Easy vegan Gluten Free Orange Polenta cake. This cake is somewhat influenced by Spain, with its distinctive flavours of orange and almonds.
The orange particularly holds strong symbolism for the Spanish Jewish because it was they who originally cultivated it in Spain back in the Roman Times. They were considered experts in the growing of citrus plants, and during the 18th Century, Jaffa Oranges were first grown in Israel by migrated Jews. They are considered by many to be the sweetest oranges in the world.
The cornmeal gives the cake a delicious crunch which enhances the soft orange almond texture beautifully. The cake is incredibly easy to make but benefits from resting overnight to let all the flavours mature. Because this is a flourless and, indeed, fatless cake, it is not a light fluffy sponge, instead it is dense and rich with the wonderful texture of the cornmeal mingling with the delicate flavour ground almonds and the bold orange zest holding the flavours together.
What Makes This Cake Gluten Free?
This cake is effortlessly gluten free because it contains no traditional flour. Instead it uses naturally gluten free ingredients like cornmeal and ground almonds. Just make sure that your baking powder is gluten-free!
I like to use these ingredients:
What Makes This Cake Vegan?
A cake like this, fat-free, would get it’s lift from eggs, and usually quite a lot. However, the egg element here is replaced with a combination of vegan yogurt and applesauce!
What Kind of Oranges Can I Use?
I just used normal “large” oranges from the supermarket. I think they may have been Seville or Navel oranges, but were unmarked. I wouldn’t worry too much about using fancy oranges in this recipe. You’ll be boiling them up anyway, so please just use whatever you can find!
How Do I Serve Polenta Orange Cake?
My absolute favourite way to serve this cake is with a generous dollop of whipped coconut cream, lightly sweetened with vanilla extract, and then a dusting of icing sugar.
If you liked this cake, you’ll love my vegan Rhubarb Cake, here!
- 9" Springform Cake Tin, lined
- Large pan for boiling the oranges
- 1¾ cups Cornmeal or Polenta, fine
- 1½ cups Ground Almonds
- 3 Whole Oranges (I used Naval)
- ½ tsp Almond Extract
- 1 cup Soft Brown Sugar
- ½ cup Plant-Based Plain or Vanilla Yogurt
- ¾ cup Apple Sauce
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- Place your whole oranges in a large pan. Cover with water and bring to a brisk simmer before turning down to a gentle simmer. Cook for one hour. Remove from pan to cool.
- Preheat oven to 190c.
- Cut your oranges into quarters and blend until you have a thick, bright orange puree. Pour this into a separate bowl.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, cornmeal and baking powder.
- Using the same blender as before (no need to rinse), add the yogurt, brown sugar, applesauce and almond extract and blend until smooth. Pour into the blended oranges and stir well to combine.
- Pour the liquid mixture into your dry and mix gently, until thoroughly combined.
- Pour into your prepared cake tin and bake at 190c for half an hour.
- Turn down your oven to 180c and bake for another half an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Leave to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack, before serving, cut into slices with a little dusting of icing sugar and a dollop of coconut cream.