This cake is gluten free and uses a mixture of polenta and nutrient filled nuts to add texture and flavour. Blood oranges are one of my favourites, i love the variation you get in colour and they have such a beautiful flavour with a slight bitterness which balances this cake nicely. This is a cake, so it’s not health food but we all need cake sometimes and this one is full of real ingredients and amazing flavour.
I initially made this cake for a monthly ‘ladies that lunch’ lunch that I do with the girls that I completed the Oxfam Trail with. For the first time we decided to not do a restaurant lunch and eat at Emma’s house. We chose a theme, Mediterranean, and everyone bought a dish… or two. Of course, we had entirely too much food but it was all so delicious it just meant that lunch had to go for longer so we could try it all! There was bruschetta, slow cooked lamb, salads, grilled meat, dolmades, baked eggplant, spanikopita – so much. I baked this cake to finish our meal and it’s dense stickiness was perfectly balanced by the fresh yoghurt.
If your yoghurt isn’t super thick strain it by placing it in a muslin lined (or use a clean chux) sieve over a bowl in the fridge overnight.
190g unsalted butter (softened)
110g fine polenta (not instant)
100 ml hot water
110g coconut sugar
1 tsp honey
3 large eggs
90g ground hazelnuts or almonds – whatever you have on hand
Juice and rind of one blood orange
3 more blood oranges, skin and pith removed and cut into 2-5mm slices
2/3 cup strained plain or greek yoghurt
1/2 vanilla bean
Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. Line a 20cm spring loaded cake tin. Combine water and polenta and leave to stand (about 10 minutes – or the time it takes to complete the next steps).
Beat together the butter, sugar and honey until pale and fluffy. Combine the eggs one at a time being sure that each egg is well combined before adding the next one. Add the hazelnuts, polenta, zest and juice and stir to combine – if the mixture looks like it is separating at all just beat it to bring it back together.
Pour mixture into your prepared cake tin and place in oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes – until a skewer comes out clean. You may need to cover the top with foil to prevent from burning. Once cooked allow to cool in the tin. Turn the temp in the oven up to 200 and put the grill on.
Line a baking tray with paper and place the orange slices on. Grill for 5 -10 minutes or until starting to colour. Remove from the oven.
Remove the cooled cake from the tin and arrange the orange slices on top (see first picture). Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the yoghurt. Mix to combine and slice the leftover pod lengthways, to decorate cake with. Serve the cake with the vanilla yoghurt.