Chocolate polenta cake with oranges and cream caramel (gluten-free + vegan)


I really don’t think polenta gets enough credit. It’s like the Ringo Star of the grains, although maybe that’s a bad example. I can’t actually think of one that’s better than that one right now but if I do ill shoehorn it in.


Polenta is basically a humble cornmeal mush that is put together to make something better. Its tastes is basically, well very much like its mother’s, corny. When uncooked, it’s simply a yellow, powdery dust, but it undergoes a magical transformation when toasted and becomes beautifully crisp- breadcrumb coatings, move aside, polenta is in da house (good news for the coeliacs).


Of course, as with pretty much anything in the world, dump it in some sort of vessel with chocolate and it moves to the top of the hierarchy. And that’s exactly what i did with the polenta the day I coupled it with chocolate.


And with chocolate orange being one of my most desired food combinations, orange had to go into the mix too. So came this surprisingly moist 100% polenta (no other grain or nut to mask its features) chocolate, zingy, almost brownie-like cake. Alongside a heavenly oranges and cream caramel, well I think I need say no more.


Serving size:
Serves 8-10

Ingredients for cake:
• 350g polenta
• 165ml rapeseed oil
• 165ml maple syrup
• Juice of 2 large oranges
• 100ml soya milk
• 1tsp baking powder
• 3tbsp cocoa powder
• ½ tsp orange oil extract

Ingredients for caramel:
• 200ml orange juice
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 200g sugar
• 4tbsp corn starch
• 100ml soya milk
• 3tbsp rapeseed oil


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients together for the cake.
  3. Stir in all of the wet ingredients.
  4. Whisk together until a creamy batter results.
  5. Pour into a greased cake tin, lined with greaseproof paper.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes and leave to cool.
  7. For the caramel, pour the juices, sugar and oil into a metal bowl and heat in a double boiler until the sugar has dissolved.
  8. Make a paste with the corn starch and milk and pour in into the caramel, continuously whisking until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and remove from the heat. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  9. Place in a sterilised jar when cool and store in the refrigerator.


If you want to push the boat out, top with melted chocolate (dairy-free for vegan option) and crushed nuts.


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