> The Beesley Buzz: Sugar Free and gluten free orange and maple polenta cake with candied carrot

Sugar Free and gluten free orange and maple polenta cake with candied carrot

This week was week 5 on GBBO and it was 'free-from' week. This week I felt very daunted by the prospect of attempting anything from GBBO. Those ice cream rolls made me feel way out of my depth, I wouldn't have a clue where to get the strange gluten alternative powder they used for the pittas, and their cakes all looked so amazing and ambitious that I really didn't know where to start.

Then I remembered that I've never been great at baking but I have loved the fun of having a go and joining in regardless of how things turn out. So I decided to adapt one of my favourite gluten-free cakes to make it sugar free too.

I adore Lemon Polenta Cake - My usual recipe uses 130g of butter and caster sugar creamed together, then 200g ground almonds, 100g polenta, and 1 and a half teaspoon of gluten free baking powder added in along with 3 eggs (added in stages to incorporate all the dry ingredients and the 3 eggs). It also has the zest of 2 lemons and then the drizzle is made up of 80g icing sugar and the juice of those lemons warmed to a syrup and poured over.

So I put my thinking cap on to decide how to adapt it and having just returned back from Canada, my alternative to sugar just had to be maple syrup. Instead of lemon I'm using an orange. I wanted to try making candied carrot as a cake topper so as a bit of an experiment I've also added in a grated carrot to tie in with that and to see how that turns out in a polenta cake.

130g butter
170g ground almonds
100g polenta
1 and a half tsp baking powder (use gluten free if you want your cake to be gluten free)
100g maple syrup (mine was Clarks maple syrup blended with carob fruit syrup)
3 eggs
1 carrot - grated

for the drizzle:
Juice of 1 orange
tablespoon of maple syrup

for the cream cheese frosting:
1 tablespoon of maple syrup (heated to thicken slightly)
150g cream cheese

1. Put the dry ingredients of polenta, ground almonds and baking powder in a bowl and put to one side. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Cream together the butter and maple syrup. This doesn't cream nicely like sugar does so I added a bit of the dry ingredients to help it look smoother.
3. Add in the eggs one at a time, alternating with the dry ingredients until they are all incorporated.
4. Add the grated carrot and mix.
5. Pour into a tin. I used a greased silicone tin of 7.5 inches.
6. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 180C or until cooked through. I don't know if it was the maple syrup that caused it but the cake seemed to brown more quickly than usual so keep an eye on it and adjust temperature or baking time accordingly.
7. In a pan, warm through the orange juice and maple syrup to make an orange syrup.
8. Remove the cake from the oven keeping it in it's tin. Whilst still warm, skewer all over and pour on the orange syrup.
9. Cream together the cream cheese and maple syrup for the frosting and when the cake is cool, decorate as you with together with candied carrot swirls.

For the candied carrot, I broadly followed these instructions on epicurious swapping the sugar for a little maple syrup instead. The oven temp of 225F converts to 110C for my oven so it is quite a low heat. Me and Miss T made these the day before so that the oven would be freed up for cake baking today.

Miss T loved helping me to bake today standing on her trusty chair - She helped to measure out ingredients, cut up the butter into cubes, break the eggs and turn the mixer on.

This week I am linking up with Kids in the Kitchen at Raisie Bay, Mummy Mishaps Great Bloggers Bake Off which is being hosted over at Hijacked by Twins this week, and of course the Bake With Bake Off challenge from Silver Mushroom.

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Mummy Mishaps


  1. I think this looks fantastic. I love what you've done with the candied carrots - definitely going to steal this idea! #gbbobloggers2015

  2. i have never cooked or baked with polenta but i really want to. I bought a packet but it got ripped before i had chance to use it and made a mess over my floor!
    your children have made a magnificent job of this cake - and love the candid carrots. thank you for joining in x

    1. polenta cake is one of my faves - i adore lemon polenta cake best and even though i've tried a couple of variations including this one, i think my fave is still lemon polenta cake.

  3. Ooh, your cake looks delicious. I too love the carrot twists on top - very creative :-)
    Angela x
    Only Crumbs Remain

    1. thank you angela. those candied carrots seemed to take ages to make but i'm glad i did it and that they turned out ok. x

  4. Lovely cake, and an inspired addition of candied carrots. I make an orange polenta cake for my guys.

  5. I love polenta cake, it is so good! Your orange cake sounds delicious

    1. thanks Lucy. I actually prefer lemon polenta cake as that is the one i usually make but it made a nice change. x

  6. looks fantastic - I have never used polenta in a cake x

    1. thanks Louise. I was worried the first time i made a polenta cake as i wasn't sure how it would turn out - now i make them all the time but usually lemon. x

  7. I have made a polenta cake before, it is quite different. I do love your candied carrots, that's a brilliant idea :)

  8. Ah here.. candied carrots!! That's just Bake Off genius right there!! Mary would have loved that!

    1. thanks Hazel. I decided to do candied carrots and then googled to see if they'd ever been done beofre and found that link so at least i had a plan to follow for that! x

  9. I love using maple syrup instead of sugar, I love the added flavours that it gives. This cake looks lovely especially the topping x #GBBOBloggers2015


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