Monday, January 24, 2011

Clementine almond cake


Do you go through crates of clementines every winter like I do? I can't get enough of them before Christmas, and can easily eat ten a day. After Christmas, though, I find I don't care for them nearly as much. They still taste good, but they just don't call out to me the same way. Every year I buy a box in January and they hang around until I have to throw the last few away. This year I decided to make a cake with some of them, and if the batter was any indication, I'll be buying a lot more clementines. (It's still in the oven as I write this)
This is a Nigella Lawson recipe, which I found on the Food Network website, as well as on Smitten Kitchen. The recipes are the same, but the SK site has the weight measurements, and lots of good tips about baking the cake. Do you read the comments when you look up recipes? I always do, because (a) I'm nosy, and (b) I like to know what other bakers thought. It's funny that the same cake got rave reviews and people were generally enthusiastic about it on the SK site, but many on the Food Network thought it was a lot of work, and not sweet enough. Different audiences, I suppose. I thought this was an incredibly easy cake to make. 2 hours of unattended boiling for the clementines, a quick whirl in the food processor, and the rest can be mixed together by hand. I even blanched my own almonds and ground them, but that's only because I'm a nut. Actually, I have a store nearby that sells the freshest and tastiest nuts, and I'd rather use them than some flavourless, overpriced dust.
I managed to leave the cake overnight before tasting it, and it was well worth the wait. It was very moist, orangey, sweet enough, but with a very slight marmalade bitterness, and a bit crunchy from the almonds. I saw Meyer lemons on sale the other day, and I think they'd be marvelous here too. I served it with some candied orange peel, but only because I have a quart jar of it in the fridge and need to use it up. You really don't need anything but a fork.

Clementine cake
Source: Nigella Lawson via Smitten Kitchen
4 or 5 clementines (mine weighed about 400 grams, or just under a pound)
6 eggs
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (225 grams)
2⅓ cups ground almonds (250 grams), or whole, blanched almonds
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  1. Cover the clementines with cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 hours. Drain and cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 375℉. Grease an 8" springform pan and line with parchment. (I used a 9" pan)
  3. If you are beginning with whole almonds, combine them and the sugar in the food processor and process until finely ground. Add baking powder and pulse to mix. If you have purchased ground almonds, go to the next step.
  4. Cut clementines in half and remove any seeds. Add the cooked clementines, peel and all to the  food processor and process until reduced to a thick orange puree. This will only take a few seconds.
  5. Beat eggs and add almonds, sugar and baking powder. Add the clementines and mix well.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. You may need to cover the cake with foil after 30 minutes or so to prevent over-browning. I took mine out after 50 minutes, but I discovered that it was still a bit squidgy in the very centre, and I should have used the foil and left it in the oven a few more minutes.
  7. Cool in pan on rack. Unmold when cool. This cake is best made the day before, and it keeps well. You may sprinkle the top with icing sugar or make a simple icing sugar and clementine juice glaze, but it really doesn't need it. 
I have submitted this for Sweets for a Saturday. 

21 comments:

Poires au Chocolat said...

I love this recipe. I usually drizzle the top with some spiced chocolate (Green and Blacks Maya Gold) which is really delicious. I've made it with blood oranges too, though I replaced one of the boiled oranges with one peeled fresh orange to the mix when I tried that (http://www.poiresauchocolat.net/2010/03/my-version-of-nigellas-clementine-cake.html).

Marcellina said...

This recipe looks great! I think what you call clementines are similar to our mandarin. I guess any citrus would be great. I have just planted a mandarin and a lemon tree so I will have to copy this recipe!

Jennifurla said...

I loev this refreshing recipe!

A Canadian Foodie said...

OH, Mary!
YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY
This is a lovely wintry bite with an after noon tea - or coffee - or a lovely sinful bite from breakfast. I love clementines. I have never had a meyer lemon. Believe it?
I have a similar recipe for my Thermomix and the entire citrus fruit is thrown in - skin and all - and it makes an incredible batter with a very lively flavour.
:)
Valerie

Beth said...

Mary, I'm like you, I eat them like crazy before and during Christmas but after...not so much. This cake looks great. I'm actually baking now at least once a week. If you knew me you would be shocked. But it is bloggers like you that have turned me on to the whole process. I have a Meyer lemon tree in the back and you might be right I will try it with them.

Hilda said...

Hi Mary,
Thanks for your comment on my challah. I hadn't heard of The Food before.
Your blog is right up my alley. I think it's going in my bookmarks.
Hilda

Domestic Goddess Wannabe said...

Great idea, although, like you I tend to gobble up all of the clementines in the house so would need to buy some especially!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I've never baked, or tasted, clemtines but I think they would be lovely. I'm imagining they are like oranges? If so, this cake would be dreamy.

yummychunklet said...

This cake looks light and refreshing, which is nice for a cake!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Yes I buy those carts too and yes they are not as good after the holidays but I love the idea of cooking with them. A 5 ingredient cake? Nice and looks amazing!

PattiCake said...

Sounds and looks yummy. I'll have to give this a try.

Valerie said...

I'm drooling over the texture of that cake! It looks so tight and moist.
You're not the only one who reads through all the comments. It helps to learn from other's mistakes. :-D
Thanks for this recipe, I'm always looking for something to do with clementines.

Cakelaw said...

It looks delicious, and citrus cake is right up my alley.

Sweet and Savory said...

What a fabulous idea to use clementines.

lifeisfull said...

Interesting recipe! The cake looks great too.

yummychunklet said...

Hello, again! I wanted to let you know that I've awarded you a "Stylish Blogger Award" via my blog! Congrats!

Brownieville Girl said...

I really fancy a slice with a big mug of coffee .... mmmmmmmm.

Lisa said...

Oohhh, that cake looks moist and delicious. I'm loving that orange almond combo you've got going on. I have a linky party going on at my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up.

Maria Beatrix said...

I1m craving for this! Put this recipe on my list of recipes to be done. Soon!

CookingChinchillas said...

Amazingly tempting!

Roz said...

Just found your blog from googling "clementine cake". I love these little orange beauties too and am anxious to make Nigella's version this week. Thank you so much for posting it. I'm your newest follower and hope you'll stop by and follow back if you desire.