Orange polenta and olive oil cake recipe

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This orange polenta and olive oil cake has just a handful of ingredients and will taste even better if you can bake it a couple of days ahead.

Orange polenta and olive oil cake recipe
(Image credit: Future)
Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time1 hours
Total Time1 hours 15 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories374 Kcal19%
Saturated Fat3 g15%
Fat21 g30%
Carbohydrates38 g15%

The best thing about this cake is that it improves in flavour a couple of days after baking if you can wait that long for a slice.

This recipe has eight ingredients and you probably already have most of them in the cupboard. There are only four steps in the method and while the cake is delicious on its own, especially with a cup of tea, you could also serve it with a dollop of natural yogurt and some flaked almonds as a dessert. Using ground almonds and polenta makes this cake naturally gluten-free and keeps the sponge moist. We’ve made a simple syrup to pour over, but if you’re not making it for the kids, consider adding a dash of gin or whisky.


  • 175g (6oz) ground almonds
  • 125g (4oz) express polenta
  • 1tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 125ml (4fl oz) olive oil
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Raspberries, to serve




  1. Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan, Gas 5). Brush a 20cm springform cake tin with oil and line the base with a circle of baking parchment. Mix the almonds, polenta, baking powder and 1⁄2tsp salt together.
  2. In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs and 200g (7oz) of the sugar with electric beaters until thick and voluminous. Very slowly whisk in the oil, then fold in the dry mixture.
  3. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 1 hr or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Meanwhile, stir together the orange zest and juice, and the remaining 75g (21⁄2fl oz) caster sugar. Prick the cake all over with a skewer while still warm, and drizzle over the orange syrup.
  5. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin and serving with raspberries on the side.

Top tips for making our orange polenta and olive oil cake

If you’d like to add a little crunch to the finished cake, scatter over some demerara or granulated sugar once the cake is nearly cool. Toasted flaked almonds are another great choice and will hint at the ground almonds in the batter. Continue reading for more useful tips when making polenta cake…

What is express polenta?

Also known as instant polenta, express polenta is very finely ground and cooks quicker than unrefined polenta. 

How can I decorate a polenta cake?

Consider making this an upside-down orange cake for an easy but elegant decoration. Simply thinly slice a small orange and arrange it in the base of the cake tin before pouring over the batter. Bake as normal and allow to cool in the tin for 20-30 mins before turning it out onto a plate with the bottom side up. We’d recommend a plate with a rim to catch any of the syrup that seeps out. 

What can I flavour cake with?

Add a dash of almond or vanilla essence to the eggs if you want an even more intense flavour. 

Profile picture of Jessica Ransom
Jessica Ransom

“I love the taste you get when you bake with olive oil, but if you’re not keen on the combination, use a flavourless vegetable oil instead.”

For this recipe, you’ll need a 20cm springform tin. It’s a useful size that you can use for lots of other bakes including a classic Victoria Sponge or our chocolate cake recipe.  

Tala Performance 20cm Springform Round Cake Tin - View at Amazon

Tala Performance 20cm Springform Round Cake Tin - View at Amazon

When you’re not baking sponge cakes in this tin, you can use it to make cheesecake, shape loaves of bread, and even cook pastry cases. We recommend hand-washing the tin to maintain its non-stick coating. 

If you like this cake, try our lemon cake with olive oil next. You might also like this simple lemon polenta cake or this orange drizzle loaf is a great option for picnics and bake sales. 

Rose Fooks
Deputy Food Editor

Rose Fooks is Deputy Food Editor at Future Publishing, creating recipes, reviewing products and writing food features for a range of lifestyle and home titles including GoodTo and Woman&Home. Before joining the team, Rose obtained a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Going on to work in professional kitchens at The Delaunay and Zedel.

With contributions from