Friday 9 May 2014

Madhouse recipe : Upside Down Orange Polenta & Olive Oil Cake

My olive oil experiment moved into a new phase today - after trying the Cardamom infused olive oil on roast pork and the Bergamot-infused oil in Focaccia, both of which were resounding successes, I decided to tackle a sweet recipe. This rather impressive-looking Upside Down Orange Polenta & Olive Oil Cake was the result.

Upside Down Orange Polenta & Olive Oil Cake

ingredients  :

5 large oranges
300g sugar
250g fine-ground polenta
200g self-raising flour
1½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
4 eggs, beaten
225ml extra-virgin olive oil (I used 55ml Marina Colonna Arancio orange-flavoured olive oil + 170ml extra-virgin olive oil)

Put two of the oranges into a pan of water and simmer for one hour until completely soft.

Drain then blend to a smooth purée with a stick blender or in a food processor.

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/ Gas 3. Remove the peel and pith from the remaining oranges and chop them into 1cm-thick slices. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin. Scatter a couple of tablespoons of the sugar over the bottom of the tin in an even layer and arrange the slices of orange on top.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat in the eggs.

 Pour in the oil - don't worry, it will look like you've added way too much but it will be fine !

 Stir in the orange purée, making sure everything is well mixed. You may want to have a tiny taste at this stage and add a bit more sugar if it's too sharp.

Pour the batter over the oranges, then place in the middle of the oven for 75-90 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. (I put a piece of foil over the top for the last 30 minutes because it was going a bit too brown.)

 Allow to cool in the tin before inverting on to a plate and serving.

This was the first time that I'd used polenta in cooking and it gave a nice firmer texture to the cake. Using the whole oranges, peel and all, gives it a slightly bitter orange flavour. I'd be tempted to add a bit more sugar next time to balance this. It's a great looking cake though and one that I'd definitely make again. Using olive oil instead of butter has to be better for your health too.

Link up your recipe of the week

Casa Costello
Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Madhouse recipe : Thyme, Sea Salt & Bergamot Focaccia


  1. Fantastic recipe! I think this is one of my top favourite recipes of yours! Simply glorious!

    1. LOL The funny thing is, when I turned it upside down, my instant thought was that it looked like one of your cakes !! Even more so because I remember you using polenta in cakes, which is why I bought some in the first place !

    2. Actually I never made an upside down cake, though you make it look like a doddle, while I'm sure it is all very laborious. :) It's just I love polenta in cakes & love oranges, though again never tried to blitz it for the dough. Must try your recipe!

    3. No, it really was a doddle ! Plus the fact that it used olive oil instead of butter meant that it was really quick and easy to mix without getting arm ache :)

  2. Wow, how cool does this look. I did buy some polenta and then it just sat on my shelf waiting to be used and sadly I ignored it. I may have to try tomake this. Does it have a corn bread texture? #recipeoftheweek

    1. Umm I've never tried cornbread so I don't know ! It has a grainier,firmer texture than with flour.

  3. I started baking with Olive Oil instead of butter a while ago. Cookies especially are much more chewy and more like the cookie stand version you buy in the mall.

  4. Looks so pretty and I am sure yummy too! #recipeoftheweek

  5. Oh Wow! This looks incredible/ I love the combination of orange and polenta. Fell free to enter this into Bake of the week x

  6. I haven't ever baked with olive oil so will have to try, but last year I used polenta for the first time in a lemon cake which was delicious. This orange cake looks yummy.

    1. It was my first time with polenta too - I will definitely be experimenting with it more now though :)

  7. Hi, found you through Carole's Chatter...that sure is an impressive looking cake!

  8. I just love upside down cakes :x This looks so good !


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