Orange polenta cake (vegan)
This is one of those orange cakes that incorporates the whole orange, boiled and pureed and folded into the cake mix, giving it an intensely orangey flavour and moist texture. Boiling the oranges whole takes away the bitterness of the skin and makes the orange flesh all jammy and sweet.
This type of cake is usually made as a classic gluten-free option, but it always calls for loads of eggs. I've adapted the recipe to make it vegan, but it does involve some wheat flour as it's pretty hard (but not impossible) to make cakes vegan and gluten-free. So, of you can tolerate a bit of gluten, this cake is well worth it!
2 medium oranges
150g fine cornmeal/polenta
50g ground almonds
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ tsp salt
130g caster sugar
50ml (½ cup) vegetable oil (or another flavourless oil)
60ml (¼ cup) lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
120ml (½ cup) non-dairy milk (use almond or oat)
120g (½ cup) non-dairy yogurt (use coconut)
60 ml (¼ cup) freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp castor sugar
1 orange, sliced
Place the 2 oranges whole in a saucepan and cover with water. Place on the hob and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 40 minutes and then drain. Cut in half, remove the seeds and then chop roughly into chunks. Add to a food processor and blitz into a paste.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 23cm/9inch spring form cake tin. Line the base with greaseproof paper and grease the sides with margarine or oil
Place the cornmeal, ground almonds, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Add the pureed oranges, sugar, oil, lemon juice, milk, yogurt and whisk well until no dry lumps remain.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and spread it level.
Bake for about 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
While the cake is baking, place the oranges slices in a pan, add the orange juice and sugar and simmer gently until the sugar has dissolved
When the cake is done, arrange the oranges slices on the top and drizzle over the syrup while it is still hot then allow to cool a little before serving.
The cake is best eaten on the day it is baked but will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container.