Rachel Allen’s Gluten Free Orange, Chocolate, Polenta Cake

While I have no problem experimenting to find ways of adapting recipes to be gluten free it is sometimes nice  to find someone else has already done the work for and I can be sure the recipe is going to work without any trial or error.

Rachel Allen’s cook books are reassuringly user friendly while still being full of interesting recipes. A great everyday book is  her Easy Meals, this is the book to go through before you do your big weekly shop as you will definitely find plenty of inspiration for mid week dinners, thereby avoiding that dispiriting wander around the grocery store picking up and putting down random vegetables and trying to figure out yet another use for chicken breasts.

This recipe is for a gluten free Chocolate Polenta Cake which, as all good cakes should be, is as good served warm with a scoop of ice cream or cold with a  cup of tea. If you are new to gluten free baking it is also a great recipe to begin with as there is no messing around with unfamiliar gluten free flours,  just make sure that your chocolate is gluten free.


200 grams of gluten free dark chocolate

100 grams of butter

225 gams of caster sugar

5 eggs, separated

75 grams of polenta ( fine cornmeal)

grated zest of 1 orange

Butter a 10″ baking tin and line the base with baking parchment.

Preheat your oven to Gas 3, 160, 325f

Break the chocolate in to pieces and place in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Put the pan over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to melt. Once melted remove the bowl from the heat and allow the chocolate mix to cool slightly.

Whisk together the egg yolks and 150 grams of the sugar until it has increased in volume and is light in colour, this should take about 5 minutes.

Fold the cooled chocolate mix in to the egg / sugar batter.

In a clean, dry bowl whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, add in the remaining caster sugar and whisk until you have stiff, glossy peaks.

Gently fold the polenta, orange zest and egg whites in to the chocolate batter and then spoon in to the prepared tin.


Place the tin in the oven and bak for 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.



Allow the cake to rest and cool slightly in the tin before removing it from the tin and allowing to cool on a wire rack.

Serve still warm with cream or ice cream or cooled with a hot cup of tea.


Gluten Free Chocolate Cake


I have long been looking for a really good basic chocolate cake recipe that works gluten free. I have a few fancy ones with many ingredients but I wanted something that I could use for a birthday cake, something I could fill with butter cream and top with Smarties and eat a wedge of with a cold glass of milk. This recipe from the Primrose Bakery Cookbook is exactly what I was looking for, my Mum and my sister, both seasoned bakers and wedding cake makers are big fans of the recipes from this book and I have been meaning to try this for a while. I was home in Cork last weekend for my Mum’s birthday so a cake had to be made for the birthday dinner and as we have several wheat free and gluten free people in the family I took the opportunity to finally try this out.

Of course my sister Deb took my three layers of sponge and worked her considerable magic to create a towering six layer cake, sandwiched alternately with raspberry mousse and white chocolate, coated in dark chocolate ganache, decorated with white and dark chocolate. My sister knows no fear when it comes to cakes.

The recipe I am giving here is for the cake only but if anyone would like the recipe for the mousse or the ganache please let me know in the comments.

I made this as three 8 inch cakes but I think I will try it again as two 9 inch cakes sandwiched and topped with a good thick layer of chocolate buttercream. I think this cake would also be beautiful layered with cream and raspberries or strawberries.



Chocolate Cake from the Primrose Bakery: Gluten Free


230g grams 70% dark choc
170g unsalted butter, room temp
350g dark or light soft brown sugar ( the recipe called for light but I had dark and it was fine)
3 large eggs, seperated
370g Doves Farm Gluten Free self- raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powdert
1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
500ml semi-skimmed milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre heat oven to 170c /375f/gas mark 5.
• Grease and line three 20cm / 8 inch cake tins with greaseproof paper.
• Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, once fully melted set to one side to cool.
• Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy.
• Add the egg yolks to the batter one at a time and beat well.
• Pour the cooled melted chocolate in to the batter and beat until fully incorporated.
• Sift the GF flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in to a separate bowl.
• Combine the milk and vanilla in a jug.
• Add one third of the flour to the batter and mix well, pour in one third of the milk and mix.again. Repeat, alternating the remaining flour and milk.

• In a clean dry bowl whisk the egg whites to the soft peak stages and then carefully fold in to the cake mix using a metal spoon. Use one spoon of the egg whites to loosen the batter and then add the remaining egg whites in two batches, folding gently.

• Divide the batter between the three tins and bake for 30minutes, insert a skewer in to the centre of tone of the layers and if the skewer comes out clean the cake is done.
• Allow to cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.


Decorate as you wish, be as restrained or as ambitious as you like, this sponge will take it. This cake is lovely, the flavour is great and you will get great height and texture even using GF flour.