Polenta and Rosemary Cake with Honey and Bay Leaf Syrup

, from Issue #85. July, 2019
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Polenta and Rosemary Cake with Honey and Bay Leaf Syrup

I love to come up with a cake that offers a slightly different flavour and texture profile. This one fulfils all the criteria and is a lovely balance between sweet and savoury. A big hit with the dish team.


150 grams instant polenta
200 grams caster sugar
2 teaspoons very finely chopped fresh rosemary
zest 2 lemons and 1 orange (use the juice for the syrup)
100 grams ground almonds       
100 grams gluten-free plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons whole aniseed, toasted
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs, size 7
200ml olive oil (use a light, fruity oil or use 100ml olive oil and 100ml neutral oil)
To finish
Honey and Bay Leaf Syrup
Honey and Bay Leaf Syrup
3 tablespoons floral honey
juice of 2 lemons and 1 orange (you need ¾ cup in total)
4 small fresh bay leaves
¼ cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 small lemon, thinly sliced
You will need... 
a 20cm springform cake tin, lightly greased and fully lined with baking paper


Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.

Put the polenta, sugar, rosemary and citrus zests in a food processor and process for 20 seconds. Tip into a large bowl and stir in the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, toasted aniseed and the salt to combine well.

Whisk the eggs and oil/oils together and pour into the dry ingredients, stirring to combine well.

Tip the batter into the tin and smooth the top.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cake is pulling away from the sides and is risen and lightly golden. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately brush with half of the syrup.

Leave to cool completely in the tin. Reserve the remaining syrup.

Place a plate over the cold cake and turn out so the bottom is now the top. Rewarm the remaining syrup with the lemon and bay still in, and spoon everything over the top.

The finished cake will keep in a sealed container for 4 days. Makes 1 cake

Make this syrup before the cake so it has time to cool. It can be made three days ahead of using. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.

Honey and Bay Leaf Syrup: Put the honey, citrus juice, bay leaves, sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 8 minutes. Add the lemon slices and cook for another 5 minutes. Cover and leave to cool. Makes about ¾ cup