When I bite into a slice of this orange and saffron polenta cake I immediately get a taste of the Mediterranean. Made with sweet oranges from Valencia, saffron from Greece and olive oil from Italy it has all the flavours of the sunny Med. Drizzled with an orange glaze dressed with flecks of orange zest and saffron you really feel are back on your summer holiday, unless of course you are lucky enough to live there.
I made this cake with polenta and ground almonds so it is a gluten-free dream. Olive oil in a cake I hear you say? Believe it or not olive oil is the prefect ingredient as it adds moistness and flavour to this cake complementing the other Mediterranean ingredients. Sweetened with raw honey, it is topped with a wonderful orange and saffron drizzle which drips down the side of the cake ready to spoon over each slice. Sprinkled with chopped pistachios and orange zest this orange and saffron polenta cake is the perfect autumn dessert.
I add a pinch of turmeric to add to the natural colour and flavour of the cake. If you do not want to use a glaze then it is delicious on its own with a natural orange and honey syrup poured over the top of the cake while it is still warm.
We all know that oranges are full of vitamin C but did you also know that they also contain substantial amounts of Vitamins A and B6? As a result, oranges help keep your blood pressure in check and lower cholesterol as well as balancing blood sugar levels. The antioxidants in oranges help with anti-aging and the phytonutrients help fight against disease. Saffron reduces the risks of cancer, depression and heart disease due to its high content of vitamins, minerals and minerals.
Saffron is a spice derived from the dried stigmas of the purple crocus flower and is harvested in Spain, Greece and Iran. Pure saffron is a deep red colour with an earthy smoked aroma. All you need is a pinch as too much can leave a bitter taste to the dish. It takes over 150 flowers to produce just one gram of saffron. So remember to use it sparingly as it is worth more than its weight in gold!
This recipe for orange and saffron polenta cake sounds exotic but is very easy to make. You can make it in your food processor in minutes. I made mine in the thermomix but any good blender works well. Of course you can make it by hand the traditional way with a wooden spoon! Once baked, for an extra orange taste pour some orange syrup over the top of the cake. Top with an orange saffron glaze and chopped pistachios. Time to have a slice and transport yourself back to the Mediterranean!
If you like this gluten-free recipe then why not try my recipe for gluten-free pear muffins.