I was recently invited to lunch at Tokara in Stellenbosch and had the opportunity to enjoy an olive oil tasting followed by a tasty lunch in the deli. The dessert was just incredible, a Orange Polenta Cake served with Orange Ice Cream, Orange Crème and Candied Oranges and as we were lucky enough to get the recipe afterwards, it was a given that I was going to make it and share on here.Orange Polenta Cake

Tokara offers some of the most incredible views in the Cape winelands and is a must do when visiting wine farms in the area. The winery makes a fantastic range of wines, brandy and olive oils. The main restaurant on the farm, with the kitchen under the able helm of chef Richard Carstens, makes a regular appearance on the country’s top top 10 restaurant list. The deli offers a more informal but as delicious dining option as well as a shop filled with products to take home.

Orange Polenta Cake

I love baking with ground almonds and this Orange Polenta Cake is one of my new favourite bakes. It is incredibly flavourful as you boil 2 whole oranges, blend it too smooth puree and add it to the cake batter meaning the orange flavour is intense and delicious. I did not mess with the original recipe except for adding some vanilla extract and salt to the cake batter.

I sliced and froze the leftover cake and it defrosts within a few minutes remaining as delicious as when it is freshly baked and soaked with the spiced syrup. The dried orange slices used for decoration could not be easier to make. I have made them before for the Chocolate Fruitcake and all you need to do is sprinkle the slices with some caster sugar and let them dry in a low oven of about 80 degrees C, turning once or twice until they have dried out. Enjoy!

Orange Polenta Cake

Some good news to those readers who have asked, our next Food Photography Workshop will take place on Saturday the 23rd of September 2017. It falls on a long weekend so I hope it will make it easier to fit in with busy schedules. Our goal for the day is to create a space where we all can play, learn from each other and have a lot of fun doing it. Come be inspired, get creative, get more comfortable with your camera and most importantly play. All the details can be found here and do let me know if you would like to join us for the day at the most beautiful location.

Tokara’s Orange Polenta Cake


  • Cake:
  • 2 oranges, skin on and washed
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 170g ground almonds
  • 50g polenta
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • half a tsp salt
  • grated zest of an orange
  • 100ml olive oil
  • Syrup:
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • 2 star anise
  • good pinch of salt
  • 50 ml brandy


  1. Make the syrup by splitting the vanilla bean in half and placing in a small pot with the sugar, water, spices and salt
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the heat
  3. Add the brandy and let the syrup infuse for 30 minutes
  4. Strain the syrup and set aside
  5. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C
  6. Grease a 24cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper
  7. Place the oranges in a small pot and and cover with water and gently simmer for 75 minutes
  8. Remove the oranges and cool for 30 minutes
  9. Roughly chop the oranges with the peel on, remove the pips and blend in a food processor to a smooth puree
  10. Whisk the eggs and sugar, add the extract and beat well
  11. Add the almonds, polenta, baking powder, orange puree, zest and olive oil and mix well
  12. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for about 45 minutes until light golden and firm to the touch
  13. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, turn out on a wire rack and let the cake cool completely
  14. Transfer the cake to a plate and use a toothpick to prick the cake all over
  15. Spoon spoonfuls of the syrup over the cake, allowing it to soak through the cake before adding more
  16. Continue until all the syrup is finished
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A few more of my favourite gluten free baking recipes:

Orange Pistachio Cake

Lemon Ricotta Cake

Pistachio Lemon Cake
Heinstirred Professional Food Photography

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