Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Polenta Cupcakes


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


Appears in



By Lorraine Pascale

Published 2017

  • About

Finding decent substitutes for wheat flour is a challenge, and I have come to accept that the texture of gluten-free baked goods will always be slightly different. Often used for savoury dishes, polenta has a different texture to regular flour, but when used in the right way it can make lovely moist cupcakes.


  • 220 g butter, softened
  • 220 g soft light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100 g fine polenta
  • 1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
  • zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 50 g dark chocolate chips
  • 12 mandarin or satsuma segments, pith removed


  • 12-hole cupcake tin
  • mechanical ice-cream scoop (optional)


Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/gas 4) and line the muffin tin with twelve paper cases.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together using a wooden spoon until it is light and fluffy. Once the mixture is really light, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. The mixture can sometimes look a little curdled at this stage but it will come good. Fold in the ground almonds, cocoa powder, polenta, baking powder, orange zest and juice, and then finally fold in the chocolate chips, using as few stirs as possible.

Using a large spoon or a mechanical ice-cream scoop, divide the mixture between the cupcake cases. Then place a mandarin or satsuma segment on the top of each cupcake and push it down slightly. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown. To check that they are cooked, insert a skewer into the centre of a cupcake – it should come out clean.

Once the cupcakes are baked, remove the tin from the oven and serve them warm or cold.