Cupboard Cake

We are currently on lockdown in the UK. It’s an anxious time for everyone and we all have our different ways of coping with this nervous energy. Baking is my coping mechanism. Combine this anxiety with a need-to-be-busy and a dwindling-supply-of-food and TA-DA… This cake was born. It was very much scrambled together from whatever I had to hand but it turned out to be a pleasant, fragrant and comforting surprise.

This flourless cake has a slightly grainier texture than most sponges, but it’s delicious nonetheless. It’s also extremely simple and easy to bake! All you need is a food processor and a NEED for cake. The recipe is extremely adaptable. I’ve made the cake a few times now and have tweaked it each time depending on what I had in the cupboard/fruit bowl. I’ve found that the texture is better with fine polenta or polenta flour/cornmeal.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset


  • 2-3 x clementines
  • 2-3 x eggs
  • 125g margarine or softened butter
  • 125g sugar (plus an additional 50g of sugar or honey syrup)
  • 175g fine polenta or fine semolina (blitz beforehand in the processor to a finer texture if needed)
  • 25g-40g ground almonds (optional)
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom (6-8 pods) (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Place the clementines in a small saucepan and just cover with water. Boil for 30 minutes. Turning upside down halfway through cooking. (Keep checking on your boiling fruit – you don’t want the water to fully evaporate.) Remove from the water and set aside to cool.
  2. Grease and line a loaf tin. Preheat your oven to 160c fan.
  3. You can now reduce the water that you boiled the clementines in. Throw in your leftover cardamom husks too. (And a cinnamon stick if you are feeling fancy.) Add 50g of sugar or honey and reduce by half. You can pour this over the hot cake after baking.
  4. Halve the cooled clementines and remove any stalk and pips. Whack into a food processor and blend to a fine pulp. Then add your margarine or softened butter. Blend. Then add the rest of your ingredients to the food processor and blend until incorporated.
  5. Bake for 40 mins. Skewer the cake all over and drizzle with syrup.
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Cupboard cake made with a combination of fine polenta, semolina AND ground almonds


  • If you have coarse-textured semolina or polenta then whizz in a food processor to try and make less coarse before you begin.
  • You can use a combination of both polenta and semolina if needs be – I did and it turned out absolutely fine! You could even substitute the polenta and semolina for roughly 200g of ground almonds if that’s all you have.
Cupboard cake made with 175g fine polenta

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