Orange and Honey polenta cake
I think this is the absolute favourite out of all the restorative cakes with students. It’s a gorgeous moist cardamom and orange-scented cake with a nutty texture that works both as a cake for tea and as a dessert (with Oat or Soya cream). You will need a non-stick, loose-bottomed cake tin about 20cm in diameter. Incidentally, the cake is gluten-free.
220g butter (I use vegan butter)
150g coconut sugar
150g ground almonds
3 large eggs
1 level tsp baking powder
1 level tsp cardamom powder
finely grated zest and juice of a large orange
For the syrup: Juice of 2 lemons, juice of 2 oranges, 4 tbsp honey
Line the base of the cake tin with a piece of baking parchment. Set the oven at 180C/Gas 4. Beat the butter and sugar in a food mixer till light and fluffy. Put the almonds in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Remove a few at a time with a draining spoon and pop them out of their skins. Discard the skins. Blitz the almonds in a food processor till they are finely chopped, then add them, together with the ground almonds, to the cake mixture. (sometimes, if I’m short of time I don’t do this and just add more ground almonds). Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat them lightly with a fork, then stir into the mixture. Mix the polenta and baking powder, then fold into the mixture, together with the grated orange zest and juice. Add the spice to the cake mixture. Transfer the cake mixture to the lined tin and smooth the top level. Bake for 30 minutes, turn down the heat to 160C/gas 3 for a further 25 -30 minutes or until the cake is firm.
To make the syrup, squeeze the lemon and orange juice into a stainless steel saucepan, bring to the boil, take off the heat and dissolve in the honey. Spike holes into the top of the cake (still warm and in its tin) with a skewer then spoon over the hot citrus syrup. Leave to almost cool, then lift out of the tin.