INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-2 blood oranges (for the bottom)

  • 125g vegan butter (plus extra for greasing)

  • 250g light brown sugar

  • 175g polenta

  • 200g ground almonds

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • Zest and juice of 2 blood oranges

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Pinch of sea salt

  • 4 tbsp flaxseeds + 8 tbsp water

For the syrup:

  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp water or juice of half an orange

  • Pinch of dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and butter the bottom of a 23cm/9inch clip cake tin (if you don't have a clip tin, line the whole thing with baking paper leaving enough poking out of the top so that you can easily lift the cake out once cooked).

Prepare the oranges for the top of the cake by carefully slicing into thin rounds, remove and discard any seeds and bitter pith and arrange the slices to cover the bottom of the cake tin. Fill in any gaps with smaller cuts of orange segments. 

Prepare the flax-eggs by mixing the flaxseeds and water together in a bowl and leave for a few minutes to bind. Peel the remaining blood oranges and chop roughly. Measure all the dry ingredients and place in a blender, then add the chopped orange, vanilla, salt and flax-eggs and blitz until combined. Pour mixture in to the cake tin on top of the orange slices and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until it turns a deep golden colour.

While the cake is in the oven you can make the syrup. Pour equal parts water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat on a low - medium heat, stirring often until all of the sugar has dissolved, around 5-10 minutes.  As the syrup begins to bubble gently, add a pinch of dried thyme and stir well. Remove from heat and leave to cool. NB: I only had dried thyme in the cupboard and it worked perfectly, although I'm sure that fresh thyme would be just as, if not more satisfying. You could even crisp some up in the oven and serve along side the cake.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Unclip the sides (if using a clip tin) and slide a sharp knife or spatular underneath the cake to loosen it from the bottom. Turn the cake upside down and carefully remove the bottom of the tin to reveal those tempting blood orange rounds.

Smother with as much syrup as your sweet tooth can take and enjoy! 

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