Gluten-Free Orange Polenta Cake

By / Photography By Stacy Ventura | December 01, 2014



Preheat oven to 325°.

Cream together butter, sugar and orange zest. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape down bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan with the vegetable oil and line the pan with parchment. Spread batter evenly in pan.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10–20 minutes, until cake is golden brown and center is set.


Bring cream just to a boil in the microwave. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit until chocolate is melted. Whisk until smooth and shiny. Whisk in Grand Marnier.

Let ganache sit until thick and cool but still spreadable. Pour onto center of cake and spread until just shy of the edge using an offset spatula.

About this recipe

Heather Hardcastle, owner and founding chef of San Anselmo’s Flour Craft Bakery, knows that the holidays can be especially tough on those with gluten intolerance. She was diagnosed with the condition herself in 2000.

Since then Hardcastle, a graduate of the general pastry program at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, has made it her mission to re-create a wide array of sweet and savory favorites using gluten-free ingredients so that everyone can enjoy delicious treats, year round.

This recipe for orange polenta cake is one of Hardcastle’s personal favorites and a bestseller at her bakery. The chocolate ganache icing gives it a rich and luxurious finish, without being too heavy. She also promises that you do not need to be a pastry school graduate to wow your friends and family with this easy-to-make-at-home cake.

Hardcastle’s award-winning baked goods, breads and granolas can be found at the Marin Civic Center Farmers’ Market in San Rafael, Whole Foods Markets throughout Northern California, Equator Coffee cafes and many other local markets, as well as at her Flour Craft Bakery, where she also offers gluten-free (and vegan and Paleo) sweet and savory breakfast and lunch items.

702 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo; 415.453.3100


The Cake
  • 8 ounces butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/3 cups almond meal
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon quick polenta
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • Vegetable oil for greasing baking pan
The Ganache
  • 8 ounces chocolate
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
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