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Orange Polenta Cake

This gluten and dairy free orange polenta cake is supercharged with citrusy goodness. It’s soft and dense, moist and crumbly, and most certainly delicious. The cake is soaked with an orange and lime syrup, which brings it to a whole new level. (Psst, there’s a video with step-by-step instructions, as well!)

Gluten & Dairy Free Orange Polenta Cake {gluten, dairy, soy, peanut & ref. sugar free} - This gluten and dairy free orange polenta cake is supercharged with citrusy goodness. It’s soft and dense, moist and crumbly, and most certainly delicious. The cake is soaked with an orange and lime syrup, which brings it to a whole new level.

Okay, first of all: raise your hand if you know what “polenta” is.

No idea?

Polenta is basically the Italian version of grits. If you go into more detail, it turns out that polenta and grits are made from different types of corn… but they’re both some sort of coarsely ground cornmeal in the end.

As it’s made from corn, polenta is naturally gluten free. Additionally, it has an amazing taste and often features in savoury dishes – but it is absolutely spectacular is sweet stuff as well, such as in this mouthwatering gluten & dairy free orange polenta cake. Just look at that colour!

Gluten & Dairy Free Orange Polenta Cake {gluten, dairy, soy, peanut & ref. sugar free} - This gluten and dairy free orange polenta cake is supercharged with citrusy goodness. It’s soft and dense, moist and crumbly, and most certainly delicious. The cake is soaked with an orange and lime syrup, which brings it to a whole new level.

This cake is sweet, moist and refreshing with a strong citrus flavour that will blow your socks off. It also has a rather interesting method of preparation. You bake the cake, as you do, leave it to cool and then soak it overnight in an orange and lime juice syrup.

Now, let’s get two things out of the way. The syrup isn’t strictly a syrup because it isn’t at all syrupy in texture – which is good, because you want it to be liquidy in order to absorb well into the polenta cake.

Secondly, it will at first appear like there’s waaaaaay too much “syrup” for it to be all absorbed into the cake. I know, I panicked too. A tiny, tiny little bit. But… just let the syrup and the cake do their thing. Leave it overnight, go to sleep, and you will awake to a super duper moist polenta cake which has been supercharged with citrusy goodness.

Gluten & Dairy Free Orange Polenta Cake {gluten, dairy, soy, peanut & ref. sugar free} - This gluten and dairy free orange polenta cake is supercharged with citrusy goodness. It’s soft and dense, moist and crumbly, and most certainly delicious. The cake is soaked with an orange and lime syrup, which brings it to a whole new level.

Also, can we all agree that this thing about being weirded out by the word “moist” is just… stupid? Because I’m getting fed up with the cringy (<— totally a word) faces people pull when they hear it. The thing is: there is no good synonym for “moist”. Thesaurus tells me I could use “succulent”, “juicy”, “soft” or “spongy”.

Now, when someone says “succulent”, they are either talking about a steak or a plant. “Juicy” to me means being almost overly filled with liquid – which this cake isn’t. It’s just right. As for “soft”… Yes, this polenta cake is “soft”. It’s also dense, slightly crumbly and insanely delicious. But how is “soft” the same as “moist”?! And how is “spongy” even remotely similar to “moist”?! (No, this cake is not spongy. And anyway: would you honestly want to eat a “spongy” cake?)

Gluten & Dairy Free Orange Polenta Cake {gluten, dairy, soy, peanut & ref. sugar free} - This gluten and dairy free orange polenta cake is supercharged with citrusy goodness. It’s soft and dense, moist and crumbly, and most certainly delicious. The cake is soaked with an orange and lime syrup, which brings it to a whole new level.

So, moving on from this highly unnecessary unburdening of my soul slight detour. This orange polenta cake is easy to make, effortlessly gluten, dairy and refined sugar free and bloody delicious. Oh, and moist. Definitely moist.

(If you’re on a smartphone, the video can be viewed best in full screen mode.)

Orange Polenta Cake (Gluten & Dairy Free)

This gluten and dairy free orange polenta cake is supercharged with citrusy goodness. It’s soft and dense, moist and crumbly, and most certainly delicious. The cake is soaked with an orange and lime syrup, which brings it to a whole new level. (You can also watch the video above for step-by-step instructions.) NOTE: The overnight soaking time has not been included in the prep time.
Print Rate
4.50 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook/Bake Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 10

Ingredients

For polenta cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of 2 oranges (3/4 cup, 150 mL)
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup (100g) almond flour
  • 1 cup (150 g) polenta (cornmeal)
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • pinch of salt

For orange and lime juice syrup:

  • juice of 2 1/2 oranges (1 cup, 200 mL)
  • juice of 1 lime (1/4 cup, 50 mL)
  • 1/4 cup (65 g) honey

You will also need:

  • round 7 inch spring form cake tin at least 2 1/2 inch deep (if you use another size of cake tin, baking time may need to be adjusted)

Instructions

For polenta cake:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 175 ºC (350 ºF).
  • Line the bottom of the spring form cake tin with baking/greaseproof paper.
  • In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients until you get a smooth, homogeneous batter.
  • Transfer the cake batter into the lined cake tin and bake it in the pre-heated oven at 175 ºC (350 ºF) for 30 - 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely in the cake tin.

For orange and lime juice syrup:

  • In a small saucepan, heat the orange juice, lime juice and honey until the honey is completely dissolved and the mixture is warm.
  • Prick the cooled polenta cake still in the cake tin with a toothpick all over. Prick it quite densely, as this allows the "syrup" to be absorbed more efficiently.
  • Pour the "syrup" over the cooled polenta cake. Allow the "syrup" to be soaked in overnight.

Serving:

  • After the overnight soak, the "syrup" should have been completely absorbed by the cake.
  • Remove it from the cake tin.
  • Enjoy!

Storage:

  • The orange polenta cake keeps well in a container in a cool, dry place for 3 - 4 days (but it will be gone within a day).
Tried this recipe?Mention @theloopywhisk or tag #theloopywhisk!

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Gluten & Dairy Free Orange Polenta Cake {gluten, dairy, soy, peanut & ref. sugar free} - This gluten and dairy free orange polenta cake is supercharged with citrusy goodness. It’s soft and dense, moist and crumbly, and most certainly delicious. The cake is soaked with an orange and lime syrup, which brings it to a whole new level.

 

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55 thoughts on “Orange Polenta Cake”

  1. This was the first cake I’ve eaten in 3-4 years and it did not disappoint! I made two versions for my mom’s birthday (food allergies=subbed gf flour and olive oil in one, and used date syrup instead of honey for the other since I ran out), and we LOVED them. The texture was divine, and we both agreed that we’ll be adding this cake into our rotation. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  2. Hi Kat, thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I am gluten intolerant so this is just perfect for me. I am really looking forward to the results. I do have a question, I am also not able to eat cornmeal. Do you think I can use two cups of almond flour instead?

    Reply
    • I’ve never tested it with almond flour only, but I suspect it wouldn’t work as almond flour absorbs significantly less moisture than cornmeal. I would try a mix of a GF flour blend and almond flour instead.

      Reply
  3. I’m making this on my birthday (yea I know weird, right?) and I need a real quick answer. Can I use olive oil insted of coconut oil? Thank you

    Reply
  4. I made this cake for the first time 2 weeks ago…. Now the third one is cooling off in the kitchen 🙂 It’s soooooo good, thank you!!!

    Reply
  5. Hey Kat…hope youre doing well…i just made this and turned it into a marble cake…I mixed lil bit of the batter with cocoa powder and marbled it with orange polenta batter…it turned out amazing….thanks a ton for this healthy recipe ! ❤️😘

    Reply
  6. Hi. I made your recipe, twice. But when I eat I feel little grains of polenta. What kind of polenta do I have to use? Is that normal?

    Reply
  7. I made this cake yesterday and it’s pretty tasty. I used muffin tins as I’m taking it to a friend’s house but wanted to try it myself first 🙂 It’s very coconutty but that’s obviously because of the type of coconut oil I used. I replaced the honey in the cake with rice malt syrup and it worked well.
    I’m wondering if I could use 2 cups of polenta instead of a mix of polenta and almond flour?

    Reply
    • Hi Yvonne, I’m glad you enjoyed the cake! I’ve found when you use only polenta, the cake can sometimes turn out very crumbly, but that also depends on the coarseness of the polenta you use. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Amazing cake!!
    Do you know of another flavoured syrup you could use? Would love to make this for a pot luck but know one of the guests has a problem with citrus.

    Reply
  9. Hi. Recipes sounds delicious and would like to try it but have a question .. is the coconut oil used to give it a hint of coconut flavor ? How will it affect the final outcome to use melted butter instead ?

    Reply
    • Hi Bien! The strength of the coconut taste will depend on the coconut oil used – I like to use one without a strong coconut flavour. You can definitely use melted butter! 🙂

      Reply
  10. I think the baking time in this recipe is nowhere near enough. I have had to add at least 20 minutes on. It looks and smells divine though, can’t wait to tuck in!

    Reply
    • Hi Jenny, the baking time will definitely depend on how well calibrated your oven is, and also on the size and material of your baking pan. I always recommend using the “toothpick test” to be absolutely certain. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Hey there!
    I was searching for a recipe like this and I am so excited to try it out, especially now that Christmas is coming 🙂
    I was just wondering, what do you think of adding a layer of oranges or mandarin at the base? So when you flip the cake it will be on top? Do you think this will work? 🙂
    Thank you again for a great recipe!

    Reply
    • Hi Zinnia, if you check the post, you will see that it doesn’t say anywhere that this cake is vegan. It is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, however.

      Reply
    • Hello Zinnia,
      I made this cake without eggs and it’s incredible! You can replace it with 3 tablespoons of linseed (for each tbsp of linseed I used 3 tbsp of water). I hope it helps!

      Reply
    • Hi Eleanor, I’m not sure, as I’ve never tried. I would recommend doing a test run (maybe on a smaller quantity) to see how it turns out. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

      Reply
  12. Hey,

    The recipe looks absolutely delicious! I’m lactose intolerant and it’s great to find gems like these that don’t have any dairy in them! <3

    Just a quick question – I am trying to keep track of my daily calorie intake and I know this cake is an indulgence, as it is *a cake*, but I would love to know how many calories it has. I keep finding stuff on MyFitnessPal, but I really don't have any idea as they vary from 180 calories to 560. Do you have any idea about this?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Andreea! So glad you like the recipe 🙂 I don’t calculate the calories for my recipes, but I’m sure that if you calculate them from the ingredients (instead of searching for “polenta cake”) it will give you a good estimate. 🙂

      Reply
  13. Hi Kat – I tried your recipe last night but have found that not all the syrup was absorbed. I pricked it with the toothpick again and left it for another few hours. I’m just wondering why it wouldn’t absorb? It tastes delicious though and my husband likes it, which is great as he is gluten and dairy free. We also like it because it’s free of refined sugar. Thank you very much for sharing your recipe. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Mary! There are different reasons why the cake wouldn’t absorb all the syrup – it could be that it’s a bit denser: maybe it baked differently in the oven, or the polenta was of a different type… sometimes, the room temperature being higher/lower can affect how quickly the liquid absorbs… Did you leave it to soak overnight? I am glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it, it’s one of my favourites! 🙂

      Reply
    • I think it should work, but the cake is slightly more crumbly/fragile due to the polenta, so I’m not 100% sure. In any case, be super careful when you turn it out of the bundt cake, so it doesn’t fall apart, and make sure to grease the pan generously – nobody likes their bund cake sticking! 😉 If you give it a try, let me know how it goes.

      Reply
    • Hi Ruth, eggs are actually not dairy – dairy products include milk, butter and cream.
      A more in-depth definition: “Dairy products or milk products are a type of food produced from or containing the milk of mammals, primarily cattle, water buffalos, goats, sheep, camels, and humans. Dairy products include food items such as yogurt, cheese, and butter.”
      I don’t recommend using chia eggs in this recipe, as it will make the texture very dense and possibly rubbery.

      Reply
    • My son has a severe allergy to dairy. Eggs are NOT dairy. You may be getting confused with vegans who do not eat anything from an animal.

      This is also but free as coconut is at actually a nut either

      Reply
  14. Hi,
    Thanks for the great recipe!
    Is the overnight soaking a must?
    And – where do recommend doing the overnight soaking – in the fridge, or at room temperature?
    Thank!

    Reply
    • Hi Orit! The soaking time depends on how quickly the sponge absorbs the syrup – overnight works best, but a few hours could do the trick provided you prick the cake sufficiently with a toothpick. As for where – both the fridge and at room temperature should work well. 🙂

      Reply
    • Hi Anastazja, so glad you like the cake! I’m sure plain white flour will work, but the quantity might need to be adjusted slightly. I would add the white flour bit by bit, until you reach the right consistency (you can check out the video to see the consistency with almond flour). You will probably need less than the 1 cup that the recipe calls for, as plain white flour absorbs more moisture than almond flour.
      Hope it goes well! 🙂

      Reply
  15. Heavens this is lovely! We adjusted to our taste re the syrup but I have to say the lime makes it extra special. Shame this won’t last long in our house…
    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  16. I made this cake, finally, yesterday. I bought the ingredients weeks ago but life happens. It looks just like the picture but next time I think I’ll forego the “sauce. I’m not sure I like it.

    Reply