This vegan marmalade polenta cake is so lush when eaten with vanilla ice cream, vegan mascarpone or soya cream. Getting the orange slices for the top, caramelised or candied can be a little tricky. But with a bit of patience it’s not too difficult. The trick is cutting the slices nice and thick and simmering them long enough in the syrup in a large pan. The main thing is to keep checking on them so they don’t boil dry or burn! I use ordinary large eating oranges – unwaxed are of course best for this purpose.
The marmalade you use is also important. Don’t use a rubbish marmalade like Robertsons – it has no flavour, and really won’t work at all. You need a high quality slightly bitter style or brand like Wilkin & Sons Tawny Marmalade. You’ll be adding some to the cake mix and using some for the glaze on top of the candied orange slices. Don’t be tempted to skimp on this item as it’s crucial to the flavour.
With the polenta cake I’ve found that a medium grade of polenta is best – coarse might work too – although I’ve not managed to find any locally. The fine just doesn’t have enough texture for the cake to work properly. I’ve reduced the amount of sugar and white flour to the minimum that works in this recipe.
Getting the cake the right way up with the organge slices on top, can take a little practice, but it looks much more attractive like that. If you leave it the wrong way up, you loose the beautiful visual effect of the organge slices.
Serve this vegan marmalade polenta cake with vanilla ice cream, vegan mascarpone and/or single soya cream.
Marmalade Polenta Cake
- 9inch/25cm loose bottom cake tin
- electric whisk
- bowl & jug
- Lemon/orange squeezer
Main Cake ingredients
- 100 g wholemeal S/R flour
- 50 g white S/R flour unbleached
- 125 g medium grade cornmeal/polenta quick cook is ok to use
- 100 g ground almonds
- 100 g caster sugar.
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp lo-salt
- grated zest of 2 lemons
- zest of two of the oranges.
- 120 g cold pressed rapeseed oil
- 80 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice about 2 large lemons
- 120 ml non-dairy milk oat milk is good any will do.
- 120 g non-dairy yogurt coconut or soya yogurt are best.
- 2 tsp orange extract
- 4 large oranges seedless if possible - 2 for the slices & 2 for zesting & juice
- 100 g 6 tablespoons of Tawny or other bitter marmalade. Tiptree tawny is great
Syrup for moistening the cake
- Zest of 2 large oranges.
- 60 ml orange juice freshly squeezed from the 2 zested oranges
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup 45g
Glaze for top of cake with the organge slices
- 30 g 2 tbsps of marmalade or plum jam
- 30 g orange juice
making the main cake
- Well in advance, slice 2 of the large seedless oranges into 12 fairly thick slices.
- Simmer in a covered pan with 500ml of water and 100g of muscovado sugar for around 3 hours on an extremely low heat.
- Add water as needed if liquid is going down too much.
- When thoroughly candied, set aside to cool, drain and firm up,
- Grease sides and line the bottom of a 9inch cake tin,
- arrange the candied slices in the 9inch (25cm) cake tin. I suggest 8 larger slices on outside, 4 smaller ones in the centre. You can squish them to fit.
- Mix the maple syrup with the 60ml of orange juice from the oranges, and set aside ready for when the cake is cooked.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C Fan/ 180°C ordinary. Non fan is best, just above the middle of the oven.
- Place the cornmeal, ground almonds, 2 different flours, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk/mix well to combine.
- In a jug add the lemon zest, orange zest, marmalade, oil, lemon juice, oat milk, yogurt and orange extract.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
- whisk well, but quickly until no dry lumps remain.
- Pour the batter quickly into the prepared cake tin and shake if necessary, to level it.
- Bake for about 50 minutes at 180°C (non fan) check at 50 mins whether a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. If still mixture on skewer, cook for around 10 mins longer.
Applying the syrup
- When the cake is cooked remove from the oven and while still hot, drizzle over the top of the cake – a bit at a time - all of the thin syrup - then allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Then invert the cake – and get it back in the tin, but with the orange slices on top – this takes a bit of manoeuvring but with the help of a plate or cake tin bootm on top of the cake, it’s not too difficult.
- Once you have the cake with the orange slices on top, and back in the cake tin, paint the 60ml of marmalade glaze on top. Use a pastry brush to spread it evenly.
- To invert the cake so the orange slices are on top, place a flat cake tin base on top and remove, and then invert and replace.
- When cutting the cake use a very sharp knife so the orange slices cut cleanly.
- 50/50 unbleached white & wholemeal will give the best nutritional balance with a nicely risen cake.