled golden meringue like looking mixture.
    • Take about one third of the egg white mixture and stir it into the cake batter to loosen it up a little.
    • Pour the remaining egg white mix and gently fold into the cake mix making sure no lumps of egg white remain.
    • Give the cake a little wobble and tap the edges just to remove any excess air bubbles and place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
    • The cake should be springy to touch and nicely browned.
    • Remove the cake and allow it to cool on a wire rack until the tin has cool for five to ten minutes before removing the sides and allowing it to cool completely. I like to run a sharp knife around the edges of the tin before doing this just to loosen any caramel. 
    • When the cake has cooled invert it onto a serving plate and remove the parchment. 
    • Serve with creme fraiche or coconut yogurt if you like.