I’ve been after Natalie, our baker, to give me a cake recipe to post for a while. I was expecting her to email it over but this came through the door this morning instead:


I love that she made the effort to write it out by hand and post it through the door! It’s what I like about her food and her attitude to cooking too. She always takes her time, and goes the extra mile. All the cakes and goodies we serve during an On the Rivet retreat are handmade with love by Natalie and the little ‘victuals’ company she runs with her partner, Geoff: Bagget & Hayes. They don’t just make cakes but all the lovely nut butters and homemade preserves we serve on the breakfast table every morning.

This blood orange and pistachio cake is one of my favourites, and has an incredible texture unlike any other cake I’ve had (and I have had plenty). If you’re expecting a light and airy classic Victoria sponge, think again. The combination of grainy golden polenta and dense, nutty almond makes for a rich, sticky, slightly crumbly cake which packs a hefty citrus punch. This isn’t a cake you could slice in half and stuff with buttercream, it’s solid and substantial, and perfect eaten alone or with coffee.

Here’s the recipe in boring typed out writing, in case you can’t read Natalie’s.


Blood Orange and Pistachio cake

Makes                        8 servings

Tin Size                      20 cm sq x 6cm deep

Oven temp                150 

Gluten and dairy free


  • 250ml sunflower oil

  • 8oz/225g caster sugar

  • 3 medium eggs (organic)

  • 8oz/225g ground almonds

  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

  • 4oz/120g fine polenta

  • 1 level tsp gluten free baking powder

  • Rind of 3 blood oranges

  • 120g shelled pistachio roughly chopped


  1. Mix together oil and sugar

  2. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well

  3. Mix together almonds, polenta and baking powder

  4. Add to the egg mixture along with the  orange juice and rind

  5. Stir in ⅔ pistachios and pour into lined tin

  6. Sprinkle remaining pistachios on top and bake for approximately 35-40 mins until it springs back when pressed in the centre

  7. Leave to cool and slice.