Celebrate Christmas with our jewel-encrusted Christmas cake!

Calamondin Orange Polenta Cake 1

It’s becoming a bit of a Glut tradition to create a predictably quirky alternative Christmas cake in the office kitchen every year, and we’re really rather pleased with this one. The opposite of a traditional heavy fruit cake, our delightfully festive recipe has a syrup-drenched almond and polenta base topped with jewel-like sugared calamondin oranges and lemons. It’s quick and easy to put together, and will keep for a few days in an airtight container. Serves 8.


250g soft butter

250g caster sugar

3 medium eggs

100g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

20g ground almonds

Finely grated zest and juice of one lemon

Honey drizzle

100g orange blossom or other runny honey

80g granulated sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of one lemon

Sugared peel

Granulated sugar

5-7 Calamondin oranges, halved horizontally, pips removed

4 thin lemon slices

Preheat the oven to 180/160 fan and grease and line a 25 x 25 square tin or 25cm round cake tin with baking paper or a re-usable liner.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. If it starts to curdle, add a spoonful or two of flour and continue beating.

Add the flour, baking powder, almonds, lemon zest and juice and stir just until completely combined. Do not over- mix.

Tip the cake mixture into the lined tin and gently smooth the top. Bake for 40-45 mins until a cake tester comes out clean and the top is bouncy but firm to the touch. If the top looks as if it is starting to burn, cover the cake loosely with a sheet of foil.

While it is baking, you can make the toppings.

Mix the ingredients for the honey drizzle together in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the sugared fruits, cover the bottom of a medium saucepan with sugar 1cm deep. Add a tablespoon of water and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.

Lay the fruit out evenly in the bottom of the pan without overlapping. Gently poach it in the sugar mixture for 10-15 minutes until the fruit has softened and the mixture has thickened. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then return the pan to the stove and reheat gently. Continue heating until the fruit has turned translucent and the syrup is thick and shiny.

Remove the cake from the oven, and while it is still in the tin, use a cake tester or cocktail stick to make little holes over the top. While it is still warm, pour the syrup topping evenly over the top. Spoon the sugared fruits over the top.