Celebrate late spring with this Blood Orange Polenta Cake. This tart cake with a sweet glaze is the best way to savor blood oranges while they can still be found on the shelves in store . The addition of polenta adds a crumbly texture to this light, moist loaf cake and the olive oil brings a delicate flavor and moistness to each bite. You’ll find yourself going back for one more tiny sliver of cake with a slice of fresh fruit.
The grocery list.
Blood oranges season is December to April and should be available in grocery stores until late May. If you are unable to find blood oranges, regular oranges will do. Blood oranges are slightly less acidic and slightly less sweet than a regular orange. Some say, the blood orange has hints of strawberry and raspberry in flavor.
- Blood orange zest – While both the juice and zest of blood oranges is included in this recipe, the zest is what adds the most orange-y flavor to the cake.
- Granulated sugar – Although blood oranges are sweeter than regular oranges, this cake still needs some added sweetness.
- Large eggs – Eggs provide structure to baked goods and also aid in the rise in the oven. To make this Blood Orange Polenta Cake vegan, use an egg replacement. A quick Google search will provide a long list of suitable egg replacements for baking, but some commonly used ones are applesauce, ground flaxseed or chia seed and arrowroot powder.
- Blood orange juice – The juice of blood oranges help moisten the cake batter and also add a bit of flavor to the cake.
- Olive oil – Often used as a replacement for butter, olive oil adds a richness to the flavor of the cake and makes the texture moist and tender.
- All-purpose flour – Flour is the main source of structure in a cake.
- Polenta – Polenta is ground corn. When added to a cake, it provides an appetizing texture similar to cornbread. This will make your cake crumbly and delicious.
- Baking powder – Baking powder is a leavening agent that helps your cake rise and makes it light and fluffy.
- Baking soda – Baking soda, similar to baking powder, allows the cake to rise and gives it a light texture. However, it also helps baked goods brown better, so your cake will come out of the oven a beautiful golden color.
- Salt – A teensy bit of salt in all your baked goods will make the flavor POP!
- Blood orange slices – To top your Blood Orange Polenta Cake.
- Powdered sugar – Powdered sugar is the base of every deliciously sweet glaze.
- Blood orange juice – It is a Blood Orange cake after all, so adding some juice into the glaze makes it even more tasty.
- Kosher salt – Just a pinch!
I baked this Blood Orange Polenta Cake in a loaf pan. If you don’t have a loaf pan or want your cake to have a more traditional cake look, use a small or medium circular cake pan instead. Using a different pan will likely shorten the baking time of this cake, so pay close attention to it as it bakes. Once it looks close to done and the top is golden brown, stick a toothpick or knife into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
I chose to use parchment paper to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan. Because I used olive oil in the recipe, I didn’t use butter to grease the pan in order to stay consistent with the use of fat in this dish. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can use olive oil to grease your pan. I suggest drizzling some olive oil on a paper towel and wiping it along the inside of your pan, making sure to lightly cover the entire inside of the pan.
In a large bowl work the blood orange zest and sugar with your hands until fragrant. This will help infuse the blood orange flavor into the sugar and increase the depth of flavor of your cake.
To the bowl add the eggs, blood orange juice and olive oil. Beat using a hand mixer on med-high speed for 2 minutes until bubbly.
Into a separate bowl, mix the flour, polenta, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mixing the dry ingredients separately from the wet ensures that the rising agents and polenta are evenly dispersed throughout the batter.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet. If your batter is too dry and you have trouble mixing it, add a tablespoon of water. Gently fold until no dry bits of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake the cake at 350°F for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick dipped into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
While the loaf bakes, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl whisk the powdered sugar and blood orange juice.
Remove the loaf from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes lift the loaf out of the pan using the parchment paper edges and cool for an additional 30 minutes. Once completely cooled, pour the glaze over the loaf and top with blood orange segments.
This Blood Orange Polenta Cake freezes very well. Wrap the finished cake in parchment and tin foil or plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 week.
When you’re ready to enjoy it, place it in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes.
Looking for more cake recipes? Here are a few to try:
Berry Bursting Angel’s Food Cake
Cardamom Carrot Loaf w/ Brown Butter Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Lastly, if you make this Blood Orange Polenta Cake recipe, be sure to leave a comment! Above all, I love to hear from ya’ll and do my best to respond to every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of your dayyyummm good recreations is my favorite!
This post contains affiliate links that will not change your price but will share some commission.
- 2 tablespoons blood orange zest
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup blood orange juice
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1cup all-purpose flour
- ½ polenta
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup blood orange slices, cut into segments for serving
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup blood orange juice
- Pinch kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl work the blood orange zest and sugar with your hands until fragrant. To the bowl add the eggs, blood orange juice and olive oil. Beat using a hand mixer on med-high speed for 2 minutes until bubbly.
- Into a separate bowl, mix the flour, polenta, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet. Gently fold until no dry bits of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake the cake at 350°F for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick dipped into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- While the loaf bakes, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl whisk the powdered sugar and blood orange juice.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes lift the loaf out of the pan using the parchment paper edges and cool for an additional 30 minutes. Once completely cooled, pour the glaze over the loaf and top with blood orange segments.