Almonds and polenta give this easy loaf cake a wonderful texture. The cardamom adds a delicate fragrance, too – this is gluten-free baking at its best.
- 175g/6oz butter, softened and cubed, plus extra for greasing
- 175g/6oz caster sugar
- 3 medium free-range eggs
- 200g/7oz ground almonds
- 100g/3½oz fine polenta
- 50g/1¾oz Greek-style yoghurt
- 1 heaped tsp baking powder (gluten-free if required)
- 4 green cardamom pods, seeds only, lightly crushed
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 lemon, finely grated zest only
- 1 medium orange, finely grated zest and juice only (around 40ml/1½fl oz juice)
- 20g/¾oz flaked almonds
- 4 tsp runny honey (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Butter and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
- Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding mixer and whisk until very pale and creamy (alternatively use an electric whisk). You will need to push the mixture down now and then with a rubber spatula until the right consistency is reached.
- Add two of the eggs, one at a time, whisking well between each addition. Add the final egg and half the almonds and whisk until well combined, light and fluffy.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except the flaked almonds and honey, and whisk until well combined. Don’t worry if the cake looks a little curdled – but add a couple of tablespoons of self-raising flour (gluten-free if preferred) if the mixture is looking very curdled – this can happen if the ingredients are added too quickly.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 45–55 minutes, or until risen and golden brown. Test that the cake is ready by inserting a skewer into the middle – if it comes out clean it is done.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen gently before removing from the tin, taking care as it will be hot. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, or serve warm, drizzled with honey if you like.