The Christmas before last my friend Jodie bought me the Polpo cookbook. After about 2 minutes of looking at all of the amazing Venetian recipes I was utterly obsessed with the blood orange and campari cake. Massive negroni fan that I am, I couldn’t imagine a better combo for the perfect cake and knew I had to make it as soon as possible!
However, procrastination is my greatest skill, so a few months passed with no sign of the cake and then all of a sudden, blood orange season was over. So when blood oranges season kicked off again this year I knew I had to grab the bull by the horns, juice 8 oranges and get this cake on my coffee table.
Now it has happened, and in celebration I have made my first ever gif! (Yes, I’m massively behind the times, but cut this technophobe some slack!)
Blood oranges can be a tad hit and miss. Sometimes their flesh is a glorious dark red, sometimes mottled and sometimes just boring old orange, but my scout around Borough Market paid off and I was lucky enough to get the darkest red, most beautiful juice out of these babies.
Dark juice is exactly what you’re after here to make a glorious ruby red syrup to douse your cake with. Be brave with this syrup, the cake will soak up a lot of it. I was a bit wimpy and scared of flooding the cake, but I needn’t have worried, it could definitely have taken more. You just have to feed it very slowly and wait for the syrup to soak in before you add more. You can also whip up a cocktail with any excess syrup if you so wish, pretty sure I’m going to!
The cake itself is almond and polenta based, making it gluten free and close textured, but in a light way if that makes any sense at all! It’s similar in style to my party piece Blueberry Polenta Cake with Lavender Syrup, another dreamy gluten free cake and a massive hit with my mum! Where the blueberry cake is gorgeously sweet, this one has the bitter tang of campari cutting through it, which I think is heavenly! Go on, give it a go!
Blood Orange & Campari Cake
From Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts)
8 blood oranges
350g greek yoghurt
600g caster sugar (split in half)
4 large free-range eggs
250g unsalted butter
350g fine polenta (semolina)
100g ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 170C / 160C Fan / 340F and grease and line a 9inch round springform cake tin.
Melt the butter in a small pan and let it cool slightly while you zest 4 of the oranges.
In a large mixing bowl mix together the yoghurt, 300g of the sugar and the eggs (lightly beaten) Then stir in the cooled butter followed by the polenta, almonds and orange zest.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake it in the oven for 30 – 40 mins, until it’s light brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out fairly clean.
While the cake is cooking prepare the syrup. Juice all 8 oranges (I juiced mine through a sieve to catch the pulp and pips) and pour the juice into a middle-sized saucepan with the other 300g of sugar and the Campari. Bring to the boil and simmer until it’s fairly syrupy, skimming off any white scum as you go along. For me this took a good 20 mins.
Remove the cake from the oven and prick it all over with a toothpick, right down to the bottom. Pour over the syrup, a bit at a time until it is all (or mostly) absorbed. Serve the cake once cooled. Enjoy!