blood orange scented polenta cake

Blood Orange Scented Cornmeal Cake

  • Author: Flavia Scalzitti


Adapted from Italian Kitchen by Anna del Conte


For the cake

  • 122 grams (¾ cup) whole, raw (unsalted) almonds, blanched or skin-on
  • 124 grams (9 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened + extra for greasing cake pan
  • 137 grams (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 80 grams (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour + extra for flouring cake pan
  • 130 grams (¾ cup) coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 8 grams (2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • Zest of 1 blood orange

For the glaze

  • Juice of 12 blood oranges
  • Powdered sugar


For the cake

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour a 9″ x 2″ (23cm x 5cm) round cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until they begin to turn light golden. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Maintain the oven temperature.
  3. Place the cooled almonds in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse the almonds until they are finely ground, taking care not to over-process them or they will turn to flour.
  4. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. In the meantime, in a mixing bowl, combine the ground almonds, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add in the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks and pour them into the mixture over low speed, mixing until the eggs are fully incorporated. Mix in the orange zest. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the work bowl as necessary to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and use a spatula to smooth it out evenly. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. The cake will shrink from the sides of the pan once it is finished baking. Remove from the oven and cool the cake completely in the pan set on a cooling rack.
  6. Once cooled, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides and invert the cake onto a rack to glaze.

To glaze the cake

  1. Juice the blood oranges over a medium size bowl and whisk in enough powdered sugar until there are no lumps and the glaze is thick but still pourable. Pour the glaze over the cake set on a rack on top of a piece of parchment paper. Allow the glaze to firm up before slicing the cake.
  2. Storage: Store the cake at room temperature lightly covered with plastic wrap and eat within 3-5 days.