Italian Cake's

Blood Orange Polenta Olive Oil Cake

Blood oranges, the famous winter citrus, makes an appearance in this sweet polenta cake.

More than an Italian porridge, polenta is a versatile pantry staple ready to inspire a number of entrées—even dessert.

Serve up this seasonal treat at holiday gatherings and winter events.



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • Zest from 1 blood orange
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup  Instant Polenta
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ cup  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)



  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8” round cake pan.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in brown sugar. Once sugar melts, about 3 minutes, scrape the mixture into the bottom of the cake pan.
  3. Grate the zest from one of the oranges. Set zest aside. Slice both oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and remove any seeds. Arrange the rounds on top of the brown sugar mixture in a single layer.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt and cardamom.
  5. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the olive oil, yogurt and sugar until fully blended and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Slowly beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and the orange zest.
  6. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the dry mixture. Stir until combined, but be careful not to over-mix the batter.
  7. Spoon the batter into the cake pan and spread evenly.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
  9. Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. To remove cake from the pan, run a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen it from the sides. Place a serving plate or cake stand over the cake pan and carefully invert the cake (or flip) in a quick fluid motion.
  10. Allow the cake to cool for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar (optional) and serve.


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