Tuesday, 6 December 2011


And now, from testicular apparitions to cake. This recipe is sweet, citrusy (yes, really) and very quick. It’s definitely one to make on a wet day as chances are you’ve already got the ingredients, so no reason to go flapping through a downpour just to get to the shops. It’s also a pretty impressive shade of yellow, thanks to the polenta, almonds and citrus fruit making for a very cheery dessert/treat/lunch.

This recipe is very slightly adapted from Joanna Weinberg’s Feed Your Friends With Relish - the original asks for 225g of ground almonds, but in my experience almonds are generally sold in 200g packets so I swapped the extra 25g with polenta; if you’re any less stingy than me you’ll probably just buy the extra packet. If you're feeling very fancy, you could also get the almonds whole, toast and then blitz them.

It’s also good to make sure the butter’s soft or the dry mix flies everywhere.

If your house is cold and you do not have a microwave, leave the butter to soften by the fire while you get everything else ready.

Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the citrus juice and zest and orange flower water...

... then give it a final stir and spread into the tin. Whichever tin you like - this one is a 20cm springform, but Weinberg suggests using a loaf tin. And into the oven!

It gets so dark early now that, by the time the cake had cooled and I'd faffed about arranging it on the plate, there was no natural light left... hence the less than dreamy photograph. Still, what matters is that this cake is sweet, dense, sticky and zesty, with an ever so slight crunch on the outside. Close your eyes and imagine lying under a fragrant orange grove in the Mediterranean!* Open them just in time to watch Hollyoaks/Come Dine With Me/Frozen Planet/Snog Marry Avoid and to enable you to see where your next slice is coming from.

Finally, this is one of those cakes that - if you can wait - tastes even better the next day. I definitely won't judge if you can't. Enjoy!

Almond and Orange Flower Cake

adapted from Feed Your Friends With Relish by Joanna Weinberg

225g butter, cubed
100g ground polenta
200g ground almonds
225g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
3 eggs
grated zest of 1 orange, juice of half
grated zest and juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons orange flower water
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan) or gas 3. Grease and line your tin and set aside.

Mix together the polenta, almonds, sugar and baking powder and add the softened butter.

Using an electric whisk or wooden spoon, beat together until the butter has been worked through and the dough is beginning to come together; it should look a bit like marzipan.

Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each. Next, add the zest and juice of the orange and lemon and, finally, the orange flower water. Give it a final stir before spreading into the tin.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a skewer dipped into the centre comes out clean and the cake is golden on top. Leave to cool before dusting with icing sugar.

*There's oranges in the Mediterranean, right?


  1. I've recently 'got into' polenta as a savory dished (with lots of herbs and garlic, baked and fried, mostly) and have been on the look out for sweet dishes to use it in. This looks pretty darn good! My boss made a similar cake once, an old Jewish recipe I think, where you boil the oranges WHOLE and then blend them up, putting everything in the cake - it was delish!

    1. See that sounds delicious, every time I try and cook savoury polenta it ends up a sloppy mess! Clearly I need to try a bit harder finding recipes.

      Also, the boiled oranges/blended cake sounds amazing. Thanks for the tip!