Orange, almond & polenta cake

This is an Italian classic which I have given a Bengali twist with the addition of a cardamom-infused sugar syrup. A really delicious finale to any meal, I would serve with Chantilly cream and some extra syrup.

Keep any leftover syrup in the fridge for impromptu cocktails…

For more recipes like this one, check out my cookbooks Kitchen Favourites with Saira: Chilli, Ginger and Garlic. Available to buy at


6-8 portions


200gms butter cubed, at room temp
1cup / 220gms caster sugar
Finely grated zest of one orange
1tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temp
1 cup / 150gms fine polenta
1 cup / 150gms self raising flour
100gms ground almonds
1/2 cup (180ml) freshly squeezed orange juice

100gms caster sugar
100mls water
4-5 cardamon pods


  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Grease and line a cake tin (22cm).
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, orange zest and vanilla for 5-6 mins in an electric mixer until pale thick and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well between each one.
  3. Combine flour, polenta and almonds. Also prepare / measure out the orange juice.
  4. Mix in to the butter mix in two stages. Ensure the mix is well combined.
  5. Pour into the tin and level off and bake for 40 mins until cooked through.
  6. Prepare the syrup by heating the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved then infusing the cardamon pods.
  7. When the cake comes out of the oven and is still warm, poke with a sharp skewer and drizzle the syrup over the warm cake liberally. You won't need all of it, so keep some back for when the cake is served.
  8. Serve with Chantilly cream (double cream lightly whipped with icing sugar and vanilla extract).