Polenta Citrus Cake

This recipe is based on one given to me by Liz Lacey, a very dear friend of the McDonald Joyce family. It’s a gluten- and dairy-free cake with a beautiful golden colour. Thanks to the corn meal and ground almonds it’s dense and moist, and the tart citrus zest and juice stops it from being too sweet. Do try to get unwaxed or organic lemons and oranges, though, to avoid pesticides and wax, and get as much juice and flesh from the fruit as you can. Either serve the cake for tea or as a pudding – it’s absolute heaven with the Coconut and Pineapple Sorbet.


Serves 10

finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons

finely grated zest and juice of 2 large oranges

185ml (just over 6fl oz) medium or mild (not

extra virgin) olive oil

215g (71/2oz) xylitol (or caster sugar)

3 large free-range or organic eggs

3 drops of almond extract

175g (6oz) fine corn meal/polenta

140g (5oz) ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if necessary)

75g (3oz) flaked almonds to sprinkle on top


1 Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Grease and line a loose-based round cake tin, 23cm (9in) in diameter, and grease the sides.

2 Place the lemon and orange zest and juice in a mixing bowl and add the oil, xylitol, eggs and almond extract. Whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined.

3 Mix the corn meal, ground almonds and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and fold together gently until combined.

4 Pour into the prepared tin and scatter with the flaked almonds. Put the tin on a baking tray and let it stand for 10 minutes, then pop into the oven for 35–45 minutes or until pale gold at the edges and just firm to the touch in the middle.

5 Serve warm or cool on a wire rack until ready to serve.

Cook’s Notes

Gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free • V • Can be made in advance – keeps in an airtight container for up to 4 days • Suitable for freezing

From Delicious, Health Sugar Free by Patrick Holford and Fiona McDonald Joyce. With special thanks to Fiona McDonald Joyce for use of these recipes for Holford Health Club members.

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