This was a little experiment that turned out much better than I expected. This gluten free cake is normally made with almonds and lemons but I absolutely love hazelnuts and oranges and just switched the nuts and citrus fruits. I must confess to having eaten far more of this than perhaps was wise but then again nuts and fruit are good for you.
Orange & Hazelnut Polenta Cake
For the cake
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
200g ground-roasted hazelnuts
100g fine polenta
1½ tsp gluten free baking powder
2 oranges, grated zest
For the syrup
2 oranges, juice only
50g icing sugar
For the decoration
120g caster sugar
1 orange, sliced
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Line a 23cm spring form with baking parchment and grease the sides.
In a large bowl with an electric hand whisk or use a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time and beat well after each addition.
In a bowl, combine the hazelnuts, polenta, baking powder and orange zest and stir into the butter and egg mixture. Pour into the prepared baking tin and bake for 40 minutes. The cake should be a light golden brown and slightly come away form the sides. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack but leave the cake in the tin.
To make the syrup, put the orange juice and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes until syrupy and then take it of the heat. Prick the cake all over with a skewer and pour the syrup all over the cake. Let it sink in and cool before removing the cake from the tin.
To make the caramelized oranges, place the sugar and water into a saucepan. Over a low heat, stir until all the sugar has dissolved then increase the heat and without stirring let it boil for 3 minutes until syrupy. Add the orange slices and simmer for 4-6 minutes until the orange slices are soft. Allow to cool before arranging the slices on the cake to decorate.