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Easy Vegan Gluten Free Orange Polenta Cake

This easy vegan and gluten-free orange polenta cake is a delicious dessert option for those with dietary restrictions. Made with simple, wholesome ingredients, this cake is bursting with citrusy orange flavor and the combination of polenta and gluten-free flour creates a moist and tender texture. Enjoy a slice of this delightful cake with a cup of tea or serve it with a dollop of coconut whipped cream for an extra special touch.

A Slice of orange polenta cake.

The orange particularly holds strong symbolism for 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.

Easy Vegan Gluten Free Orange Polenta Cake

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 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.

Overhead shot of orange cake.

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 and a little gluten-free self-raising flour to help make the cake a little fluffier. Just make sure that your baking powder is gluten-free!

What Makes This Orange Polenta 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!

Close up of polenta cake.

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.


INgredients for Polenta Cake.
  • Ground Almonds. If you have a nut allergy/intolerance, I don’t recommend making this cake, as it would be really hard to replace them.
  • Gluten-Free Flour, white, self-raising
  • Cornmeal, fine
  • Vegan yogurt, plain or vanilla
  • Soft brown sugar.
  • Baking powder and salt.
  • Almond Extract, optional but boosts the almond flavour.
  • Oranges.
  • Applesauce. You can use unsweetened or sweetened.


Boiling oranges for cake.

Boil the oranges in water for 1 hour. Leave to cool.

Cutting oranges up for blending.

Preheat oven to 190c.

Cut the oranges into quarters and blend them until smooth. Place mixture in a large jug.

Lining a cake tin with orange slices.

Optional: line your cake tin with thin slices of orange.

Whisking dry ingredients together.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Blending wet ingredients for orange cake.

Blend together the sugar, yogurt, applesauce and almond extract in the same smoothie maker.

Mixing the wet ignredients together.

Mix the blended orange with the other blended ingredients.

Folding wet ingredients into dry for the orange cake.

Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until you can’t see any dry spots.

THe cake batter in a tin ready to bake.

Smooth cake batter into your prepared tin, bake for 30 mins at 190c, the 30 mins at 180c. Leave to cool before turning out.

If you liked this cake, you’ll love my vegan Rhubarb Cake, here!

Vegan and Gluten Free Orange Polenta Cake

A deliciously fragrant and moist vegan and gluten free orange cake
4.77 from 55 votes
Prep 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes


  • 9" Springform Cake Tin, lined
  • Blender
  • Large pan for boiling the oranges


  • cups Cornmeal - or Polenta, fine
  • ½ cup Gluten-Free Flour - self-raising
  • cups ground almonds
  • 3 Oranges - I used Naval
  • ½ tsp Almond extract
  • 1 cup Brown sugar - soft
  • ½ cup Vanilla yogurt - or plain, plant-based
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Sea salt


  • 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, gluten-free flour, cornmeal, salt 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.

Please note that where the recipe asks for milk, butter or yogurt, this refers to any plant-based version that you prefer.

Nutrition Facts
Vegan and Gluten Free Orange Polenta Cake
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. 5 stars
    I tried this orange polenta cake this week and it turned out amazing! We really loved it and it vanished in in no time! Thanks for the detailed background information. Loved your post!

  2. 5 stars
    I have never had a polenta cake and this recipe looks amazing especially since I love orange. Gotta make this.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this orange polenta cake. It was so easy to make and delicious. Plus it’s gluten free and vegan!?

  4. 5 stars
    This delicious orange polenta cake was so moist, and it had a wonderful orange flavor. It was delicious served with coconut cream. Yum!

  5. 5 stars
    This gluten free and vegan polenta cake turned out amazing. The oranges gave it delicious flavors and the applesauce made it so moist. It’s the first plant based cake I didn’t mess up!

  6. 5 stars
    Freya does it again! This orange polenta cake is absolutely perfect. Polenta cakes have become one of my favorites since going GF, and this one does not disappoint!

    1. Hi there. This cake looks amazing. Just a question – does one leave the orange skin on, and after simmering them for an hour, blend them with the skin on? When I get your answer I’ll make it for the party tomorrow hopefully 😀🌈

      1. Hi Brian! Yes! Do leave the skin on, although if you find a few pips when you cut it, pick those out as they can be a little bitter. Enjoy your party!

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