Pistachio & Lemon Polenta Cake


Rainy days drive many a cook to baking, seeming the perfect counterbalance to the damp greyness, which in Ireland can last all day long. This was a drizzly, sideways rain kinda day. I was hungover, albeit mildly. But enough to manifest an apathetic humour... I wanted to go for a walk -but I didn't want to go for a walk in the rain. I wanted to go get the paper -but I didn't want to drive in the rain. I knew if I didn't do something...anything, marginally productive, I would be filled with self loathing. Oh and also, me and a half eaten packet of pistachios, had been giving each other the eye for about three weeks.

And so it began.

It all came good. Pouring tea, pouring memories, eating cake.

It all came good. Pouring tea, pouring memories, eating cake.

Let me just introduce this cake, for my fellow 'not so keen on sponge' people, this is one for us. It's nutty, lemony and moist. And for gluten intolerant tummies it works really well.


  • 250g butter room temp.
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs at least free range
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 120g ground pistachios
  • 60g polenta flour/fine maize meal (or plain flour if gluten is tolerable)
  • 9" /23cm spring form cake tin, greased and lined


  • 100g icing sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp rose water (optional)


  • turn oven on to 160'C/Gas 3
  • beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  • add the eggs 1 at a time
  • add the lemon zest and juice
  • in a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients
  • mix dry into wet, pour into prepared cake tin, smooth over top
  • bake for 40-50 mins -check at 40!
  • cover with foil if it's browning on top but still not cooked fully
  • allow to cool before icing
  • to make icing; sieve the icing sugar, add the lemon and rose water if using and mix with a whisk before pouring over the cake
  • enjoy with tea/coffee/prosecco/lemonade/ dollop of creme fraiche/whipped cream

Amazing Orange & Almond Cake

Sponge cake...hmmmnn...I like it on the day, called Victoria, dressed with raspberry jam and whipped cream. But, that is where my love affair with sponge ends. I will never not love this Claudia Roden recipe, it stays moist for days and you can jazz it up with chocolate ganache if it's for a special occasion...i.e you feel like really treating yourself. Did I mention that it is gluten and dairy free?

What you need;

  • 2 large oranges (preferably organic because you're gonna eat the skin!)
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder

What you need to do;

  • scrub the oranges if they aren't organic boil them for 2 hours, remove pips when cooled
  • turn oven on to 170' fan oven/ 190' conventional /gas mark 5
  • prepare a 23cm round cake tin, grease and line
  • whizz up the oranges with a hand blender or in a magimix, add the eggs whizz some more
  • mix your almonds, sugar and baking powder
  • add wet to dry pour into prepared tin
  • bake for about an hour, (check at 45 mins cover top with foil if it's getting too much colour)
  • serve with coffee, tea or a glass of lemonade
  • you can use 2 lemons or one pink grapefruit instead of one of the oranges, or use blood oranges