The thing I love about this lemon and orange olive oil polenta traybake is that it makes the perfect antidote to all this Easter sweetness. There’s not only no dairy and no gluten but there’s no chocolate either, yet the whole traybake is bright yellow so it’s very much on trend for this long weekend. It’s also got the right ratio of tartness to sweetness from the lemon and orange zest.
Olive Oil cake
If you’ve never baked with olive oil in a cake before it’s rather wonderful. You can definitely taste it but it somehow works so well. I use an extra virgin olive oil which is strong and nutty but that compliments the ground almonds and polenta perfectly. It’s a very Mediterranean-style cake. You can imagine eating it sitting on a sun-drenched deck. The light dappled with shade from an olive tree, the cicada’s chirruping in the long grass as it sways in the gentle breeze off the sea.
Oh wow! I miss travelling and this cake has instantly transported me to Spain.
for the cake
- 160ml good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 200g caster sugar
- 150g ground almonds
- 100g polenta
- 50g gluten free flour – I use the one by Doves Farm but you could use plain flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 3 large free-range eggs
- zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange (save juice for syrup)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 50 grams icing sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan). Grease and line the base and sides of a brownie tin – I used my 23cm x 15cm roasting tin – with baking parchment.
Whilst it’s baking, make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and icing sugar in a smallish saucepan or microwave and then once the cake is out of the oven and pricked all over, pour the warm syrup over the cake.I like to sprinkle it all over with a little more caster sugar to give it a crunchy top. Leave it to cool before taking it out of its tin, then slice into squares.
Eat and of course, enjoy!