Let me tell you: we (me, boyfriend and his colleagues) definitely needed this orange polenta cake to brighten up our days (just like the lemon ricotta cake I shared last week).
I won’t be here complaining, and I won’t be here talking about this situation on the blog. Not because I want to ignore it, but just because everyone is talking about this (obviously, and I get that), instead I want to keep a calm environment here on the blog 🙂
Anyway, this cake is perfect for these weeks in which you have to create recipes with pantry staples.
Enjoy and stay safe!
Perfect cake with pantry staples
Ok, staples for us, at least. You may not have some of them or you may not be able to find them at the store (some crazy people are stocking up on things like never before).
This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s orange and polenta cake (this) and it’s made with: oil, sugar, eggs, almond meal, corn meal, whole wheat flour, oranges and baking powder. Jamie Oliver’s recipe is made with butter instead of oil, and orange blossom water, which I didn’t use to make it even simpler.
Now take a look at your pantry: do you have some polenta flour (corn meal) left? I made this recipe because of that! I don’t make polenta very often and I was trying to find a way to use cornmeal up.
Jamie’s recipe calls for more almond meal rather than corn. I did the opposite, so I guess mine tastes more like corn.
Do you have almond meal and whole wheat flour (ditto, I had some to use up)?
Ok then, ready to give it a try?
How to make this easy orange polenta cake
First let me say a couple of things: my boyfriend colleagues ADORED this cake. They devoured it!
The texture: it’s not like the typical cake you’re used to. Since we’re going to use a “high” amount of corn meal, you can really taste it (especially its “crunchiness”!). That’s something that you either appreciate or you don’t.
The smell: OMG, it’s amazing. That orange zest!!! It reminds me of the bundt cakes mom and grandma used to make when I was a kid! The kitchen smelled exactly like this.
Now, let’s see the 5 steps to make this polenta cake (you can use a stand mixer at medium speed or a hand mixer):
- Combine oil and sugar;
- Add one egg at a time, let incorporate;
- Add all the remaining ingredients;
- Grease an 8-inch (or 9) pan, line with parchment paper, then bake!
- Optional but highly recommended: make the orange syrup and drizzle it on top! Garnish with pistachios and orange zest.
Is corn meal the same as corn flour?
There may be a bit of confusion.
I will use these words interchangeably, in this post.
To be precise though, corn meal is made from grinding corn into a coarse flour.
Corn flour instead is much finer.
And don’t forget that polenta is a dish, instead cornmeal is an ingredient. Polenta is made with coarse cornmeal.
P.S. in Italy we have different corn flours to make polenta and each gives a different result: fioretto (finer) and bramata are the ideal to make this amazing comfort dish.
Can I make this polenta cake with cornstarch?
Is corn starch and corn flour the same?
Cornstarch is the endosperm of corn kernels which is then ground into a powder and used as a thickening agent in baking. So, cornstarch comes from the starchy part.
Cornmeal (corn flour) instead is basically ground whole corn kernels.
If you’ll try this recipe with cornstarch you won’t have the same result.
Do you have other questions?
It’s not easy to answer all the questions you may have, so PLEASE leave a comment below and I’m glad to reply! Thank you.
If you make this recipe, please be sure to give it a rating and leave a comment! It would make me so happy! 🙂
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ORANGE POLENTA CAKE
- 110 gr Oil
- 150 gr Light brown sugar
- 3 Eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 100 gr Almond meal
- 200 gr Corn flour (polenta flour) – (mine was not fine, it was coarse)
- 70 gr Whole wheat flour
- 2 Organic oranges – (we'll need zest and a bit of juice)
- 2 teaspoons Baking powder
- a pinch Salt
- 100 gr Orange juice
- 50 gr Light brown sugar
- a pinch Cardamom powder
- Orange zest
- Preheat the oven at 160° C (320° F)
- Using a stand mixer, combine oil and sugar until you obtain a creamy mixture (it won't be as creamy as if we used butter). Use medium speed.
- Add one egg at a time, let incorporate.
- Add vanilla extract, corn, almond, and whole wheat flours, baking powder, orange zest, salt and 40 grams of orange juice, combine (always at medium speed).
- Grease an 8-inch (or 9) pan and line it with parchment paper, then pour the batter and bake the cake for about 50 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let it cool down (if possible, overnight).
In the meantime, prepare the syrup:
- Put orange juice, sugar and cardamom powder in a saucepan. Simmer over a medium-low heat until thickened.
- When cake is cooled, prick it all over with a skewer, then pour all or some of the syrup on top.
- Garnish with pistachios and orange zest.
Loved this cake? I think you’ll LOVE this lemon cake as well!
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