Polenta Cake with Caramelised Nut Topping

, from Issue #71. March, 2017
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Polenta Cake with Caramelised Nut Topping

I love a simple, stir-together cake recipe and this one ticks all the boxes especially with its gorgeous, sticky nutty topping.

Serves: 8


1½ cups icing sugar
¼ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup ground almonds
3 tablespoons instant polenta
2 teaspoons whole anise seeds, toasted
6 large egg whites, size 7 eggs
100 grams butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
finely grated zest 1 orange

1 cup roasted skin-on almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup roasted hazelnuts
3 tablespoons honey
1 large egg white, size 7 egg
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder


Grease a 35cm x 11cm rectangular tart tin and fully line with baking paper, bringing it 2cm above the sides of the tin and ensuring there are no holes in the paper.

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.

Topping: Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.

Cake: Put the icing sugar, flour, almonds, polenta and the toasted anise seeds in a large bowl. Stir in the egg whites to combine well then stir in the butter and orange zest to make a smooth batter. 

Pour into the lined tin and bake for 25 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch. 

Remove from the oven. Give the nuts a good stir, then carefully spoon on top of the cake, distributing them evenly. Place back in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the top is golden and set. Cool completely in the tin.

To serve: Cut into slices and serve plain, with a good vanilla custard or crème fraiche. Serves 8

Cook’s note: We served our cake decorated with unsprayed blue borage flowers and fresh raspberries.