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 in the past).
This cake is just perfect when you have to create recipes with pantry staples. Enjoy it!
Ok, staples for us, at least. You may not have some of the ingredients, but at least they're very basic and accessible to everyone.
This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver's orange and polenta cake (this) and it's made with:
Jamie Oliver's recipe is made with butter instead of oil, but I like to use the latter in my cakes - not all of them - for a richer and softer result. I normally use a light oil (like peanuts, rice, or olive - not EVO).
Another ingredient that will make your cake soft and rich: almond flour is a fatty flour, after all.
The one you make polenta with. Read more about this below. P.S don't confuse this with cornstarch.
Whole wheat flour
Another ingredient I had to use up, so I could buy new one. I haven't tried yet but you can also use all purpose. It will be lighter in texture for sure.
Jamie Oliver in his recipe uses orange blossom water, which I never use so I didn't want to buy it. I know they're totally different but I've used oranges instead, so it's even more simple and accessible.
I've used the juice both into the batter and syrup. Makes all the difference in this orange polenta cake;)
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 (shame on me) and I was trying to find a way to use corn meal 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 too? 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's colleagues found this cake irresistible. 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 one of them 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 (it will definitely be a mess).
How to store it
Let it cool then store it into an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
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! 🙂
Remember: if you try one of my recipes, tag me on Instagram or DM me the photos!
Don’t forget to pin and share this easy and delicious recipe!
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 ricotta lemon cake as well!
© Healthy Little Cravings – Roberta Dall’Alba.
I own all content and photos’ copyright.
Before using my photos and recipes, please email me.
If you would like to republish a recipe, please link back to this post and re-write the instructions in your own words.