Mandarin and Thyme Polenta Cake

During the winter months mandarins are so sweet and tasty, and moist polenta cakes are such a great way to enjoy gluten-free baking.

The sacral and solar plexus chakras are predominantly stimulated in the recipe, with the hint of thyme activating the heart and brow. 

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Recipes to Enhance Your Yoga Life: Food to Balance and Invigorate Your Chakras, CICO Books



  • 3 tablespoons golden ground flaxseed 
  • ¾ cup/180ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • ½ cup/120ml rice syrup 
  • 2 cups/200g ground almonds
  • 1 cup/175g polenta
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs to decorate
  • 6 large mandarins 
  • chopped almonds, to decorate

Special equipment

  • 7 in/18cm nonstick springform cake pan


1. Place the flaxseed in a bowl with ½ cup/135ml water and leave to swell for 10 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan/180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 3. Lightly grease the cake pan with olive oil.

3. Mix the oil and three-quarters of the rice syrup together in a large mixing bowl, then beat in the flaxseed mixture. Stir in the ground almonds and fold in the polenta, baking powder, and thyme. Add the zest and juice of four of the mandarins and mix thoroughly. Add the remaining rice syrup if the mixture is too dry.

4. Transfer the mixture to the cake pan. Peel and slice the two remaining mandarins and carefully place the rounds on top of the cake.

5. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 1¼ hours. Remove the cake and cool on a wire rack. Decorate the top with thyme sprigs and chopped almonds.