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orange polenta cake on a plate with a slice carved out
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4.8 from 34 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 (change as needed): 10
Author: Cheryl


  • 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


  • 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. 


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. 
Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 673IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 2mg