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Blood Orange Polenta Cake Recipe

of servings

30 minutes

1 hour

It’s the fresh taste of our whey butter that inspired John Quilter to create his fragrant Blood Orange Polenta Cake, as part of his Food Odyssey journey around the UK. Celebrate the joy of a glorious summer’s day down on the farm with a delicious slice of Britain’s unique food heritage.

"Mary runs an idyllic dairy and it shows in the quality of the butter and cheese. Just phenomenal!"


For the cake

  • 150g Unsalted Quicke’s Whey Butter (at room temperature), plus extra, melted, for greasing
  • 200g demerara sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100g polenta
  • 1 Seville orange, zested then sliced into circles
  • 1 blood orange, zested then sliced into circles
  • 1tsp orange blossom water
  • 1tsp baking powder

For the syrup

  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 250ml freshly squeezed orange juice (from 3-4 oranges)
  • 30ml orange blossom water
  • 125g light runny honey

To serve

  • Crème fraȋche



  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 22cm springform tin with melted butter, then line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper. Brush again with melted butter. Finally, sprinkle the bottom with a little demerara sugar.
  2. Beat the remaining butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs one by one then stir in the vanilla essence.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the ground almonds, polenta, orange zests, orange blossom water and baking powder, then stir this into the cake batter. Arrange a few slices of each orange in the bottom of the tin on top of the sugar.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin over the oranges and bake for 10 mins, then reduce the temperature to 150°C and bake for a further 40 mins or until the surface is light brown and the cake comes away slightly from the sides of the tin.
  5. Remove the tin from the oven, leave to cool for 10 mins, then turn the cake out onto a plate. The cake will be quite fragile, so handle carefully as you remove it.
  6. While the cake is cooling, make the syrup. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer over a medium-low heat for about 10 mins, or until reduced and thickened slightly. Set aside to cool.
  7. Prick the cake all over with a skewer, then brush generously with the syrup. Serve the cake in slices with a dollop of crème fraîche on the side.

Recipe by John Quilter, AKA 'The Food Busker', courtesy of Woman & Home.

Image copyright: Sean Calitz

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