Orange Cake with Marsala Mascarpone (torta di arancia con mascarpone al marsala)

A showstopping orange cake, crowned with Marsala mascarpone cream. This gluten-free, polenta-based cake recipe is best made with Italian Tarocco oranges.

From the book

Valvona & Crolla: A Year at an Italian Table by
Valvona & Crolla: A Year at an Italian Table
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200 authentic and simple recipes
Flavourful dishes using seasonal ingredients


At Valvona & Crolla, we are always asked for cakes that are gluten-free. This recipe, adapted from Claudia Roden and Nigella Lawson, is perfect. We make it with Tarocco oranges and serve it with Marsala-flavoured mascarpone to intensify the Sicilian sensation.


Oil, for greasing
6 Tarocco (blood) oranges or Seville oranges
6 large eggs
250g caster sugar
150g ground almonds
100g polenta
1 heaped tsp baking powder
For the mascarpone cream:
200g mascarpone
100g double cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp Marsala
Grated rind of 1 orange

Essential kit

You will need a 21-cm spring-form cake tin and a food processor.


Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5. Oil a 21-cm spring-form cake tin and line it with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.

Place 4 of the oranges (about 400g) in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 hour or so, until they are softened. Drain and set aside to cool.

Cut the cooled oranges in half horizontally and discard the pips. Place the fruit in a food processor and whiz to a pulp.

Beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in the almonds, polenta and baking powder. Gently mix in the orange pulp.

Cut the uncooked oranges into very thin slices. Use to line the bottom of the prepared tin.

Pour in the egg mixture and bake for about 1 hour. Cover with greaseproof paper if it browns before it is cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before turning it out.

Gently whisk the mascarpone and cream together. Add the sugar, Marsala and orange rind and whisk again. Serve with the cooled cake.

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