This fragrant and moist cake is not only visually beautiful, it also has the most delicious spiced sweet orange and honey flavour. The cake can be made gluten-free as long as you use a gluten-free baking powder.


  • Butter, for greasing
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 225g ground almonds
  • 100g polenta
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • Grated zest of 3 large oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
  • Crème fraîche, to serve
  • For the Syrup
  • Juice of 2 large oranges
  • 3 tblsp honey
  • 2 tsp rosewater


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4 and grease a 20cm diameter springform tin, then line the
  • base with baking parchment.
  • Bash the cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and extract the seeds. Then bash the seeds to a fine powder and add to a bowl together with the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder.
  • Beat the sugar and butter in a bowl until the mixture is light and pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Tip the bowl of dry ingredients into this mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Add two-thirds of the orange zest together with the vanilla extract, and just fold through.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place it on the middle shelf of the oven to bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • Prepare the syrup by placing all the ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium heat and bringing to a steady simmer.
  • Pierce holes all over the cake with a wooden skewer while it is cooling and pour over half the syrup, a little at a time, until the cake has soaked it up.
  • Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts, drizzle with the remaining syrup and sprinkle with remaining orange zest to decorate. Serve in slices with a little crème fraîche.

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