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Tom Hunt's Marmalade Polenta Cake

Tom Hunt's Marmalade Polenta Cake

Soil Association ambassador Tom Hunt is onto a winner with this polenta cake recipe from his cookbook, 'The Natural Cook.'

A real sweet fix, his cake has a deliciously grainy texture, made even better by the sticky marmalade.

polenta cake

Photo credit: Laura Edwards


Served 8-10

For the marmalade (250g required for recipe, ingredients make 3x500ml jars)

  • 1kg sweet oranges
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1kg jam sugar

For the cake

  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus morefor the tin
  • 250g rapadura or raw cane sugar
  • 1 large orange
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 150g fine polenta
  • 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten


For the marmalade (makes 3x500ml jars)

Squeeze the oranges and the lemon. Cut the citrus shells into quarters and then into 3–5mm strips.

Place the chopped peel, the juice and 2.5 litres water in a large pan, or a preserving pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for one hour, to soften the peel.

Meanwhile, sterilise three 500ml jam jars and put a plate in the freezer.

When the peel is soft, add the sugar to the pan. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.

To test for a set, take the plate out of the freezer and place 1 tsp of the marmalade on it. Put in the freezer for two minutes. Remove from the freezer and push a line through the marmalade with your finger. If your finger cuts through cleanly, it is ready.

If it is still runny, boil for another 15 minutes and repeat the test, until it is set. Fill the hot jars with the hot marmalade and screw the lids on tightly. Allow to cool.

For the cake

Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F/gas mark 31⁄2. Butter a 22–25cm round cake tin, then sprinkle in half the sugar. Finely grate the zest from the orange, then carefully pare off and discard the white pith.

Cut the orange horizontally into 1cm-thick slices. Layer the slices of orange over the layer of sugar in the prepared tin.

Beat the butter with 100g of the marmalade, the other half of the sugar, the ground almonds, polenta, baking powder, orange zest and eggs, then pour the batter into the tin.

Bake in the oven for 40–50 minutes, until it doesn’t wobble when you shake it. Remove from the oven and turn out while still warm, so the oranges are on top, carefully prising off any orange slices that have stuck to the tin and arranging them back on top of the cake.

Gently heat the remaining 150g marmalade in a small saucepan. When melted, spread it over the orange slices. Eat warm or cold.


Marmalade will keep for more than a year in a sealed, sterilised jar. Once opened, it should keep for at least a month. The cake will keep well for three to five days in an airtight container.

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