Rose and Raspberry Polenta Loaf

This moist little loaf is so pretty, I stood hovering with a knife for longer than is healthy before plunging in. Made with deliciously tasty almonds, a splash of rose (optional) and the last of this years frozen raspberry harvest, it succeeded in filling the cake tin…….temporarily. I never used to like rosewater’s soapy flavouring but I’ve grown to appreciate it if used subtly. Feel free to leave it out, or add only a few drops but it is lovely with the crunchy contrast of the lemon and pistachio sugar icing slavered obligingly on top like spilt paint.

  • 200g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 100g polenta
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 10ml or less rosewater
  • 150g frozen raspberries

Icing and Pistachio Sugar

  • Icing sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Handful of pistachios
  • Granulated sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C  and line a loaf, cake or baking tin of choice, with baking parchment.
  2. Begin by blitzing the flaked almonds in a food processor until ground. Alternatively you can just use 200g ground almonds to start with but this gives a bit more texture as you can leave them a bit chunkier than the ground packets.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  4. Add the beaten egg bit by bit, mixing in thoroughly after each addition. If it begins to curdle, add a handful of almonds but don’t worry too much.
  5. Add the rest of the almonds, polenta and baking powder and mix well.
  6. Add the rose water if using and the frozen raspberries (coated in a little flour to prevent them sinking)
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on the thickness of your mixture in the tin. Check it after 30 minutes. It should be golden and spring back to the touch.
  8. Meanwhile sieve a handful of icing sugar into a clean bowl and add a teaspoon of lemon juice at a time until you get the desired consistency. I wanted a thick icing sugar but still with a good dripping texture.
  9. To make the pistachio sugar, grind a handful of pistachio nuts in a pestle and mortar or crush in a bag with the back of a spoon until coarse.
  10. Then add about 1 tbsp of granulated sugar and grind with the pistachios.
  11. When the cake is ready, leave to cool before icing and scattering with the pistachio sugar. This can also be decorated with rose petals or pomegranate seeds too if you’re feeling very girly.


This cake is delicious served with clotted cream, creme fraiche, a glass of bubbly or alone with only a fresh peppermint tea for company.