orange polenta cake

Gah! Isn’t that photo GORGEOUS? Don’t you just want to DIVE INTO that cake? Damn. Donal Skehan, your cake + photography looks SO good on this blog. Also, those beautiful orange twists? I’m desper for a zester (did I really just say that? Apologies)

With all the baking vested in me, I declare this cake a masterpiece to be-hold and be-eaten.

Right. Let me shed some light on what’s happening here. I’m still the full shilling, promise.

My dear friend, Donal Skehan, has just released his 4rd cookery book, Homecooked. And, to be prudent, I must add that not only has he put a book out this year, but he’s filmed two separate television food series, worked with Jamie Oliver on Food Tube, created and published a stunning new dinner journal/magazine that is Ireland’s answer to Kinfolk, went on a national “blog tour” where he brought his satire + cooking to the theatrical stage (absolute brilliant fun), and has also launched a new line of spectacular savoury pies with his family. I am sure I am missing more bits, but my point is that this man has the energy of a 26 year old.

Oh yeah, he is 26.


Home Cooked

Now his book itself is going on a (blog) tour too. Not kidding. Yesterday, it launched with Waterstones and Emily Holmes. Today it’s me. Tomorrow it will be Lily. When Donal’s publisher asked us to be roadies, we  jumped right into that virtual RV.

There isn’t ONE recipe in any of Donal’s books that I wouldn’t make, but my favourite recipe (so far) from Homecooked is this Orange Polenta Cake with Honey and Rosewater Syrup. It was hard to choose because one (little) farmer is partial to the Mikado Coconut Cream Cake (tied with the Waitress Mermaid Pie), and another (big) farmer is crazy about Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Plus, there’s the fact that there is a shot of me in my mother-in-law’s pinny holding the most amazing Crazy Monkey Brownie Baked Alaska on page 169. But, I digress.


I love this sweet, dense cake because it is especially good prepared with our woodland honey, but would taste incredible with any honey that is accessible. What is fantastic about Donal’s cookbooks is that they have been tested til the cows com home, and anyone can make his recipes, including his biggest fan, our 8 year old son, Geoffrey. Okay, Geoffrey needs a leeeettle help, but you get the gist of it. Delicious. Easy. Accessible. Comforting recipes to cook at home.

This fragrant and moist cake is not only visually beautiful, it also has the most delicious spiced sweet orange and honey flavour. The cake can be made gluten-free as long as you use a gluten-free baking powder.


SERVES 6-8 (V)

Butter, for greasing

8 green cardamom pods

225g ground almonds

100g polenta

1 heaped tsp baking powder

225g caster sugar

225g butter, softened

3 large eggs

Grated zest of 3 large oranges

1 tsp vanilla extract

50g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

Creme fraiche, to serve


Juice of 2 large oranges

3 tbsp honey

2 tsp rosewater

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4 and grease a 20cm diameter springform tin, then line the base with baking parchment.

2. Bash the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and extract the seeds. Then bash the seeds to a fine powder and add to a bowl together with the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder.

3. Beat the sugar and butter in a bowl until the mixture is light and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Tip the bowl of dry ingredients into this mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Add two-thirds of the orange zest together with the vanilla extract, and just fold through.

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place it on the middle shelf of the oven to bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

5. Prepare the syrup by placing all the ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium heat and bringing to a steady simmer.

6. Pierce holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer while it is cooling and pour over half the syrup, a little at a time, until the cake has soaked it up. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts, drizzle with the remaining syrup and sprinkle with remaining orange zest to decorate.

7. Serve in slices with a little creme fraiche.

I hope you enjoy Homecooked by Donal Skehan as much as we do.

Back in few days with new farm adventure + recipe, promise!

Slan Abhaile,


Cake photo by Donal Skehan 2013. Book cover supplied by Harper-Collins. 

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24 Responses to “Orange Polenta Cake with Honey + Rosewater Syrup”

  1. […] da cui ho preso l’idea di bollire i mandarini e usare farina di mandorle – e quest’altra – da cui invece ho tratto ispirazione per la glassa e l’uso della farina per polenta, […]

  2. noyemie says:

    Hi this cake sounds amazing ! Would it be possible to make a chocolate polenta cake version with orange/honey syrup?
    Would adding melted chocolate alter the texture of the cake when baking?
    thank you for posting this recipe! 🙂

  3. Yum yum. Such a delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing this.


  4. […] Pea, asparagus and ham risotto Chicken and leek pie Osso bucco After Quick and easy apple tart Orange polenta cake with rosewater syrup Clafoutis Brown sugar pavlova Raspberry and caramel tarts Ever after Affogato Cake truffles Are […]

  5. […] Pea, asparagus and ham risotto Chicken and leek pie Osso bucco After Quick and easy apple tart Orange polenta cake with rosewater syrup Clafoutis Brown sugar pavlova Raspberry and caramel tarts Ever after Affogato Cake truffles Are […]

  6. Tim says:

    I know my oven like the back of my hand. 40 minutes at 180.. Gave the cake a wee poke, still molten in the middle. Ten more minutes, shel’ll be fine I thought. Sunken cake. Angry!!

  7. Brindu says:

    Thank you for sharing! It is perfect for the last winter days 🙂 Already planning a second one 😉

  8. cheri says:

    What a beautiful cake, now I’ll just have to buy his book!

  9. […] plus it is naturally gluten-free. It is a Donal Skehan’s cake, taken from the blog Farmette: if you are still missing the right idea for a Christmas cake, this is very appropriate, trust […]

  10. That cake is so unreal! Wow just gorgeous!

  11. Francesca says:

    This is my kind of cake. Can’t wait to make it.

  12. […] di sciroppo di arancia e miele, decorata di pistacchi e naturalmente gluten free. È presa dal blog Farmette, se vi manca l’idea giusta per il dolce di Natale, questa è […]

  13. […] friendly} – La Casa de Sweets Spicy Beer Braised Lime Chicken Enchiladas – How Sweet It Is Orange Polenta Cake with Honey + Rosewater Syrup – Farmette Bananas Foster Cheesecake Recipe  – Savory Sweet Life Unfussy French Food – […]

  14. Kathryn says:

    this cake! what a stunner and the flavours in it are just perfect. Donal is a real superstar isn’t he?

  15. hagit says:

    looks great! when you ask for polenta in the recipe, do you mean polenta flour or the dish…?

  16. Heidrun // says:

    Wow, what a great recipe … I would like to reblog this in a next post. I have an Italian Brother in Law and love The Irish Lifestyle. What shall I say! Wordless about this mixture, it’s so fantastic.

    Wish you a nice week, greetings by Heidrun
    from Bavaria

  17. molly yeh says:

    i recently stumbled across donal’s website and since then i have been fan-girling so much. he is such a backstreet boy. have you seen his music videos? they are my fave.

    this cake is GORGEOUS. and i’ve got to get my hands on a copy of Feast.

    • imen says:

      Omg, Molly you’ve nailed it! Donal is a backstreet boy!!!!!! Love it. When I find some Feast copies, can send you one if you like! x

  18. Wow, just WOW.

    I love me a good orange, almond, polenta cake, but the rosemary syrup and pistachio just puts it over the top! Quite an accomplished fellow! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Mary Hollywood says:

      there is an error in the recipe! it is missing the polenta and ground almonds and quantities of same! I’m always intending to make orange polenta cake but as yet have never got round to it!

      • imen says:

        Hi Mary, it was there but running into other ingredients lines, sorry about that..a blog glitch, thanks for the heads up! It’s a fantastic recipe!

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