The first of the Seville oranges arrive from Spain in January. Too bitter and acidic to be eaten raw, these citrus fruits are full of flavour and quintessential for marmalade-making. Their distinctive taste is also excellent in cakes, such as this lovely gluten-free cake, which is deliciously lightly spiced with warming cloves. When it’s closed season for Sevilles, you can ring the citrus changes by using lemons, limes or sweet oranges instead.
- Yield: 12 Servings
- 125 g fine polenta
- 225 g ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 225 g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
- 200 g caster sugar
- Finely grated zest of 3 Seville oranges
- 3 eggs
- 100 ml Seville orange juice (2–3 oranges)
- 50 g golden caster sugar
- 4 cloves
- 23 cm loose-bottomed or springform cake tin, well greased and base-lined with baking parchment
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas mark 3. Put the polenta, ground almonds, baking powder and ground cloves into a bowl and mix together well.
- In another mixing bowl, beat the butter to a cream, using either a wooden spoon or a hand-held electric whisk. Add the sugar and half the orange zest and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs one at a time, beating well before adding the next. Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold in the polenta and almond mix. Spoon into the prepared tin, spreading evenly with the back of the spoon.
- Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes until golden on top and springy to the touch. Shortly before the cake is done, prepare the orange drizzle by gently warming the orange juice, remaining orange zest, the sugar and whole cloves in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for a couple of minutes.
- While the cake is still hot, prick the surface with a skewer or cocktail stick and spoon the orange syrup carefully over it. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out. Once cold, this cake will keep for 5–6 days in an airtight tin.