Using Olive Oil in a cake instead of butter can create a rich cake with a great moisture. Paired with oranges, ground hazelnuts and polenta, this recipe has a fantastic collection of flavours that meld together and create a citrus heavy cake with a firm crust and soft, inviting centre. Gently crystallised oranges top the cake which not only looks stunning but adds a gently chewy texture to each mouthful.
5 Medium to large oranges
300g Peeled hazelnuts (you can also use whole skinned or ground almonds)
240g Fine or medium polenta
2tsp Baking powder
440g Caster sugar
3 Bay leaves
300ml Crème fraîche or mascarpone to serve with the cake
23-25cm spring from cake tin
Baking / parchment paper
Butter or oil for greasing
Heat your oven to 160C fan/180c non-fan. Place 3 oranges in a small or medium pan and cover with water. Place on a high heat, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for 25 – 30 mins or until soft. Cover loosely with a lid or small plate to keep them submerged. Once cooked, drain the water and place in a food processor and blitz to a paste and allow to cool a little.
Cut the remaining 2 oranges into ½ cm slices, discarding the those from the outer edges. Combine 150g sugar and 150ml water in a wide sauté or frying pan and bring up to simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the orange slices and simmer gently, moving the orange slices around and occasionally turning them over, until the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup.
Place the hazelnuts on baking tray and roast for 6-9 minutes or until light golden. Allow to cool, then place in a food processor and blitz to a fine powder.
In a bowl, combine the polenta, baking powder, ground hazelnuts and salt with 290g sugar and mix to combine the ingredients evenly.
Line the base of the cake tin with baking paper and grease the edges. Lay the orange slices on the bottom of the cake tin along with any syrup. If the syrup is very thick, warm again to loosen.
Crack the eggs into large mixing bowl and whisk until broken down. Add the olive oil, orange pulp and bay leaves and whisk to mix. Now add the dry ingredients and whisk till you have a thick batter with no lumps. Pour into the cake tin and scrape the bowl with a spatula. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 1 hour 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool then run a small knife around the edge of the cake to loosen the tin, then remove the outer edge. Place a plate on top of the cake then carefully flip over. Peel the baking paper from the top then slice and serve with a spoonful of crème fraiche or mascarpone.