Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

September 22, 2017

© Ryan Szulc and Mike McColl

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Blood orange syrup cake

Desserts from one of Canada’s favourite pastry chefs

Cornmeal and ground almonds give this cake its structure and great texture without the use of wheat flour. Soaking the cornmeal in hot milk plumps it up, so there isn’t the coarseness you might find in a traditional cornmeal-based cake.


Prep: 20 minutes
Bake/cook: 45 minutes
Gluten free


For the cake
1 c. (250 ml) milk
½ c. (115 g) unsalted butter
1 c. (250 ml) cornmeal
1 c. (250 ml) granulated sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
2 tsp. (10 ml) finely grated blood orange zest
1 c. (250 ml) ground almonds
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder (gluten-free, if necessary)
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) salt
pinch ground cinnamon


For the syrup
½ c. (125 ml) blood orange juice (about 2 oranges)
½ c. (125 ml) granulated sugar


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan.

Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter has melted.

Place the cornmeal in a large mixing bowl and pour the milk-butter mix over it, whisking by hand as you add it (it will thicken up quickly). Whisk in the sugar and add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. Stir in the zest.

In a separate bowl, stir the ground almonds with the baking powder, salt and cinnamon, and add this to the batter, stirring until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

To make the syrup, bring the blood orange juice and sugar to a full boil over medium-high heat. While the cake is still hot from the oven, poke holes in it with a bamboo skewer and then spoon the syrup over it (the syrup will soak in quickly). Allow the cake to cool to room temperature in the pan on a cooling rack before serving. The cake will keep, in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for 3 days. Do not refrigerate. Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) cake. Serves 12.

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