Recipe: Zesty and floral focus to top bake

This orange polenta cake recipe from Forge Bakehouse is great served with a dollop of sweetened ricotta, possibly flavoured with orange blossom or rosewater.

Thursday, 2nd November 2017, 8:18 am
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 11:40 pm

It features in the Sheffield Cookbook: Second Helpings which is on sale from Amazon, Waterstone’s and all venues featured in the book.

This will serve 12 people and takes 55 minutes to bake.


for the cake

For the cake:

100g ground almonds

200g fine polenta

4g/1 tsp baking powder

250g unsalted butter, softened

250g caster sugar

2 large free-range eggs

2 large oranges, zest and juice

1 small lemon, zest and juice


1 orange, peel and juice (approximately 100ml)

1 lemon, peel and juice (approximately 50ml)

50ml water

100g caster sugar

to decorate

Chopped pistachios

Dried rose petals (optional)


For the cake, preheat the oven to 170°c/160°c fan. Line a 25cm cake tin with parchment and grease. (Alternatively use 12 small loaf tins and lightly oil, but you will need to reduce the cooking time.)

In a large bowl weigh out the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder. Whisk until fully combined and set aside.

Zest the oranges and lemon into a bowl and then juice them into the same bowl; set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together using a stand mixer or electric beater until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, a little at a time.

Add half the polenta mix to the butter and eggs along with half the juice and zest. Beat until completely incorporated.

Repeat with the remaining polenta mix and juice and zest and mix until you have an even batter.

Pour the mixture into your tin(s) and bake for around 45-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. While the cake is baking, make the syrup.

For the syrup, u se a peeler to remove the peel from the orange and lemon in long strips and place in a pan. Cover with fresh water and bring to the boil.

You want to boil these until the peel is very soft. Remove the peel from the pan and slice into very thin strips.

Tip out the water from the pan, then return the thin peel strips to the pan and add the juice, water and caster sugar for your syrup.

Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Boil for around 5 minutes, or until it has thickened ever so slightly. Again remove the peel from the syrup and set aside.

To finish, pour the warm syrup over the hot cake. Scatter the pieces of orange and lemon peel over the top of the cake.

Chop some pistachios and sprinkle over the top of the cake to decorate.

You could also add some dried rose petals, which look very pretty and are available in international supermarkets around Sheffield.