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Gluten-free polenta almond cake
The trick to hold this cake together is starch. But not corn starch or any other starch, but the starch from gluten-free oats. I remember creating recipes for my collaboration with oat producer Mornflake and I also noticed how the starch in the oats made things stick together. It was a relevation for me because this really opened up doors for gluten-free recipes (normally it's the gluten that helps to bind a cake and not fall apart). And in combination with polenta and almonds I was able to come up with a lovely spongey cake-like texture. You don't taste the oats and would never realise that this was a gluten-free cake. The polenta and almonds make it a little bit more dense than normal cake, but it's still one of my favourite vegan cakes I've ever made and I normally don't even have issues with normal flour.
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The secret to this cake are oats, which after they have been blended with all other ingredients, are baked. And the heat changes the structure of the starch in the oats and the turn from liquid into a sticky texture. The polenta and almonds absorb their moisture and together they create a nice spongey texture. But heated up starch is soft, so you need to wait until the cake has fully cooled down and set. Otherwise you would get texture that's too soft.
This cake is a bit more dense than other cakes, yet so delicious it has now become one of my favourite cakes ever.
If you like the combination of polenta and the marzipan taste of almonds you will love this cake. Enjoy!
- 300ml soy milk
- 100ml sunflower oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp almond essence
- 125g granulated sugar
- 75g Polenta (also known as corn grits)
- 75g gluten-free rolled oats
- 50g ground almonds
- 1 tbsp baking powder
Preheat your oven to 180C (360F).
Combine wet and dry ingredients in a smoothie blender and blend for about 1.5 - 2min until you get a smooth mixture. Yes, I'm a messy chef as you could see in the video above hehe, try to keep the ingredients IN the blender cup! ;-)
Tip: If you don't have a strong blender then I would recommend to let the mixture sit for up to half an hour in order for the polenta to soak up the liquid a bit more and it will give the dough a mire thick consistency. The reason I used a blender was to mix everything together as well as hydrate the polenta quicker by spinning it around and breaking it up in the process. If you don't have a strong blender, give the dough a bit of rest, otherwise the polenta might separate and sink to the bottom.
Then pour the mixture into a baking paper lined and greased baking tin (mine is 20cm in diameter) and then bake for 35 min. FYI, the mixture will be more more liquid than normal cake batter. But don't worry about it, the polenta will soak up most of the moisture.
When the cake comes out of the oven it will feel more soft than non-gluten-free cake. That's ok and it's because the starch of the oats needs to cool down to set. So make sure you let the cake cool down properly before you cut yourself a slice.
Sprinkle some icing sugar on top and enjoy!
And if you enjoyed this recipe, then also try my vegan flourless chocolate banana cake recipe here.
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