Orange + Cardamom and Polenta Cake

Now, for some people cake and nutritionist shouldn't go together. However, my view is this, I have a slice of cake once in awhile and shouldn't have to feel guilty about it (and I do, have the cake). Cake, sweets and the like form a very small part of my diet and lifestyle so there are no guilt trips here. Now that we've cleared that up let's get on with the background to this recipe. The cake is an adaptation from Nigel Slater (one of my food heroes - someone I would love to have a foodie brunch with), the original recipe is about 10 years old, and was featured in the observer at the time.

All rights to images reserved  copyrights Alicia Lewis @ KitchenTakeovers
Also, having recently seen James Martin display his sugar spinning skills at the Ascot Food and Wine Weekend last month. I decided that a ball of delicately spun sugar would look rather lovely on top, sort of like a thread orange, at least that's what I was going for. Point to note here, the longer the spun ball was left out in the warm, slightly steamed up kitchen, the smaller it got! What?! Yup ask myself that too. But think about it. Moisture plus sugar result in sugary water - well, eventually (at least that's my conclusion). 

The original recipe only used one orange zest and I really wanted this to taste of orange, and thought one wasn't going to cut it. So I used 2 orange zest (you could use more) and a dash of valencia  orange essence. The syrup gave the cake a wonderful sour bite mingled with the orange sticky sweetness, it was the perfect dessert for a mediterranean themed dinner with friends. This is a 3 step cake so get organised!

Let's cook...

Orange + Cardamom and Polenta Cake

#As with all recipes on this blog unless otherwise stated they are my own; be kind enough to, link back to original, make, share and highlight - happy sharing #


Preheat oven 180C/ Gas 4. Line a 20 inch round cake tin (preferable springform), with baking parchment (see how here).

Combine the sugar and orange zest in a large mixing bowl, leave to one side (the sugar will take on the orange flavour).

Lightly toast and ground the cardamom seeds, as shown here, rub the ground seeds through a strainer to get rid of any larger bits or thrash from the husk. Measure out 1 teaspoon of the sieved cardamom powder.

Combine the butter / margarine with the sugar and orange zest and beat with an electric whisk (or food processor) you want a light colour and fluffy consistency.

Add the almond and fold in gently, like this making sure there are no lumps.

Gently beat the eggs and orange essence together with a fork. Add this to the above with the polenta and cardamom, and gently fold it in, as before, till you have a smooth batter.

Pour the cake mix in the prepared cake tin and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes reduce the temperature to 160C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes.

While the cake is baking make the syrup and candied orange slices.

All rights to images reserved  copyrights Alicia Lewis @ KitchenTakeovers

1. Strain the juice to remove any stray seeds or flesh. 2. Place all the ingredients in a clean saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Skim off any scum  or froth. The liquid should reduce to a thin but thicker than water syrup, enough grip to coat a spoon.

Candied orange slices
All rights to images reserved  copyrights Alicia Lewis @ KitchenTakeovers

1. Put the orange rounds in a clean pan and cover them with water. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and pat dry with kitchen towel - be careful not to burn yourself.

2. Put them back into the sauce pan and add the sugar and water and simmer again for 10-12 minutes. The rind should be soft and the flesh almost translucent.

Back to the cake:

Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin. Using  a clean toothpick poke holes all over the cake.

Pour the syrup over the cake whilst it is still warm, use a rubber spatula to help get an even coat over the cake.

Arrange your candied orange slices and leave the cake to cool slightly, then remove from the tin and scoff the whole lot!!! ONLY kidding - get a cuppa and a few of your choice friends and enjoy. Cake tastes better when it's shared (plus you're sharing the calories).


Bon Appetite!!

All rights to images reserved  copyrights Alicia Lewis @ KitchenTakeovers

Till next time, EAT mindfully, DRINK responsibly, and EXERCISE your mind and body!!!

All rights to images reserved  copyrights Alicia Lewis @ KitchenTakeovers

***Disclaimer: Any of the information within this blog post and others on this site is for information and educational purposes only and is NOT intended to be taken as diagnosis, treatment, cure or  to prevent any disease. Any reader concerned about his or her health is advised to seek medical advice from their GP or relevant medical professional.***

Labels: , , , ,