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Orange Polenta Cake (gluten free)

This delicious golden gluten-free Orange Polenta Cake is moist, rich and bursting with zesty orange flavor. It’s easy to make as it has no layers, no filling and no icing.

Eight other women and I organized an in-home cooking class and dinner with Chef Michele Lee-Pollack from My Place For Dinner Cooking School (Toronto, Canada). The highlight for me was the orange polenta cake. I became obsessed with it. The cake was melt in your mouth and intensely orange which I love.

Orange Polenta Cake (gluten free)

I finally tried it on my own. I made a couple of mistakes the first two times around, but the cakes were still delicious. My husband and I had no trouble polishing them off. In other words, this cake it pretty forgiving.

The flavor of the cake is scrumptious if you love orange. I serve it with whipped cream which I strongly recommend. The whipped cream balances the intensity of the orange perfectly.

Orange polenta cake is great for any occasion, but particularly fitting for a shower, tea or brunch. Scratch that. It’s great after dinner too 🙂

Tips

  • Which polenta or cornmeal is best to use?  Polenta is, in fact, cornmeal, but usually medium or coarse-ground. The first time I made the cake, I used medium ground cornmeal and found it too gritty. It got less grainy in the fridge as the days went by though. The second time I used finely ground cornmeal – much better. So I do suggest a finer ground cornmeal.
  • Ideally, you should use a scale to measure the dry ingredients in grams. If you don’t have one, I converted everything to cups in the recipe below.

Tailor to Your Taste

  • I love this cake with whipped cream best, but other good options are creme fraiche, yogurt or even lemon ice cream. Or nothing.
  • Instead of chopped pistachios as a garnish, try roasted hazelnuts.
  • I cut back the honey from the original recipe as I found the cake a little sweet for my taste. If you prefer it sweeter, add a bit more honey or pour more syrup onto the cake.

Make Ahead 

  • The cake can be made ahead and kept covered in the fridge. I suggest bringing it to room temperature before serving or warming it for a few seconds in the microwave.
  • The cake can also be frozen. If freezing, omit the zest and pistachios (if using) and add them before serving.

Other delicious cakes you might like:

How to make orange polenta cake (step by step)

polenta, vanilla, almond flour, oranges, eggs, butter, pistachios, baking powder, cardamom
Ingredients: Polenta or finely ground cornmeal (preferred), vanilla, almond flour, oranges, eggs, butter, pistachios, baking powder, cardamom
cake dish with parchment paper cut out to cover bottom
Grease an 8″ cake pan or springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment.
batter in bowl
Make the batter.

 

toppings - syrup, zest, chopped pistachios
While the cake is baking, make the syrup with honey and orange juice. And prepare the pistachios and orange zest garnishes.
Orange Polenta Cake baked with holes poked into it
Poke holes in the cooled cake with a cake tester.
pouring syrup over Orange Polenta Cake
Pour half the syrup over the cake.
Orange Polenta Cake garnished on plate
Garnish cake with pistachios and orange zest.

orange polenta cake, piece cut, on plate

piece of orange polenta cake on plate with side of whipped cream
Serve with whipped cream and additional syrup if desired.

 

Orange Polenta Cake on a plate with piece cut out f
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4.79 from 23 votes

Orange Polenta Cake (gluten free)

This delicious golden gluten-free Orange Polenta Cake is moist, rich and bursting with zesty orange flavor. It's easy to make as it has no layers, no filling and no icing. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 10
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups finely ground almonds or almond flour (225 gm)
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal or polenta (100 gm). I prefer finer grind cornmeal as the texture is less grainy.
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder gluten free
  • 1 cup white sugar (200 gm)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) (225 gm)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest from 2 medium oranges (plus zest from a 3rd orange for garnish)
  • Optional garnishes: chopped pistachios, additional zest, whipped cream (or yogurt or creme fraiche)

Syrup (half will be used for pouring on cake, half for serving)

  • juice from 2 oranges (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoon honey

Instructions

  • PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F. Grease an 8 inch (20 cm) round, square or springform pan with butter or oil spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
  • COMBINE FIRST 4 INGREDIENTS: Mix together ground almonds, cornmeal/polenta, cardamom and baking powder in a bowl.
  • PREPARE BATTER: In a separate mixing bowl, beat together sugar and butter until fluffy using an electric beater. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each egg. Add half the dry ingredients and beat just until mixed. Repeat with other half. Fold in vanilla and zest of 2 oranges.
  • BAKE: Pour batter (it will be very thick) into prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until cake test/toothpick comes out clean. Remove pan and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • MAKE SYRUP: While cake is baking, briskly simmer orange juice and honey in a small saucepan until reduced by about half and slightly thickened - about 8-10 minutes. It will still be quite liquidy. Let it cool.
  • FINISH CAKE: Scrape a knife around edges of pan to loosen cake. Invert onto plate, then invert it back to a serving plate so that the top is facing up. Poke holes through top all over with skewer or toothpick. Pour about HALF of syrup on cake, allowing it to absorb into the cake. Sprinkle orange zest on top to decorate as well as chopped pistachios if using. Serve with whipped cream, yogurt or creme fraiche if desired - and a drizzle of remaining syrup if you like. 

Notes

To Make Ahead/Store:
  • The cake can be made ahead and kept covered in the fridge. I suggest bringing it to room temperature before serving or warming it for a few seconds in the microwave.
  • The cake can also be frozen. If freezing, omit the zest and pistachios (if using) and add them just before serving.
 
Nutrition values are estimates and include pistachios for garnish. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Orange Polenta Cake (gluten free)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 465 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Cholesterol 98mg33%
Sodium 65mg3%
Potassium 88mg3%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 26g29%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 673IU13%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 94mg9%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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This orange polenta cake recipe has been updated with tweaked images and new information. 

 

12 Comments

  1. Followed recipe exactly (weighed ingredients) toothpick came out clean but middle of cake sunk badly and bottom of pan very greasy. I’m afraid to serve it to guests.

    1. Hi Viv, Sorry to hear your cake sunk in the middle. Cakes can be finicky. A couple of things come to mind. I assume you used baking powder and not baking soda. Is it possible your oven temperature is off? Most are. So the cake may have been under baked. It’s also best to bake it in the middle rack position. One other possibility it undermixing the batter. In any case, at this point you can serve the outer part of the cake and cut out the center that is not fully baked, if that helps.

  2. Can the recipe be made with oat flour instead of almond flour: nut allergies
    I know the flavour profile will be different but will it still be tasty?

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