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Kent Bakery or Confectionery Product of the Year 2021: Chocolate Brownie by Beardy Baker

Recipe: Orange & Rosemary Cake

Beardy Baker

In 2015, after redundancy from 10 years of cheffing, Beardy Baker was born in our home, baking cakes for a handful of local customers. Our Double Chocolate Brownies soon became a talked about must have and word of mouth turned our tiny business into a full-time job within six months. Two years in and we had expanded to a number of businesses outside of Canterbury and had to have our garden shed converted into a bakery. Exactly five years after tentatively starting Beardy Baker, we took the leap and moved into a large external unit.

As well as the brownies, Beardy Baker offers all the classic, comforting cakes and traybakes as well as some interesting and different flavour combinations. All this, plus baking cakes for weddings and fulfilling customers’ personal and sometimes unusual requests, is what keeps me challenged and creative as a baker.

Over the years Beardy Baker has gradually built up some very loyal customers on both the wholesale and retail side. Delivering twice a week to local cafés and restaurants around Canterbury and East Kent as well as to people at their homes, we are growing into the successful business we have always dreamt of.


One of our favourite cakes that our customers seem to love as much as we do is our Orange & Rosemary cake. It may seem like an unusual flavour combination for a cake but the subtle flavour from the orange, rosemary and cardamom and the moist polenta sponge are a match made in heaven. It is also both gluten and dairy free making it a firm favourite to those with dietary intolerances or to those who simply want a change from chocolate cake. We offer it to our customers as both a loaf and a traybake.

We thought we would share the recipe so that people can see how simple it is to create something tasty and different at home in their own kitchen.

Orange & Rosemary Cake

Serves 12

Cake Ingredients

Fine polenta for coating the tin

200g ground almonds

200g caster sugar

200ml olive oil

4 large eggs

grated zest of 2 large lemons

grated zest of 2 oranges

1 tsp green cardamom seeds, finely ground

4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped or ground

pinch sea salt

Orange and Rosemary Syrup

Juice of 2 large lemons

Juice of 2 oranges

1 whole orange, peeled, pith removed, segmented

4 sprigs of rosemary

100g icing sugar


Preheat the oven to 160°C/ fan 140°C/ gas mark 3. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin and then grease the paper and coat the insides with polenta.

In a large bowl beat together all the cake ingredients until they are thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the tin, spreading it evenly. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the lemon juice, orange juice, rosemary sprigs and 50g of icing sugar in a small pan and simmer gently, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the liquid has reduced by half (you can add more sugar if you want it sweeter). Remove from the heat and set aside.

When the cake is baked and removed from the oven, immediately prick all over with a skewer. Remove the rosemary sprigs from the syrup and pour two-thirds of the warm syrup over the cake, slowly, to let it absorb.

Decorate the cake with the orange slices (or rosemary sprigs) and pour over the remaining syrup.

Leave to cool in the tin to allow the syrup to soak in.

Serving suggestion: This cake is fabulous on its own with a lovely cup of tea or coffee or served with some mascarpone cream as a light dessert.