Villa Pia’s Blood Orange Polenta Cake Recipe
There are few joys as elegant as entertaining guests with a lovingly prepared meal followed by a thoughtful desert. At Villa Pia, we strive to create meals that will not only nourish our guests, but also inspire them to recreate our recipes when they entertain in their own homes. We always hope that our food will linger in the hearts and minds of our guests, evoking fond memories of their holiday at Villa Pia.
One dish that has been well loved is our polenta cake. Polenta is a staple in Northern Italy and becoming an increasingly popular flour with the rise in gluten-free diets. Polenta is versatile, it can be served as a savoury porridge; cold and mealy; or our favourite — as a pudding!
Italy is particularly well-suited to growing corn, and it also produces some of the world’s finest blood oranges. We thought we should combine these two amazing Italian ingredients to make Villa Pia’s Blood Orange Polenta Cake.
This is a very simple recipe that you can make with regular oranges or lemons – you can even substitute rhubarb if you fancy. This is an incredibly easy, no fuss cake that is absolutely moreish — the sweetness combined with the density of the polenta make this a fantastic way to finish off a meal with friends.
If you are inspired by our recipes, please have a look around our site, our recipes, our photographs – Villa Pia’s all inclusive family holiday villa is open year-round for entertaining
Villa Pia’s Blood Orange Polenta Cake (and a few variations)
250 grams butter + 3 tablespoons (for syrup)
2 teaspoons orange juice
2-3 oranges, blood oranges, lemons or 2 stalks of rhubarb (cut into 1 cm pieces)
130 grams brown sugar
120 grams cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 gram sea salt
200 grams sugar
200 millilitres yoghurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
9 inch greased cake tin
Heat oven to 180/gas mark 4 and combine orange juice, lemon juice (if making a lemon cake, use the juice of the two lemons to make more syrup for the cake as it comes out of the oven), or rhubarb (if using rhubarb add water) with brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of butter into a saucepan to make a simple syrup for the cake.
If you have lemons or oranges, zest 1 teaspoon of rind (save for the batter) and then slice the oranges into thick, slightly less than 1 cm slices, and discard any seeds. If you are using lemons, skip this step, and save the lemon syrup for after the cake comes out of the oven.
Arrange slices over the bottom of the cake tin and pour the syrup on top, or put the entire rhubarb syrup into the cake tin spreading out the rhubarb pieces evenly. You can place the entire cake pan on a cookie sheet to avoid any leakages.
In a food processor, or by hand, cream eggs, sugar and butter. Add zest, vanilla, yoghurt and then dry ingredients cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
Pour batter on top of the oranges and syrup and bake for about 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. If you are making lemon cake, pour the lemon syrup on the cake as it comes out of the oven. Let it cool for 10 minutes, scrape off the sides and turn it onto a platter. Serve cold and enjoy with friends — everyone loves a polenta cake!