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Orange Blossom Polenta Cake

Orange Blossom: A Noble Ingredient
"How is this cake so light, moist and rich all at the same time?" asked a friend I served this to on Saturday. Then another friend chimed in: "Ah the polenta confuser!"
Indeed, polenta is a magical ingredient for cakes, makes them light and fluffy as well as wholesome and hearty. It also gives cakes this wonderful golden colour! Polenta is a golden-yellow Italian cornmeal, a staple food in northern Italy. As much as I love love love Italian food, I've always found their desserts a little lacklustre and well sorry to say it but molto molto dry! This must be the French in me who just loves buttery patisserie. But this cake will revolutionise the way you feel about polenta cake.
Polenta and ground almonds make up the "flour" part of this cake and indeed make it very light and moist, not to mention that it takes less than 10 minutes to throw together (before putting it in oven) and it is totally gluten-free and refined sugar-free (of course!). Polenta cake is often paired with lemon in most traditional recipes, but I chose to experiment with another citrus note for this yummy cake and go for delightfully fresh but still zingy orange flavours. Oranges are also naturally sweeter than lemons which means that I was able to reduce the amount of sugar in both the cake and glaze. I also added one of my favourite ingredients, a truly noble ingredient in my opinion: orange blossom water.
The use of orange blossom does indeed have noble connotations, as Marie-Antoinette infused all her beauty preparations and bed linen with the gorgeous extract which tastes not just floral, but also green, citrusy, spicy and warm. Orange blossom is also what gives the humble madeleine its distinctive citrus note (recipe for real food madeleines coming soon, as they are my all-time favourite indulgence). If you’ve never used floral waters, you might think that they are best suited for girly desserts and incurable romantics. But whilst I admit to being a romantic, rose and orange blossom waters are remarkably versatile. A mere drop can transform a familiar dish into something new and interesting, and you only need to draw inspiration from the traditional cuisines of Provence, Morocco and Lebanon, to see how diverse the use of floral waters can be.
Back to the cake... the final touch to this gorgeous golden cake is the addition of full-fat greek yoghurt and pomegranate seeds on the top, both a visual and taste sensation! Truly gives the cake a sparkly, festive look: the pomegranate seeds are like little rubies sparkling in white fluffy snow. A great addition to any festive table of real food! Prepare to be amazed at just how easy and delicious this cake is! Enjoy!
Orange Blossom Polenta Cake
Makes a 23cm / 9inch cake
200g soft unsalted butter
200g coconut sugar or rapadura sugar (unrefined brown cane sugar will do if you don't have either)
250g ground almonds
100g fine polenta
1 ½ teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
large organic eggs
zest of 2 oranges(save juice for glaze)
2 tb of orange blossom water
juice of 2 oranges
50 gunrefined sugar of your choice
1 cup of organic full-fat greek yoghurt (you could use organic creme fraiche too)
1 tb orange blossom water
1 tb honey or maple syrup
2 drops of orange and lemon essential oil (optional)
seeds of half a pomegranate
1. Line the base of a 23cm / 9inch springform cake tin with baking paper or simply grease generously with butter or coconut oil.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/ 350°F.

3. Beat all the cake ingredients together using an electric whisk.
4. Pour the mixture into your cake tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.

5. When a skewer comes out mostly dry (cake may still seem wobbly), the cake is done. Remove from the oven.

6. Make the glaze by warming the orange juice andunrefined sugarin a small saucepan until all the sugar has melted, then your glaze is ready.

8. Prick the top of the cake all over with a skewer, pour the warm syrup over the cake, and leave to cool before taking it out of its tin.
9. When it has cooled (or just before serving), remove the cake from the tin and flip over onto a cake plate and ice the cake with the orange blossom yoghurt over the top of the cake and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. And you're done!
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