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Orange and Honey Polenta Cake

A fragrant, sticky cake made with almond flour, polenta, and cardamom and drizzled with citrus syrup while still warm. Perfect alongside a cup of tea.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cake, gluten free, party and entertaining
Servings: 10
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $6.00


  • 8-inch Cake Pan
  • Parchment Paper
  • Stand Mixer
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Saucepan


For the Cake:

  • 1 cup Butter, softened (220 g)
  • 1 ¼ cup Cane Sugar (220 g)
  • 3 cups Almond Flour (300 g)
  • 3 large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • finely grated zest and juice of a large Orange
  • 1 cup Polenta (150 g)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Ground Cardamom (see note)

For the Syrup:

  • Juice of 2 lemons, juice of 2 oranges, 4 tbsp honey


  • Grease an 8-inch cake tin with softened butter and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  • In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. Add the almond flour to the mixer and beat on low until just combined. Remove the mixer bowl from the stand and, using a wooden spoon, gently stir the eggs and zest and juice of an orange into the batter. In a seperate small bowl, whisk together the polenta, baking powder, and ground cardamom. Fold these dry ingredients into the batter, just until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the lined tin and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes, and then reduce the oven's heat to 320 degrees F (160 degrees C) and bake for another 25 -30 minutes or until the cake is firm and deep golden brown on top.
  • To make the syrup, squeeze the lemon and orange juice into a stainless steel saucepan, bring to a boil and add the honey, stirring to combine. Keep the liquid boiling until it has formed a thin syrup (4-5 minutes).
  • Spike holes into the top of the cake (still warm and in its pan) with a skewer then spoon the hot citrus syrup evenly over the top. Leave in the pan until nearly cool, then lift out of the tin.
  • Serve in thick slices with thinly sliced fresh oranges.


Generously adapted from Nigel Slater's recipe in the Observer and discovered thanks to this beautiful blog post on Rachel Eats. Nigel Slater's original recipe advises that you use 12 whole cardamom pods for this recipe. Crush them and grind the extracted black seeds for a more deeply complex cardamom flavor than you will get with the pre-ground variety. Cardamom does not retain its intense flavor for as long as some spices, so I too would recommend grinding your own, although I would argue this cake is every bit worth making even if you prefer to skip that step.