Orange and almond polenta cake

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Almonds and polenta give this easy loaf cake a wonderful texture. The cardamom adds a delicate fragrance, too – this is gluten-free baking at its best.

Ingredients

  • 175g/6oz butter, softened and cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g/6oz caster sugar
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 200g/7oz ground almonds
  • 100g/3½oz fine polenta
  • 50g/1¾oz Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder (gluten-free if required)
  • 4 green cardamom pods, seeds only, lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
  • 1 medium orange, finely grated zest and juice only (around 40ml/1½fl oz juice)
  • 20g/¾oz flaked almonds
  • 4 tsp runny honey (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Butter and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding mixer and whisk until very pale and creamy (alternatively use an electric whisk). You will need to push the mixture down now and then with a rubber spatula until the right consistency is reached.
  3. Add two of the eggs, one at a time, whisking well between each addition. Add the final egg and half the almonds and whisk until well combined, light and fluffy.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, except the flaked almonds and honey, and whisk until well combined. Don’t worry if the cake looks a little curdled – but add a couple of tablespoons of self-raising flour (gluten-free if preferred) if the mixture is looking very curdled – this can happen if the ingredients are added too quickly.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 45–55 minutes, or until risen and golden brown. Test that the cake is ready by inserting a skewer into the middle – if it comes out clean it is done.
  6. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen gently before removing from the tin, taking care as it will be hot. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, or serve warm, drizzled with honey if you like.

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