Orange Polenta Cake with a little bit of Chocolate

Orange Polenta Cake with a little bit of Chocolate

An orange, polenta and almond cake topped with a fresh orange syrup and a thin coating of sweet dark chocolate.

I guess this is like an easier diet-be-damned version of the whole orange cake. But it’s got a lot more flavour to it. It doesn’t use whole oranges, just the zest and juice. I added in some lemon juice to the cake batter to try and sharpen the orange taste but actually it’s the orange syrup you pour over the baked cake that gives this a strong orange taste.

A few years ago I used to buy packaged single slices of cake.  You could get either a gingerbread one or one that was plain sponge with grated orange and chocolate mixed through. I loved the taste of both of them.

I’ve found lots of recipes for gingerbread but the orange and chocolate speckled sponge recipes has not been so easy to find.

When I came across this recipe for orange and rosemary polenta cake I wondered what it would taste like with chocolate rather than rosemary. But it uses only eggs and sugar with the polenta and ground almonds, and I was worried it would be far too dry. I don’t know what sort of fat they used in those packaged slices but they were very moist.

Then I came across this recipe for lemon polenta cake which uses eggs and butter. So I decided to make a sort of mash-up of the two cakes – as well as replacing the rosemary with chocolate.

Finally, I decided to not include triple sec in the syrup. I don’t think it tastes strongly enough of orange to make enough of a difference. I don’t have any Grand Marnier or Cointreau. And also I thought it might be nice to not have to tag the recipe contains alcohol. So I opted to use this fresh orange syrup recipe – except I halved the amounts and boiled it down to a syrup.

In a way it’s kinda like a gluten-free jaffa cake cake – but only kinda. The base isn’t an airy sponge. It’s more like a very buttery, crumbly pound cake with lots of orange flavour. But the orange syrup covered top with the thin coating of dark chocolate is very reminiscent of a jaffa cake.

Oh and I added orange zest and grated chocolate to the cake batter. I’m not sure it really makes that much difference – but this tastes quite good so I’ll leave them in.

Also, I did add a small sprinkle of cinnamon to the cake batter but I didn’t include it in the recipe.It didn’t seem needed in the end.

Oranges, lemon, eggs, ground almonds, polenta, unsalted butter, sweet dark chocolate, golden caster sugar and cinnamon.

Orange Polenta Cake with a little bit of Chocolate

Makes a 9" cake

Orange Polenta Cake with a little bit of Chocolate


  • 150g softened unsalted butter (plus more for greasing the tin)
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g polenta
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 100g dark sweet chocolate


  1. Turn the oven on to 160 C. Grease a 9 inch / 23 cm cake tin.
  2. Beat 125g of the sugar into the butter until fluffy in texture. Beat in the eggs. Mix in the polenta and ground almonds well.
  3. Zest one of the oranges and grate three squares of the chocolate. Juice the orange and the lemon. Pour the juice through a strainer into the batter and mix around well. Stir in the zest and grated chocolate. Put the batter in the greased cake tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  4. Take the cake out turn out on a plate and leave to cool.
  5. Add the remaining 100g of sugar with 100ml of water to a small saucepan. Zest the other orange and add the zest to the pan. Add the orange's juice through a strainer. Turn the heat to moderate-high and whisk around to ensure everything is well combined. Let it come to the boil and let it reduce down to a light syrup.
  6. Poke the cake several times with a skewer. Pour over the syrup.
  7. While the syrup cools on the cake and soaks in, melt the rest of the chocolate. Spread the melted chocolate over the top of the cake.
  8. Leave the cake in the fridge for the chocolate to harden before digging in. Enjoy!

Cake ready to bake
Poke the cake several times with a skewer and then pour over the orange syrup.
Cover the top of the cake with the melted chocolate.
Wait till the chocolate has set. There’s something nice about it cracking as your fork digs in.
have a bite
Quite sweet but good with a cup of black coffee.