Whole Orange, Cardamom and Polenta Cake

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An incredibly moist and flavourful cake, fragrant with freshly ground cardamom and free from gluten and dairy.

We were having dinner with a friend a few weeks back and, unsurprisingly, I wanted to bake something to take along. I thought that this orange, cardamom and polenta cake would be the perfect accompaniment to the end of a meal. I also wanted to create something Eid-inspired, as I have many Muslim friends and colleagues.

I have seen a few recipes around which call for using an entire orange in a cake recipe, but to date have been skeptical about trying it. Not anymore though! Using the entire orange packs such a citrusy punch, and the addition of cardamom adds wondeful warmth and aroma. As usual, using freshly ground cardamom is worlds better than store bought ground cardamom.

I love this cake with a cup of tea. It is super moist due to the spiced soaking syrup which is added to the cake once it is baked. It can be dressed up with some whipped or clotted cream as well, for a delicious dessert.

This recipe was adapted from Heinstirred’s blog.

If you make this recipe, please share it with me by tagging me on Instagram @adventureswithsugar or on Facebook at Adventures with Sugar. Please also leave a comment below to let me know how you got on with the recipe.


  • 185g caster sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 40ml orange juice (or brandy, if you like)


  1. Add the vanilla bean and seeds to the a pot, along with the sugar, spices, salt and water.
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add in the brandy or orange juice, whichever you choose to use.
  4. For a better depth of flavour, let the syrup infuse for a few hours, or at least 30 minutes, before straining out the spices.


  • 2 oranges, skin on and washed (approx 430g)
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 170g ground almonds
  • 50g polenta
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 100ml olive oil


  1. Place the oranges in a pot and cover with water. Gently simmer them for 75 minutes, or until a knife pierced into them goes through easily.
  2. Remove the oranges from the pot and let them cool for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease and line the base and sides of s 23cm springform tin with baking paper.
  4. Roughly chop the oranges, with the skin on, remove the pips and blend in a food processor to form a smooth puree.
  5. Place the eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange zest in a bowl and whisk on high speed for about five minutes, until it has doubled in volume.
  6. Stream the oil into the eggs and sugar mixture and mix until well incorporated.
  7. Add the almonds, polenta, baking powder and orange puree to the egg, sugar and oil mixture and gently until everything is well combined.
  8. Pour the mixture into a baking tin and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  9. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes, before turning it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Only once completely cooled, transfer the cake to a serving plate.
  11. Prick the cake all over and spoon on the syrup on the syrup, letting the syrup soak in before adding more.


  • 2 oranges, thinly sliced


  1. Thinly slice the oranges into rounds.
  2. Place in the oven to dry at about 80 degrees celcius, turning every half hour or so.
  3. Depending on how thinly they are sliced, they can take up to three hours.
  4. Add them to the cake for added decoration and brush over some of the syrup.

Recipe by adventureswithsugar.com

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