Lemon & Poppy Seed Polenta Cake

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Naturally Nutritious Wholefood Cookbook is a recipe for healthy living with a strong emphasis on simple, economical, natural and nutritional dishes. Only organic, free-range and unprocessed ingredients are used to create easy, practical recipes for everyday cooking.

The recipes, compiled and tested by nutritional therapist Heidi du Preez and Silwood-trained chef Karen Tilney, include practical health tips and serving suggestions. No processed or synthetic ingredients are used. It also introduces lesser-known health ingredients, such as the alternative grains quinoa, millet and buckwheat. No fads, no fuss … the focus remains on simple, tasty, practical, and economical recipes. The emphasis is on attaining a healthy emotional, spiritual and nutritional balance.

Here Heidi, shares her favourite recipe with us:

“This delicious, moist and rather nourishing cake is our favourite! It is not overly sweet, but yet has a very pleasant tangy syrupy citrus bite to it. With lemons and oranges coming into season, this is the perfect cake to spoil your family or guests. A nice thick slice is the ideal lunch box treat! The bonus is that this satisfying cake keeps well for up to 3 days stored in an air-tight container.”

You Need:


2 tbsp (30 ml)  poppy seeds

2 tbsp (30 ml) purified water

1 whole medium orange, unpeeled

1 whole medium lemon, unpeeled

4 large organic or free-range eggs

1 cup (250 ml) honey or tapioca syrup

½ cup (125 ml) olive, cold-pressed sunflower or macadamia nut oil

½ cup (125 ml) purified water

1 cup (250 ml) chickpea flour

1 cup (250 ml) oat flour

½ tsp (2 ml) unrefined salt

2 tsp (10 ml)   bicarbonate of soda

1 cup (250 ml) polenta

½ cup (125 ml) finely ground almonds (optional)

1 tbsp (15 ml)  grated lemon rind



½ cup (125 ml)  freshly-squeezed lemon juice

½ cup (125 ml)  freshly-squeezed orange juice

¼ cup (60 ml) raw honey

¼ tsp (1 ml)   unrefined salt

1.    Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C.

2.    Place the seeds in a bowl and soak in the 2 tablespoons of water.

3.    Place the whole orange and lemon in a deep-sided saucepan and add 3 cups water or until halfway covered. Bring to boil.

4.    Simmer for 35 minutes or until the fruit is very soft. Drain the fruit and let it cool, saving ½ cup of the liquid. Puree the fruit and the ½ cup liquid together in a power blender or food processor.

5.    Beat the eggs until pale and fluffy. Add the honey, oil and water. Beat well.

6.    Sift the flours (except the polenta), salt and bicarbonate of soda, and fold into the egg mixture.

7.    Mix in the polenta and almonds, soaked poppy seeds, rind and pureed fruit.

8.    Pour batter into a large greased ring form pan (24 cm) and bake for 1 hour. If using 2 x 20 cm round spring form or loose bottomed tins, bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

9.    Place the syrup ingredients in a bowl and mix with a balloon whisk. Place the hot cake into a baking tray with a lip to catch the syrup that may run through the spring-form base. Prick holes in the still hot cake and pour over the syrup.

10. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, before turning out.



Gluten-free: replace the oat flour with stone-ground maize or rice flour.


Did you know?

Lemon is a valuable antibacterial food which has a prime position in the list of healing foods. It is useful for killing fungi in the mouth and throat, although its antifungal effects are limited further down the digestive tract because by then it is broken down and absorbed. There is a common misconception that lemons are acidic. In fact, they are alkaline-forming and are usually well-tolerated by most people. Oranges, which are acid-forming, often cause food sensitivity problems. Lemons are waxed to prevent deterioration while stored. If you use the rind of fruit, preferably use the rind of organic fruit that is not waxed. Stock up on lemons when in season and either freeze the freshly-squeezed lemon juice or the whole lemon, with peel and all. Simply grate the frozen lemon with peel and use in recipes.

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