Last year, when I made that dud of a clementine clafoutis a whole bunch of you brought Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake to my attention. But, by that point in the winter I was tired of clementines and filed it away to try the following year.
It was a long wait. When you know you want to make something but the item is out of season, it seems like its time will never arrive. Last week, I came upon an artichoke recipe that is clearly designed to blow my artichoke-loving mind but are artichokes (that you’d want to buy, not that one with a fuzzy pelt I saw last week) anywhere? Nope. And tomatoes… flavorful, non-mealy tomatoes. I can’t even think about how far off they are. It makes me weep.
Nevertheless, I suspect that each and every one of our households has adopted one or ten of these crates this winter. I think we’re on box four or five, which is kind of frightening when you realize there are just two of us. So I don’t think about it.
Part of the reason making this cake seemed like the longest wait ever is that it endlessly fascinated me — I cannot read a recipe that uses a whole citrus fruit, rind and all, and not be curious to try it. It’s led me to some wonderful things, like this unfathomably good Strawberry Sorbet, a Whole Lemon Tart, Shaker Lemon Pie and more candied peels than I can count.
In this case, you take whole clementines and boil them for two hours before grinding them up, adding some sugar, a lot of eggs, a ton of ground almonds and baking powder and that’s it: you have a cake. And because it has no butter and no flour, I figure that the Resolutions-oriented among us will appreciate it — as well as the people still waiting for an update on last year’s clementine fiasco.
One year ago: Our then-favorite chocolate chip cookie. These days, we’ve disloyal all over the place.
Two years ago: Cream Cheese Marbled Brownies
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
… Oh right, I forgot to mention that this cake was darn good. I am not going to tell you that it is my favorite cake ever. It wasn’t. But all of the things I was worried would go wrong — it would be too bitter, it would be too tough, nobody would eat it — I couldn’t have been further off about. It is ridiculously moist, not bitter and surprisingly popular at a dinner party. You know, until you tell people they’re eating a cake comprised of boiled rinds.
4 to 5 clementines (about 375grams/slightly less than 1 pound total weight)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) sugar
2 1/3 cups (250 grams) ground almonds
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
Optional: Powdered sugar for dusting, or for making a glaze
Put the clementines in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to the boil, and cook for 2 hours. Drain and, when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the seeds. Then finely chop the skins, pith, and fruit in the processor (or by hand, of course).
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Butter and line an 8-inch (21 centimeter) springform pan with parchment paper. (I used a 9-inch, it worked fine.)
Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almonds, and baking powder. Mix well, adding the chopped clementines.
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 50 minutes*, when a skewer will come out clean; you might have to cover the cake with foil after about 20 to 30 minutes to stop the top from over-browning.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool, in the pan on a rack. When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan and dust it with powdered sugar. I made a glaze of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of clementine juice because I was convinced the cake would be too bitter. It was not necessary. Nigella says the cake is best on the second day, but ours never made it that long.
Variations: Nigella says she’s also made this with an equal weight of oranges and lemons, in which case the sugar is increased to 1 1/4 cups.
* I am very unclear on the correct baking time, as you can see. Nigella’s recipe says it will 60 minutes. When I checked on it at 40 minutes (because I think you should start checking on any baked good at the 2/3 mark) it was done. Very done. Dark-brown edge-level done. And my oven runs cool. But I had made the cake in a one-inch larger pan, which made it slightly thinner. Which is all to say: Start checking at 30 minutes. Better to check too often than char your cake.
439 comments on clementine cake
Ohhh… and I was this close to buying a box of clementines last night and thought, nah, I won’t eat them all before they go bad. Guess I’ll need to make another trip to the store. :) this looks amazing!
Ooo .. okay, time to go grocery shoppping. Again. I think I’ve gone every day this week because I keep seeing things I just *have* to make. I feel like my dad and sister would love this.
*drools* seriously…. omg that looks amazing.
This looks great! Do you have any ideas for converting it to use with honeybell (somewhere between clementine and full-sized oranges with a lot of juice) oranges? My grandma just sent me TWO DOZEN of them and I’m looking for ways to use them up (other than plain old eating them or juicing them and freezing the juice).
any tips on how to grind almonds would be much appreciated…is it impossible to do without a food processor?
A Mouli mill or mouli grater. A small, handheld grater in 2 pieces. Usually used for cheese, but my mother used it for nuts. Before food processors. Gives you the fine, fluffy texture you want. Not as fine as a food processor, and more work of course. But it should work. And no chance of going to far and ending up with almond butter.
Bob’s Red Mill makes almond flour. Trader Joe’s has almond meal.
and if grinding almonds most definitely requires a food processor, is there any good substittue for the ground almonds?
Buy almond meal or almond flour.
I have a question regarding ground almonds. Should you toast them before you grind them? What is the best way to grind whole almonds?
I think you can buy ground almonds at Trader Joes. I am pretty sure, at least, that they have ground hazelnuts, so why not almonds? But chopping all that clementine stuff would probably be more pleasant with a food processor. Sigh.
Chopping: The clementines can be chopped by hand. I went for the FP because I was worried that a chunk of peel might be unpleasant. You can grind almonds in the food processor. I am sure you’ll get better flavor if you lightly toast them first. I don’t think there is a way to create almond meal/ground almonds without a food processor, however I bought mine from Bob’s Red Mill, for, like, so much more money than Amazon is charging. Most Whole Foods and other gourmet and natural stores carry Bob’s Red Mill products.
How does it get so cake-y without flour?
Ground almonds act as a flour.
My mind has been officially blown.
Yay for metric measurements, Deb! Just so you know, a teaspoon is 5 grams, so I’d estimate a heaping teaspoon to be about 6 or 7?
To those above asking about ground almonds, I just buy them at the store pre-ground… they’re labelled “almond meal”.
Also, this looks delicious…
I use my clementines in roasted beet salad all winter long. Love them!
This looks delish!
A quick clarification: 2 1/3 c. ground almonds (right?)….. not 2 1/3 c. almonds ground? If the former, approx. how much do you start with before grinding?
I always grind my nuts in a food processor and I prefer to brown them a bit first but if time is a factor, I skip it!!
This would be great for folks who can’t eat dairy. Or gluten. Or a whole host of other things that are not included in the recipe.
It looks so good!
OMG, and it’s gluten free. This is going on my list of things to try, along with the gluten free chocolate financiers that I have bookmarked. I just have to bite the bullet and buy the dang almond flour.
Oh, a question: does it have to be a springform pan? Would a regular cake pan work as well, just not be so pretty?
In a fit of desperation I used a glass deep pie plate. buttered the edge, and the bottom and lined bottom also woth parchment paper. Hat to use a knife around edge to loosen but came out beautifully.
Oh my goodness, exACTly what I was thinking one hour ago: what will I do with all these clementines? Thank you once again for reading my mind.
Very interesting! And to think, I was up to my eyeballs in clementines about a week ago….now, I have none! :(
I have to remember to bookmark this for passover!
Question about the clementines… any issue substituting with mandarins? This recipe looks like Passover perfection! Thanks
I am sure it will be just fine. I think clementines were just the most available at the time.
That reminds me of a cake that I made earlier this year, from the Australian What I cooked last night blog
. It’s humbler than this one, using one whole orange and three eggs. But really tasty! And he’s such a lovely writer.
Hi Lizzi — I immediately thought of that but baking powder! Whoops.
Nigella‘s published recipe says you can omit the baking powder!
That looks incredibly good. And so few ingredients … what else can you ask for? We ate a crate of clementines in five days last week too … but there were two adults and two children involved in the process! And I only managed to use one in baking (rosemary muffins).
Next crate of clementines, however, I will definitely have to give this a try!
wow! I am on permanent lookout for gluten free cakes, as my immediate boss is gluten free, and I love taking baking into the office (and would hate making the one person responsible for my cool work and getting paid feel left out!).
this looks like a definite winner.. I’ve seen the whole boiled citrus cakes before, but perhaps not flourless? anyway, I feel some clemintine (or blood orange, or manderine, or lime…) cupcakes coming on!
and a scour through my nigella books to see if I have just been missing this by all this time :)
I would make this if I could convince my husband to part with 4 or 5 clementines. Not bloody likely. We are going through something like a box a week now and when they are gone from the stores I will CRY.
Eeks, I have to ask people not to leave full recipes in the comment section. Unfortunately, they’re usually quite long, and don’t do as good of a job of explaining why they’re important… Discussion-wise, it’s much more helpful if you can instead a) describe how they are different (“my favorite recipe is like this except…”), b) link to the recipe somewhere on the Web or c) just told people where book/page etc. they can find the recipe.
I know this sounds fantastically bossy, but I do try to do everything in my power to keep the comment section manageable and a good read. Thanks so much.
I’m sorry that I’m just seeing your post now. On Sunday I made a fruit salad (clementines, golden pineapple, mint and cardamom) from the clems that were languishing on my counter. I never even thought of making a cake!
I’m book marking this post for the next time we’re in clementine overload.
I am a huge clementine fan, ever since tasting my first ones in France 12 years ago. I bought ever so many boxes in December and then we had to move them off the kitchen table to keep my 2yo from sitting and eating them all day long.
Suddenly they looked like they weren’t going to last much longer, so I decided to can them all! 14 pints of clementines, sans rinds, so I can’t even experiment with using them to make this. How I would love to go get some more. . . .
I don’t have a food processor, though, and my blender never seems to do the trick. Can you recommend one? One that will grind the almonds I bought in a giant bag from Sam’s Club :), one that will chop tomatoes and bell peppers for fajitas, one that will work for large amounts of food and small just as well, be worth all the effort it takes to wash it, and not cost $100. Does it exist?
The cake is beautiful; I want to make one now and I don’t even like cake. Is it spongy? I can’t imagine it would be crumbly and dry; it’s got to be more like a souffle-like texture, in which case I will love it.
You know, I never use my blender so I probably won’t be very good at recommending one. I hope others can chime in.
The texture is actually soft and incredibly moist. In fact, I found mine almost damp, which I think others loved but was one of the reasons it wasn’t my favorite. The ground almonds I used could have been finer — I did notice a piece or two.
One of the nicer things about living in California is being able to wander outside in your flip-flops and pick them right off the tree in your backyard. This looks like an excellent use of them. I’ve made so many of your recipes and never once been disappointed!
Flip-flops? Wandering into your backyard? Sob. It’s going to be 20 degrees on Friday.
Making this orange cake tomorrow…or tonight after I eat your Cuban Arroz con Pollo….which smells fantastic BTW!! Thanks for including a CAKE us gluten-free chicks can gobble…we never get cake!
oh, wow this is right on time. I’m crazy about clementines and was looking for a good recipe two weeks ago. Finally I made a variation on orange cake but it was just OK and not so exciting. This one looks gorgeous. I got to try it for this weekend. Thanks for the recipe!
Oh, a quick question…do you guys think marcona almonds would work? Just got a huge can of them from Costco today. They are roasted and lightly salted. Thoughts?
Donna–I think the marcona almonds would likely be too oily and would turn into a paste (rather than a “flour”) when you grind them.
i make a version of this with cooked oranges and lemons, but in smaller individual tins… slightly larger than cupcakes but that size would work as well! they are lovely and perfect in small portions, moist from the almond powder and the citrus fruits.
Very nice! When I saw the title and picture, it brought a big smile to my face. I cooked this recipe a few years ago:
I can’t tell you how many crates of clementines we’ve gone through this winter. I will eat 5 at a time.
My first time posting, but your blog is my favorite of all the food ones I read. Thanks! Question: is it possible to use that “real egg” substitute in this recipe? My hubby’s cholesterol test just came back this week (higher than ever), but I WANT to make this cake!! If I was more of a baker, I’d probably know the answer.
You are one of many to come upon too many oranges/clementines over the holidays. People must send fruit to encourage us to get back on the healthy train when the holidays are over! We love these flourless and butterless cakes! If we get a bushel of oranges in the mail, we’re making one.
While the glaze might not have been necessary for taste it made for an artful presentation. It looked like a cheesecake with a crust but upon reading the recipe realize it is just from the baking. I love clementines for no other reason then I love their name.
I so worded that wrong! I mean a food processor recommendation!
This looks like an absolutely DELICIOUS recipe! I can’t wait to make something with all of the clementines I just got from a friend’s tree! And no butter OR flour? Amazing!!! Thanks for always sharing such unique dishes.
Now that’s what I’m talking about! Clementines … almonds. Sounds so delicious. I’m going to make this for my parents – my dad will freak, as he’s now involuntarily gluten-free and is missing normal food. I might try it in individual fluted cake cups and see what happens. They would be so cute with a drizzle of glaze.
This sounds delicious! I always use a coffee grinder (one that I don’t use for coffee beans)to grind almonds and other nuts…you’ll have to do it in batches for this much, but it grinds them really finely.
If you don’t have a food processer or blender, clean up your coffee grinder really well (if you have one) and use that to grind the almonds at least. You might want to rough chop the almonds or start with slivered almonds to make it easier on the grinder. It may take a while, but it should work. Even a pepper mill would probably do the job. You would REALLYhave to want to make this cake to use a pepper mill though!
This cake sounds delicious and what a bonus that it’s gluten free, too. Thanks, Deb.
Oh my, my, my! I am absolutely in *love* with the whole idea of this cake! I, too, have clementine crates lying all about the house in the winter. My cat has adopted one as his favorite sleeping spot :) I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and make one of these LUSCIOUS cakes. Thank you so much for yet another to-die-for recipe and drool-worthy pictures.
Oh..btw, I clean my coffee grinder by using broken up pieces of hard dry bread.
This looks really good! I make a similar cake with oranges and cocoa – which is, rather unsurprisingly, called a jaffa cake. I find these cakes a great option if you have gluten intolerant people coming round for tea. I have to ask: do your clementines really come in those darling boxes? So sweet! We hardly find clementines in Australia, let alone packaged like that. I’d have a hard time throwing those mini-crates out.
I made this cake this weekend and I thought it turned out brilliantly. I added cocoa powder (her chocolate version of this cake is in Feast). I was surprised at how light it was for a flourless cake. I also found that I could I have blitzed the almonds a bit more to give them a finer grind.
Heh, living in Fl, we haven’t had much of a winter, this year, strawberries are already flooding the stores. And our orange tree finally fruited this season, so we haven’t bought any clementines. But this sounds yummy enough to make me buy some. I presonally am dying for cherries.
wow, that seems like a very strange recipe. Intruiging, but strange.
Yes, we too have had a box of clementines around for quite a while (that is to say that we keep replacing them with new boxes as they become empty!) This looks wonderful and different. I just might have to try it.
So I didn’t stumble upon your page today until almost EIGHT O’ CLOCK AT NIGHT, but I’m hoping you’ll wade down to the end of the comments to answer a question that’s been bugging me: When recipes ask you to line a springform pan, does that just mean the bottom, or also the sides? I wouldn’t usually need to ask, I’d just assume it’s bottom-only, but it’s springform, and for some reason springform=more elaborate in my head.
I am with Bookish Cook- this does sound strange. Eating the peels? I just may have to give it a try- we have some clementines just waiting to be used up! We’ll see if the husband can part with them.
Just the bottom. With a springform, the sides pop open so they shouldn’t be an issue. Lining the bottom helps you slide the cake out — or flip it out, over and peel it off, which I now realize this recipe doesn’t say to do. Hm, I’ll edit that in.
I thought I’d comment on the food processor posts. I have an extremely small kitchen which is insane for how much and how varied I cook. I have resisted buying a food processor because I just don’t have room for it. I did give up some space and bought a “Classic Ostereizer” blender which is a two speed model – fast and insanely fast. It has crushed and blended everything I’ve thrown in it. It came with a small food processor bowl and blade that have met all of my needs (well except for slicing veggies for gratins, etc. – but I’ve got great knife skills now!). I ground nuts in it on Sunday. Oh, and besides the basic blender vessel, and the food processor bowl, it also came with a milk shake vessel – perfect!
I love reading your blog — always something yummy!! :) This cake looks
A-MAZING. Seriously, it’s awesome how just a few ingredients turn out to be such a fantastic looking (and I’m sure tasting) cake!! This is for sure going on my list of “to-bake-soon” recipes.
as far as a substitute for the ground almonds goes, try almond meal. pre-ground and packaged. not sure who makes it but you can find it at back to the land in park slope and fairway in red hook.
Gosh! Your cake looks even better the Nigella’s. Bravo!
you can grind almonds in a coffee grinder..I do it all the time..!
I’d like to second the passover comment! You can get baking powder that’s kosher for passover, and this looks like it will be an awesome addition to my passover menu.
This sounds great. Is there any alternative to ground almonds for the nut allergic people? Could one use flour?
I have only made the recipe with ground nuts and would be nervous to make swaps with a recipe that gets all of it’s structure from the nuts. But that isn’t to say that it couldn’t work. Do let us know if you try it — I am sure others would like to hear how it comes out as well.
On an aside, I’d like to try this cake — or the idea of it — next time folded into a pound or yogurt loaf cake. I might use only two clementines, still boil and then puree them, but then use a regular cake recipe. For those of you who aren’t afraid to experiment and want to avoid using nuts, that might be a fun thing to try out.
I made this cake sometime between it’s first post and 2013 when I discovered my daughter is allergic to nuts. Did you happen to hear if anyone found a solution? I have a pile of uneaten clementines slowly losing life I’d love to not waste. Any suggestions yet? It was a delicious cake with the almonds…
I’ve never had anything like this. I’m so curious, and cannot wait to test it out. I’m positive we’ve gone through more than 5 boxes of clementines, so don’t feel bad. Besides, they’re good for you – keeps the colds away.
I also sent you an email about possibly linking to a few of your recipes for a Meyer lemon post I am putting together. I don’t know if you got it, but let me know what you think. Thanks for all the great food!
I love this idea! I just found half a box of clementines that somehow got lost in the back of my refrigerator. They’re a little too old to eat on their own but I didn’t want to throw them out. And now I won’t have to, thanks! Plus, what a delicious way to get your vitamin C.
I agree that this is a very interesting cake. I’ve made it myself and really enjoyed it. Yours turned out really lovely. It looks elegant and homey at the same time.
Prudent Homemaker – I wrote a post about small food processors just yesterday. In my opinion, the KitchenAid Food Chopper is the best small processor out there- and it got GREAT reviews. Good luck!
One has to be a bit wary of Nigella’s baking times. I made her Madeira Cake (twice!) which is supposed to bake for 60 minutes. At 55 it was way, way overdone. At 40 it was definitely over done.
I *may* try it again at a lower temperature.
ok…someone else might have commented about this already but it’s late and i don’t want to read through all the comments:
do you know a place to buy cheap alond flour/meal? at whole foods it’s about 10 bucks or so for a very small bag.
beyond that, this recipe looks fantastic and i will probably make it anyway, even with expensive almond flour. =)
Chocolate? Chocolate glaze? Chocolate frosting? Chocolate chips? Chocolate and orange … yummy.
Liz C. : You can get ground almond meal at TJ’s for really cheap!
Thank you for pointing out I can use the bagged almond stuff. I splurged on a bag for a recipe a few months ago that I did not enjoy and was kicking myself, wondering what to do with the rest of the stuff. I hear it calling for the clementines on the table! Now if I only had a springform pan…
No no no!!! I think the artichokes you’re saying “have a fuzzy pelt” are called Frost-kissed and they are AMAZING! My best friend sells produce and he gave me several last season. They LOOK like there’s something wrong with them but they are SO wonderful! Very “meaty” and they have huge hearts. Buy them! Seriously.
I made this and while it was delicious I was decidedly nonplussed about the flavour, it’s wasn’t clementiney enough I think or maybe it was and it was something else but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it!!!
I totally know what you mean about out of season stuff…but it best to wait for the season to come around again! I sent my husband to the store this weekend to get whatever he wanted for dinner – something I never do, or will ever do again…anyway he returned with some tomatoes. They were a dull pinky red and super firm. I cut into one – it was this white, translucent mush inside. I didn’t even want to but it into the compost! This clementine cake looks delicious and a great way to use them.
Using whole clementines? I think I need to go to the stores and see if they have any left.I just have to try this recipe!
This looks just delicious! I made a whole orange cake this weekend. Clementines are not in season here right now. I love citrus cakes and I am sure this would fit the bill!!
For those who do not want to invest in a full size food processor you should look at the 4 cup Cuisinart mini that sells for 40-50 dollars.
I have made something similar with oranges (recipe by Donna Hay) but the recipe called for butter. This is intriguing, Deb – gotta try it!
Do you think that ground walnuts could be subbed for ground almonds? Here in Romania, even whole almonds are hard to find, but walnuts are abundant. We even have special little nut grinders (like a mini hand-cranked meat grinder) because so many local specialties call for ground walnuts. Thanks, I’m hoping I can try a modified version of the cake!
Lia — It was mold.
Nut substitution questions: I have only made this cake with almonds, as you see above. However, if you try it with another nut, do let us know how it goes. It sounds like a lot of people are curious.
I am so sad that the clementines are pretty much out of season. Half of the last crate we got was mushy.
I tried making this same cake several years ago by grounding my own almonds – in a mini chopper. Not the best idea, in hindsight, as the texture was a bit, um, coarse. But you’ve inspired me to try again, especially since I have some almond meal in the cupboard left over from a failed macaron baking attempt!
Deb, it’s -20 degrees here in Minnesota right now, enjoy your 20 above!
Hi! I find your blog and your clementine cake…
Some days ago I cooked a cake not so different from this. It is called “torta al succo di mandarini e olio d’oliva” (I’m italian) whit clementine juice and olive oil.
This is the link:
I actually made this a couple of years ago, and had completely forgotten about it. Thanks so much for the reminder! I recall it being exceptionally moist…to the point of nearly gooey if you leave it around for a couple of days. But right out of the oven it is fantastic.
And me with a basket full of clementines. The photos look delightful, and I love any and all recipes that use the whole fruit. Getting the rind in there adds so much punchy flavor.
I’ve been a bit clementine obsessed around here too. I’ve been cooking up all sorts of ways of sneaking them into baked goods. My big success so far has been clementine and blueberry scones with pistachio. mmmmm.
This one is going in my “to try” file.
My girlfriend just made a “no more cakes” decree, which made me very sad, but maybe I can get her to make an exception for this one since the only bad thing in it is the sugar.
The clementines are cooking on my stove right now – and the smell is just delicious! Thank you so much for a recipe where I can use both my left over almonds from christmas baking and clementines.
I can confirm that it was really good. I was at the dinenr party. Mmmmm
You’re right… this is quite an interesting cake. It’s the sort of recipe that would have grabbed me too. It’s amazing how it all comes together in a gorgeous looking cake. So pretty!
Yay, a naturally gluten-free cake. Cannot wait to try this! Thanks, Deb.
This looks really good, but do you think I could use Satsuma mandarins instead? This is what we get at our farmers market, & while we can get clemintines there too, the Satsumas are better and organic. They’re easily as sweet as the Mandarins you picture, sometimes sweeter, but the rind is definitely different. Maybe I’ll try & let you know if it’s a disaster or not…Also, can’t wait for the artichoke recipe. We’re in CA, and what with global warming et. al. the garden/farms are thinking its spring. Which is sort of messing with the seasonal goodness of winter. Case in point: we actually have some artichokes (naricssus (not to eat))in the market. Not the best they’ll be, but pretty good. I’m definitely feeling disoriented.
I have to make this. Despite the fact that I left my springform pan in my boyfriend’s old apartment and his cousin and girlfriend have seized control of it.
I’m hoping the cake is not so delicate that I can’t flip it out of a regular pan? Thoughts?
Wow – that is a beauty. My mini food processor gave out years ago (after a long and useful life), and I’ve never replaced it. Must get a new one soon, if for no other reason than to make this cake. On that note: “Finely chop [the clementines] in the processor (or by hand, of course).” Ha Ha Hoo Hoo! Ohhhh, that’s a good one. You make me laugh, Deb. Could it be done? Maybe. Will I be the one to do it? Um, no. ;)
I’ve made a version of this before – very yummy… intensely citrus-y and moist. I ended up toasting slices of it for breakfast, and it was amazing. So I recommend it that way, strange as it sounds, toasted like bread. Yum!
Longtime reader (since back in your smitten days!), but I’ve never commented before. Not sure why? I just had to say how happy I was to read your byline last night in MSL for your cupcake article! It made my night! Go Deb! Great work, as usual. I love your blog and have tried countless recipes I’ve found here. Keep it up!
this looks fantastic! i would like to make it for a friend that has severe food and gluten allergies but this might just be ok for her. i have three questions:
1- can you use an vegan egg substitute instead of eggs? if so, which brand do you reccomend?
2- is regular baking powder gluten free?
3- is almond meal simply finely ground almonds?
This is really gorgeous, and so unique! I love clementines, but I never think to bake with them.
Hi Emily — Thanks! Just grabbed the mag today on the newsstand. I was there for the photoshoot so it was really fun to see what a set up they have… you know, as opposed to my smears, crumbs and all approach. Heh.
Leah — I have never used a egg substitute so cannot vouch for them. However, I might be wary to swap out ingredients in a cake with only five of them! I also cannot vouch for the gluten in products — there are many better sites out there for advice — but understand it to be, as it is can be made at home with cream of tartar, cornstarch and baking soda, which I believe are all okay. (I am sure I’ll be corrected in about 10 seconds if I’m wrong!) Almond meal is finely ground almonds.
I’ve made this cake twice from the Joy of Baking website and simply love it: the fragrance of the cooking clementines alone should be incentive enough. The danger of bitterness arising from the pulverized peel is a very real one, though, and probably varies according to the kinds of clementines used. One way round this is to ditch the peel of a single clementine after cooking but before pulverization. The flecks of dark orange peel look beautiful in the baked cake and give it texture. It IS a very damp cake. Next time I make it, I’ll also try adding a bit of flour for more robustness, along the lines of the version shown here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/dec/06/puddings-christmas-recipes-desserts
I tried out this recipe last nite! Thanks for the posting of it. To all those who do not have a food processor etc…
1. I used store bought almond meal and measured it in grams instead of cups.
2. I cooked the clementines as directed and after cooled, hand chopped them with a really sharp knife as fine as I could.
3. made a glaze using lemon juice instead of clementine juice for extra tartness.
It came out really good! And I agree with Deb, cooking time for this is around 40mins. I did it for that long and the outside looked really done, but the inside was super moist!!! Almost too moist so the next time maybe I’ll cook it for 5 more extra to dry it out a bit.
This looks like some kind of crazy science experiment that you can actually EAT the results of! I can’t quite wrap my head around how this works but I’m excited to try!
Deb, oranges are all very well and good but I hear tell you baked a sweet and salty cake…something about salt caramel and ganache. Please, hold out no more. I must have details. Really, I must!
Deb, let me first say how grateful I am to have stumbled upon your website. I’ve recently moved in with my girlfriend (a big deal), and finding myself jobless I have taken it upon myself to be the best ‘housewife’ I can be. She’s a vegetarian, and since it’s her place, my serious appreciation for meat has had to take a back seat. Your smitten kitchen has come to the rescue – thank you!
Right now I’m in the midst of preparing this mind boggling cake for a soiree of desserts and board games. This might seem like a blatantly obvious question, but on my box of Clementines from Stop & Shop via Spain, three pesticides are listed as used. Orthophenylpnenol, thiabendazole and imazalil. Is this the reason for boiling them for 2 hours? Normally I discard the peel, therefore I figure I’m discarding the bulk of the pesticides as well. If this cake goes down well I’ll probably want to make more, but without the headache of cancer and birth defects. Your thoughts? Thanks once again.
I tried a very similar recipe out a few months ago here
It is sooo good!!
I highly recommend a Cuisinart food processor. No, it’s not under $100 but it is so worth it. It will change your life just like a KitchenAid standing mixer. Keep an eye out at Amazon or Cooking.com. Or ask for it for your birthday like I did!
Also, Trader Joe’s has the almond meal for sale, and it’s not that expensive.
came home to find a box of clementines on the kitchen table… I will definitely be making this tomorrow.
For those interested: I just bought a 1 lb bag of almond meal for $2.99 (or $2.29, I can’t remember).
er duh, meant to say at trader joes
Hi Avi — What a bummer. Glad you’re trying to make the best of it. The reason you boil them for two hours is to remove the bitterness from the peels. When you candy orange or other citrus peels, they’re usually boiled in plain water two or three times before they’re candied, again, to get some of the bitterness out. The same idea is used in this recipe.
Pulled this bad boy out of the oven about 15 minutes ago. This is, by far, the most unusual cake I have ever made! I threw a bunch of mini chocolate chips on top of the cake after it came out of the oven, and they melted into a lovely chocolate layer that hardened as it cooled.
We cut it and inspected it and ate it. VERY moist. Tasty as well, and not at all weird in that gluten-free way…probably because it doesn’t have gluten-free flour in it. Both boys said “YUM!”, but they are certainly not picky and will eat almost anything covered in chocolate.
Baked exactly 40 minutes….20, then turn, then 20 more. Browned beautifully without covering with foil…looks really pretty. Maybe could have baked a minute or two longer as the center is very moist. May set up a little as it cools longer…if it makes it that long.
Thanks for the interesting experiment Deb!
I’d like to make this cake but was wondering about the sugar. Does the sugar serve to add structure and lift for the cake or is it merely a sweetening agent? I’d like to use a Splenda 50/50 blend or all granular Splenda, which is used for baking but doesn’t add much in creating lift.
Deb, thank you so much for reminding me about this recipe. I made it a couple of years ago, and it was very well-received. I don’t recall adding the glaze, though. I think that would make things even better, adding that little extra dimension that would really set it off.
Lots of European recipes include at least some ground nuts in baking, so this one just takes it a step farther, and better in my opinion. The nuts act like flour in baking, absorbing moisture and providing the structure. I didn’t taste the cake I made as I don’t eat sugar, but who can argue with the nutrition? I’m definitely going to try to make a no-refined-sugar version somehow this year. We have half a box of clementines and three grapefruits, and my sister just sent us 12 pounds of honeybells, and there are just 2 of us, so guess where the clementines are going?
I have to say, I bought Trader Joe’s ground almonds a while back, and they were pretty flavorless. Does the almond flavor really stand out in this recipe? I think I’ll try grinding my own this time, and probably toasting them first to bring out the flavor before the cake even gets baked. If anyone tries that, please let us know how it works!!!
I am a total Nigella fan and was just eating a vegetarian version of her shrimp and black rice with Vietnamese dressing earlier today! I haven’t tried this cake yet but it sounds like a great winter treat that I can actually share with my GF friend.
I love Nigella and this is the perfect winter treat to share with my Stitch n Bitch group. I especially love that there’s no flour in it so I can serve it to pretty much anyone!
I had half a sac of rapidly-drying clementines in the fridge, so this recipe was perfectly timed! Made it tonight and am currently munching my way through a second huge piece – it’s light but sweet and moist and very delicious. I added a little vanilla extract because i am incapable of NOT adding vanilla to baked goods, and i think it brought together the citrus and almond flavours very nicely. A dusting of powdered sugar on the top makes this a very pretty cake, even if you happen to slightly over-brown the top and edges as i did (oops). Thank you for sharing this recipe with us!
PS: I plan to make this again as a desert for Chinese New Year later this month!
Wondering how long it would take to do the clems in my pressure cooker???
I would not recommend using a pressure cooker. The idea of the boiling is not to make them soft, but to remove much of the bitterness from the peels.
A note on splurging on a Cuisinart…mine is a hand-me-down from my sister and although it’s missing some parts, and looking a little sad, is about 25 years old (really, from the mid 80’s) and still going strong!
This cake reminds me of another great recipe that uses the whole fruit, including the rind:
If you don’t slice the lemons thin enough, you do end up with some unappealing (sorry for the pun) chunks of rind. I haven’t tried to puree them; that might be a good solution, although it may take away from the charm that the description gives of the Shakers using the whole fruit because of frugality, but then again, they didn’t have food processors.
Just read your whole note on this cake, and saw your reference to Shaker Lemon Pie, sorry for the repetition.
Oh man… this is a perfect treat for the cast of the show I’m working on right now. We’ve all been downing clementines by the box full every day – this would shake up the norm quite a bit, I think.
This looks soooooo good, but I’m saving it for later. I’m wondering though… do you take requests? I’ve been waiting YEARS for a good buttermilk pie recipe. Pretty please?
I’m STILL having a hard time wrapping my mind around this one. But it looks so good… but sounds so strange. But looks SOOO GOOD!
Hmm. HEB here I come.
Just wanted to add, for all the people looking for a nut subsitute, that my mum made this cake for her nut-allergic, citrus-allergic mother’s birthday using semolina and pureed, poached dried apricots, and it worked out great. Why she just didn’t choose another recipe is a whole other story, but there you go.
For those who avoid sugar (or who are trying to hang on to New Year’s resolutions), I made this cake last night with 3/4 C agave instead of the sugar. I had to bump up the almond flour to 2 2/3 C to compensate for the added moisture, but it turned out wonderfully. Moist, not-too-sweet, and a great gluten-free sugar-free treat!
I made this yesterday and the clementines smelled wonderful. I was disappointed in the cake though. I didn’t care for the texture or something. I can’t really pinpoint what it is I don’t like about it. Maybe I didn’t get the almonds ground finely enough.
Wow, what a unique idea. I’ve never heard of Clementine Cake before. It looks beautiful!
I think it was a wise move to check on the progress of the cake, it is such a disappointment when one is overcooked. It looks delicious :)
I remember last year’s disaster and I’m glad this season of clementine baking has treated you better. I seem to peel and devour clementines before I can even think of baking them into anything.
Ditto comment #129- didn’t care for the texture of the cake, because I ground the almonds myself probably. I might like almond meal better if it’s more finely ground. I made the cake last night with 2 large oranges that I boiled for 2 hours. Husband likes it better than I do–for me it’s just OK.
Has anyone tried this with meyer lemons? Does it seem like a reasonable or good substitution? I have a tree in my yard that is hung over with ripe fruit (yes I live in CA) and would love to use some of it on a delectable cake like this!
This is a very interesting recipe. Too bad, because I’m not sure that I’m ready to venture into the world of citrus fruit rind again after the less than warm reception my Shaker Lemon tart got… maybe next year.
Made 3 or 4 of these last Christmas, and co-workers went through them in nothing flat. Tried the cake with walnuts, too bitter; with pecans, too oily. I wouldn’t use salted nuts, either. Had best luck with sliced almonds, which ground perfectly in the FP. May seem like a peculiar cake, but it will remain moist far longer than the average flour-based cake. Even picky people liked it, though I refrained from mentioning that the clementine peelings were ground into it.
Re, the texture of the cake: I wholly agree. This is why in the recipe notes I did admit that this hadn’t been my favorite cake on the site. It was the texture (and I use store bought ground almonds, but they weren’t as smooth as I had hoped) — because there’s so little to bind it, the texture of the almonds is very noticeable. I almost wanted some flour to make it taste more cohesive.
As I mentioned in a much earlier comment (#64) that I’d love to use this idea in a pound cake or yogurt loaf “setting”. Would probably only need one or two of the clementines ground up, and a couple additional tablespoons of flour to compensate for the moisture. I hope to get to this adaptation soon!
That’s exactly what it was missing…cohesiveness. It would be worth another try, if you could work it out. I did like the flavor a lot.
Once, when I was very young, a neighbor made these little breakfast cakes that tasted of oranges. I have never had anything like them since but I think of them often. apparently, hers were out of a supermarket or something.
This will more than likely fill that niche.
Re: Avi and the pesticide question. Avi – You are correct that most of the pesticides are concentrated in the peel of clementines, and that you should try and avoid them. In the future, when cooking with peels from citrus, splurge on the organic ones. As for this recipe, if you’re adverse to cooking the peels, I’d boil an extra clementine or two and just discard the peels. It probably won’t have the same consistency as using the peels, but it’s definitely an option.
So I went out and made one of these right away, but …is tasted pretty bad. When cooking the clementines I got the scent of cooked straw ( i know this smell because of paper making ) I got this same smell when I made your orange candy rinds as well. Anyways it tasted like straw ….I followed it right, and I connsider myself a fair cook / baker …any idea what went wrong ? Do you normally get a straw sent out it to ?
Sorry it wasn’t something you liked. I have definitely not smelled straw before, but there is a different scent to the citrus fruits as they boil.
I am making this cake right now…with fingers crossed. I had to use a ten inch pan and since this is just a test I threw in a handful of dark chocolate mini chunks. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.
I made this cake tonight using a standard 9″ round cake pan, buttered parchment on the bottom, baked for 40 minutes. It came out as described, firm & moist. Based on some of the comments I added 2 tblsp of whole wheat flour to the ground almonds. One note regarding measuring the almonds for grinding. I measured out 2 1/3 cups of whole almonds (which I toasted, I can’t say that it made any difference) then ground them in my wee coffee grinder. Once ground I measured out 2 1/3 cups of almond meal & found that I had a significant amount left over. So, whole almonds take up more space than ground almonds.
What an unusual cake! I love clementines so I’ll have to try it!
This is fantastic! You should try making the cake with seville oranges, it’s a popular variation in Aus :)
Wild guess, Samantha, but perhaps the fruit smelled of straw because it was originally packed in straw? I wash fruit with soap and water anyway before cooking to get rid of what lingering chemicals I can. Might be worth a try. Obvious point but it’s also always worth tasting the fruit you’re about to cook before you cook it. I’ve had everything from bland and insipid clementines to stunningly delicious ones.
What a beautiful and delicious looking recipe! I love this clementine season. I could live just eating them but hadn’t heard of any baking recipes using them. Thanks for a great recipe again, and stop by to see my Scandinavian cooking sometimes!
If you enjoyed this then the chocolate orange cake in Feast is also great and always gets demolished pretty quickly. Same idea as this just orange instead of clementine and cocoa powder. I have cooked both the clementines and the orange in a bowl of water in the microwave and it seems to work just fine with no bitterness, just start with a couple of minutes and keep going until they are thoroughly softened.
I just discovered your site recently and absolutely love it!! I’ll be honest, my love for cooking and photography is what drew me to your site! You have the perfect combo! This clementine cake looks delicious, having just moved from FL to ATL, this recipe makes me think of home…can’t wait to try it!
Re: the texture of the ground almonds. Some years ago I wanted to make a hazelnut torte, nearly flourless, with lots of ground toasted hazelnuts. I’m pretty sure it would be nearly impossible to find ground toasted hazelnuts, so when I searched my kitchen for alternate means of grinding, I found my old Mouli cheese grater, similar to some on Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/8q2rub). It did take a long time to process all I needed, and I did have to pick out a few larger pieces, but the grater produced a fluffy meal, not an oily paste, and it was perfect! Now if I could only find that recipe again, I would be so happy.
Thank you so much for this recipe, Deb. My whole house absolutely loves it. I also thought the texture was a little off-but as long as you aren’t expecting a cake texture, it’s not disappointing, just a thing of it’s own. I compensated for that texture by slicing the cake into thin slices like bread and toasting them under the broiler-incredible!
I love your website because all of your recipes come pre-tried and true, and sometimes, I just need that in my life.
Thank you for the beautiful cake recipe. Mine turned out perfectly the first time (except somehow I had to leave it in the oven for over an hour)! And I don’t feel guilty that half of it is already gone! I love your blog.
Stacey, thank you so much for the agave hint! I was going to make this for folks at work with the sugar in it, but now it’s all MINE!!!!!!! (gee, does that defeat the purpose of the whole avoiding-sugar thing? oh, well…)
That cake looks really good. I like how few ingredients there are.
Thanks again for a great recipe, Deb. I made this just this morning for a lunch with my in-laws. I added almost 3T of cake flour, 1 t. vanilla and 1/2 t. salt. I was surprised there was no salt in the original recipe. I boiled the clementines the night before and refrigerated them whole. I baked the cake for about 50 minutes and, when cooled, topped with some powdered sugar (no glaze). It was a huge hit with everyone and some went back for seconds. It’s no Devil Dog cake, but it was delicious. And a great use of five clementines from the box I have in the fridge. Make this and enjoy!
i received a bunch of homegrown tangerines and put five of them to good use with this recipe (only another 18 to go!). i made cupcakes and they turned out well. even non-tangerine loving hubby liked them. baked them for about 30-35 minutes, yielded 24, dusted with powdered sugar.
Thank you so much for this recipe. I baked it with the poor lonely clementines that weren’t getting eaten. It was a hit that was enjoyed by all.
Just made the cake, myself, after having looked forward to doing so since reading the recipe. Baked mine for 30 minutes, and the tester came out clean. It turned out not to be done, in fact, with the top middle still being too soft and moist to resemble cake yet. Probably my own fault, since I thought on putting the cake in that I should let the oven truly get to temperature for another five to ten minutes rather than relying on the oven’s own beeping avowal that it was done preheating; I’ve generally found it’s always better to let it be at temperature for a while before using, but the recipe had me too eager!
I did do the powdered sugar glaze, for the pretty, and liked that for the slight bit of textural difference it added, too. Now I’m thinking a harder glaze might truly help give a little contrast, though I’d reduce the sugar in the cake itself.
Thanks for the recipe! Love reading what you write.
I promised I would make this cake and did tonight (honestly, I was in the mood for something sweet and had all the ingredients). It’s great – very aromatic and surprisingly light, with a really nice texture. I had thought a cream cheese icing would be good, but now think it would make it too sweet. Also, I used an 8-inch spring form pan and the cake took exactly 50 minutes to bake through, although I began checking it at 30 minutes (also covered it with foil then). I was a little short on ground almonds – had about 2 cups – so used 1/3 cup almond paste to make up for that. It didn’t seem to make any difference taste-wise or texturally. Thanks for passing on this unique recipe!
Just made this cake this morning. I used toasted ground walnuts because I am allergic to almonds. First batch of walnuts I ground too much and now have walnut butter! Anyway this cake is very good.I used a 9 inch spring form pan in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Perfectly baked. Will add an icing because there is a little bitter after taste from the clementine rinds.
Made it! What a weird one! I added in a few tablespoons of flour and some vanilla. I have a 9 inch pan so I used 5 clementines. The texture is really odd for sure. It’s good… it’s just not cake like, it’s really wet and heavy. Oh… and I had to bake it for well over an hour. I am working with a small oven in an Airstream trailer so it is goofy no matter what I am cooking. We dusted it with powdered sugar and then drizzled a wee bit of dark chocolate sauce over that. My boyfriend announced that he could eat the whole thing in one sitting so I guess that means it was worth the effort. I can see where the texture would be a turn off for some peeps though.
I just pulled my cake out of the oven; using three tangelos (freshly picked from my sister’s tree yesterday) in place of clementines (polished off my box a while ago). I can’t wait to taste the final product!
Has anyone else tried this with lemons? I’d like that a go as I will have lemons from my own tree.
Thanks for the great cake!
I made this yesterday and my dad came up with the idea of adding grand marnier to it. That sounded like an excellent idea to me. What do you all think?
I just made this again last week. One of my wintertime standbys. I love it!
I made this and just thought it was… strange.
However, I hand-chopped the almonds into tiny pieces, because of my lack of a food processor. The cake’s texture was gritty. I may be trying this recipe again! The flavor was great!
Made this yesterday for a gluten-free birthday party and thought it was great. I actually made two in smaller springforms and dusted powedered sugar on one and chocolate shavings on the other. They were delicious, but I would definitely bake them a tad longer next time. One cake was very wet, delicious, but wet. I was also thinking about adding a 1/2 cup of rice flour to firm it up a bit, but will first just try baking it longer next time. Thanks for the recipe and great site!!
I think I will bake this cake for my husband. I will tell him that I am baking it in honor of the woman he loves the most in the whole wide world. When he learns its name he will understand. You don’t often find a name with your name on it!
I just made this. It’s cooling on a wire rack right now. I can’t wait to have a piece tomorrow.
Made this cake yesterday, and I have several comments. My cake took about 45 min. to bake, and it was still quite moist (particularly in the center). I was afraid of overbaking it as it was very brown on top and sides. I used an 8-inch non-stick springform pan, and papered the (pre-greased) pan bottom w/parchment paper. Then greased the paper top and sides again. No sticking issues! I used a NEW oven thermometer, and checked for 375 degrees accuracy on my oven. Perhaps 50 min. would have been better than 45 min.– in hindsight. I tasted the cake last night (meh), and again this AM (less on the meh). While Nigella herself says that the Clementine cake tastes best the second day, I’m not sure that it has enough sugar in it for us. You could taste the clementines in the cake, however. The citrus fruits alone were def. sweet enough, as I sampled one before baking the cake. My husband commented today that it was a moist cake, but that was the end of his observation. That it is — quite moist. No choruses of ‘wow’ I would add. Very honestly, while this particular recipe originated with Nigella Lawson, I much prefer Alice Water’s Almond Cake (recipe for that is at Leite’s Culinararia website). No almonds to grind finely, sweeter, and more lovely texture. No problems concerning how long to bake the cake either. Straightforward. If this Clementine cake recipe were tweaked for sweetness and moisture issues, I might have liked it better. Confectioner’s sugar helped it only minimally. Deb’s Mushroom Bourguignon was the better of the two recipes which I made yesterday. THAT was a keeper! Thanks, Deb.
WOW. I was wondering what i was supposed to do with all these citrus out-croppings.
This sounds super intriguing to me, not least because I’ve recently been pondering making some kind of clementiney dessert. If I don’t wuss out and buy ground almonds elsewhere, I might just bust out the cheese grater and try Tres Amie’s suggestion. And just because I can’t resist the temptation to mess with a recipe before I make it, I’m wondering whether it would be possible to augment this with a little ricotta. I’m figuring that might improve the texture a bit (and taste good too). I’m also thinking it could use some booze (of course), but I’m undecided about which…any thoughts from the peanut gallery?
Are the almonds ground with skins on or off?
I made this last night, and I really really really wanted to douse it with a mixture of lemon juice, rose water and sugar water (a la middle eastern dessert) to give it more flavor. The tangerines smelled amazing in the food processer, but not much of that orangey flavor seemed to come through in the finished product. I knew it was going to be super moist, so I tried to counteract that by adding 1 tablespoon of flour and baking it for longer than humanly necessary. It turned a nice crispy brown on the outside, which I usually abhor in a sweet baked good, but it only seemed to add to the cake. I drizzled my piece of cake with honey, which helped some. Overall, I wouldn’t make it again, but it’s not bad.
172: Traditionally with the skins off, but you can do it either way. It might change the appearance a bit, and could possibly make it the tiniest of twinges more bitter, but I wouldn’t really worry about either thing.
My husband and I have gone through a few boxes of these little treasures ourselvesl!! Thank goodness Sam’s keeps them in stock. This recipe looks great!!
I made this cake last month, seduced by Nigella on Food Network. I really loved it, Hubby not so much, he didn’t care for the texture of the ground almonds. Next time we make it I’ll grind them finer. I thought it did taste better the next day – more dense.
I know this is a super late comment, but I tried making this with lemons, following the directions to increase the sugar, and it was HORRIBLE. Like deadly bad. Don’t do it! I have a funny feeling Nigella didn’t actually bake it with the lemons, but maybe did a little guess work about the substitution because it was very, very bitter.
Another late comment, but hey. I made this with 3 clementines and 3 small Meyer lemons (from my brother’s tree!). I didn’t change the sugar, because Meyers aren’t that sour. Also my almonds had skins on. I think this is delicious. I will probably make it every so often, and mess around with it (use hazelnuts, chocolate, etc.). Thanks very much!
I picked up a tip from Bakewise by Shirley Corriher – to grind nuts really fine for something like this, put the sugar (or part of it) in the food processor with them, and you can always use a sieve and re-process the larger bits. The ground almonds I had were pretty chunky, so I did this – it seems to have worked really well.
Made it, served it, loved it, making it again this weekend as a pineapple upside down cake. It does brown aggressively around the sides so I’m going to try 350 instead of 375.
Baked this cake and it was awesome! Only thing I will try to do next time is get the almont bits more finely ground. It was kinda crunchy.
This looks absolutely amazing!! My mouth is watering just looking at it. I never thought that anything with so much rind could turn out looking so good, I can almost taste it. I must try this one. Thank you!!
Do you think that you could boil and process the clementines, and then freeze them? That way you could enjoy this treat another time, when clementines are out of season…
I baked this last night, and it took nearly a full hour in order for a tester to come out clean. Next time (and there WILL be a next time!), I may line the sides of the pan with strips of parchment paper as well.
Baked this tonight in a double batch — 1 in 8″ springform and 1 in 9″ springform. I have 100 Meyer lemons to use (poor me!) so I used all Meyers, and increased the sugar to 1 3/4 c. per cake. I tasted the batter and was sad the boiling took away some of the fragrance of the Meyers, so I added in the zest of 2 more Meyers before putting in pans to bake. The 9″ was done around 50 minutes (perfect), the 8″ went in for a full 60 minutes.
The good: They smell amazing. The crumbs (no slices yet) are moist, delicious, and fragrant. The flavor is a combination of good marmalade with the lemony of Meyers (probably due to the zest). I enjoy the texture, which is very similar to other ground almond cakes I’ve made (which strangely always come from British cooks, e.g. Jamie Oliver — probably because they work so well for Tea).
The not-so-good: Well, first that a double cake meant $20 of almonds. One cake would have been $10 still. Not-so-good. At least the 14 Meyer lemons were free (from my labmate’s backyard). Also, this cake is sticky! It probably has to do with the extra sugar I put in to combat the lemons, and I probably should have put in less (it’s def not bitter), but it also just might be this type of cake. As a result, while the 9″ turned out fine (beautiful golden on all sides), the 8″ adhered to the sides of the springform and ripped way huge amounts when I undid it. Next time I think I’ll line the sides of the pan with parchment.
The end result: I think this cake is a great use for Meyers, and probably a great use for clementines as well. It is certainly has to be far better than Bittman’s *terrible* clementine clafouti which I, too, made last year to great disappointment. The next time I would use Meyers again but line the sides of the pan, use Baker’s Secret instead of butter, and decrease sugar to 1 and 1/3 c sugar. Thanks Deb!
I made this cake this weekend because it really intrigued me – and I love Nigella! It was delicious, although not what I was expecting. It seems kind of muffin-like to me. Mine took 40 minutes also – glad I checked!
My friend had a good suggestion for all of the left-over clementines. Clementine martinis! I will be making those soon!
This cake got RAVE reviews at a dinner party on Saturday; there was one tiny slice left. I purchased almond meal at Whole Foods. The 6 oz. container was $5, and was exactly 2 1/3 cups. I’m going to try to freeze the puree and see whether that works; I’d love to be able to make this year ’round.
I have to say, this is one wonderful cake. I think it’s mis-named, though, because it’s not cakey at all. I do not own an 8″ springform, so made it in an 8″ loose-bottomed pan, with sides maybe 1 1/4″ high, so I couldn’t fit the whole recipe in it. I had to bake the rest in small creme brulee dishes. The cake wouldn’t release from those, because I was to lazy to line them, but released from the 8″ wonderfully. I ground the almonds with about 1/3 cup of Splenda so they wouldn’t turn oily, then used the 3/4 cup of agave that was recommended earlier. I also added a few drops each of almond extract, orange extract, and vanilla extract. The smell while it was baking was amazing, and everyone at work loved it. I wil absolutely make this one again. Thanks again for reminding me of this recipe!!
I just made this as a cupcake! http://the-cooking-of-joy.blogspot.com/2009/01/clementine-cupcakes.html
My house is full of mandrine oranges due to chinese new year and I came across your site and saw this , totally amazing !! making a cake without flour (at least to me,its new :))
I plan to do this this few days and I have some questions to ask .. is it a MUST to boil the clementine?whats the purpose of doing so?(just curious)
I just put this in the oven…. smells delicious!
Oranges are on sale this week, I got beautiful clementines, blood oranges that are amazing (the red ones, as opposed to the blood ones that distubed my four year old), I’ve got Calla? that I’ve never tried and tangellos. We shouldn’t get another cold this winter!
So thanks for the recipe!
Oh and while I did boil the oranges, I’m curious (off to google) as to why you need to boil them. I make “Sunshine Muffins” and blend the entire orange without boiling and they aren’t at all bitter. I may try this again without boiling to taste the difference. HOWEVER, the smell of boiling citrus fruit is incredibly refreshing in the kitchen :)
Baked it and blogged it.
Come to think of it, it IS curious why the oranges need to be boiled at all. Let us know, April!
The idea is to remove the bitterness. When candying citrus peels, you also boil them a few times in water.
I’ve been longing to make this and just found ground almonds in the market — at $15 for a bag!!! Yowza, that’s expensive. Has anyone found them cheaper? This was the Bob’s Red Mill brand.
(But I did get some spelt flour for your crackers — I made them twice with regular flour and they were great, so can’t wait to see how the spelt tastes!)
try trader joe’s 4 the almonds
made this cake this weekend & it was still a little bitter…
should the clementines be cooked longer?
also, it sunk significantly after cooling…what is my problem?
Janet: You should be able to buy other brands of almond meal cheaper online, although a more convenient option would be to buy blanched almonds in a grocery store (I think they run about $7/lb, but don’t quote me on that) and then just grind them up at home with a food processor.
deana: When I made this cake, the top domed up quite a bit during baking and then fell when it cooled, so the result ended up being a flat(ish) top. It domed up so much, in fact, that it would’ve stuck to the aluminum foil if I had used it (which I didn’t). Maybe you need more baking powder? I used 2 tsp for a 10″ cake.
What a treat!
I had to try this cake. My springform is slightly bigger (10.5in), and I ended up using 8 clementines, 7 eggs, 300g (10.6oz) of ground almonds and 180g (little less than 3/4cups) of sugar, 1tsp baking powder; most recipes turn out to be too sweet for me, so I usually reduce the sugar. I baked it at 375F for 35-40min and it turned out so yummy and good. My husband is already on this 4th piece!
Two tips from me:
If the cake is slightly bitter, I suggest switching the wateronce or twice during the boiling process. My clementines looked deflated as well, after 2hrs of boiling, but I didn’t think much of it and just smashed and purred them.
Homemade almond meal: if you add the sugar to the almonds it will prevent them from becoming pasty-oily.
I made this last night and ate it with my husband and co-workers this morning. It was so moist and delicious! One of our student workers with a gluten allergy begged me for the recipe.
I used one lemon and three clementines, and over 1 and 1/4 cups of sugar. I did change the water the fruit boiled in about halfway through, because I used too small of a pan and the initial water had all boiled away. Almonds I got at Trader Joes (just 4.49 per pound), and buzzed them in the food processor.
The cake was brown but not finished baking at 30 minutes. I ended up baking it for about 45 minutes with foil over the top for the last 5.
We make this all the time at home (Australia) from Navel oranges and it is always a huge hit. Fantastic with chocolate anything, and clotted/double cream or creme fraiche! If you’re making your own almond meal don’t toast the almonds or they won’t soak up the liquid in the cake properly, and grind them really, really finely. I even re-grind store bought sometimes. Also, it’s a good idea to measure the amount of puree your 4 clementines produce – some are larger than others, and the amount can be varied next time if it comes out too soggy. We find it doesn’t help much to just cook it for ages longer. Better to reduce the amount of liquid a bit. And grand marnier in it is fantastic!!
I finally got around to making this tonight. I read some of the comments about the texture in the middle, so I decided to make cupcakes. They turned out great! I was able to get 22 standard cupcakes out of the recipe, and I baked them for 25 minutes. My husband likes them with a bit of whipped cream, but they’re good plain too. Thanks for the recipe!
I just made this last night with kumquats. I didn’t even deseed them because i’m being a major bum. instead, i processed them longer. I wished at that point i have one of those super vitamix blenders… I can hardly taste the seeds in the cake; so i was relieved.
I had a piece while it is still warm and it is pretty good. I think i might want to have it with some chocolate sauce or something after i get back today. I think i’m missing the chocolate component in this dessert though. I wonder how “bad” this cake is. All this baking is killing me.
I made this on Saturday and I loved it. Someone wrote in the comments that it was bland, but mine came out SUPER flavorful. I could not believe how citusy it tasted and I can’t wait to experiment more with boiled citrus in cakes.
I used two super ripe meyer lemons from my aunt’s tree and two clementines from my CSA box. I also adjusted the sugar to 1 1/4 cups.
My only issue was that it was very fragile once baked. However, I don’t think I let it cool enough before handling and that may have been my issue. Awsome!
I made this recipe in a 10″ springform and it turned out perfectly! Also, I used tangerines instead of clementines, and sprinkled it liberally with powdered sugar. With a little vanilla ice cream, it turned into the perfect creamsicle dessert.
This is a wonderful cake with a deeply complex flavor. I wouldn’t serve it for a kids’ party, but if you have sophisticated palates at your table, and particularly after a rich meal, they’ll love it. Try using “Bob’s Red Mill” almond flour, available at most health foods stores and Whole Foods. It is fluffy and finely ground and works better in this recipe than the almonds ground with the skins. The cake lasted four days in our household of only two persons, and it got better each day, trust me on this (I kept it wrapped tightly and refrigerated though). Thus, it’s an excellent “make ahead” dessert.
Forgot to mention that I added a heaping tablespoon of fresh ground ginger and about a fourth cup of chopped candied ginger to the cake recipe. Good additions, I think.
I absolutely agree with Barbara’s comments, a fabulous cake to serve after a rich meal, though with great complexity. Also enjoyed it for breakfast and at tea time (with a cup of white or roibos tea). Would absolutely recommend buying pre-roasted almonds (unsalted) and not attempting to use raw. Even toasting them by hand, there was still quite a bit of moisture in them which complicated the grinding/flouring process. Hard work with the coffee grinder but I enjoyed the ride. Mine too held up well and got better with age, even un-refridgerated. Baked in exactly 45 minutes in a 10 inch springform.
I just spotted your blog, and I cannot stop flipping from one recipe to another.. this is an amazing blog!!!!
thank you so much for all the great recipe you are sharing..
I wish I spotted this recipe before i went shopping today,
did yu try using almond paste instead of ground almond???
or the recipe will change??
I made this Nigella Lawson cake a few years ago for a Christmas party and everyone loved it…it’s not the prettiest cake but it tastes great..yum!
Great success with the cake yesterday evening and for the leftovers at the office this morning ! As clementines are not currently in season, I used oranges (3 big organic ones) and I did not have to increase the sugar proportion…Moist, slightly bitter, definitely for the adults…very very nice…and the kitchen had this wonderful orange smell for the whole day…
PS: my little secret: 1 added 2 teaspoons of orange blossom water to the recipe…
Hey! This cake sounds great and I love clementines. One question: my boyfriend is horribly allergic to nuts. Is there anything I could substitute for the ground almonds?? Thank you for this recipe!
I am so happy to see this recipe on your site! I have been wanting to try it, but too scared that it wouldn’t work out. Here is my question: I am almond intolerant. I don’t know if it I am technically allergic, but they really don’t agree with me at all. Do you have any suggestions for substitutions for the almond flour? I was thinking hazelnut might be good…or possibly macadamia or cashew. Maybe something that doesn’t have a lot of flavor itself and then add some almond extract? (which is I actually can tolerate just fine). I would live to hear from you!
I have never used ground almonds in a recipe before and I don’t think I ground them up enough. The consistency of the cake was disgusting. I had to throw the whole thing away. It would have been helpful if the recipe desrcribed what the consistency of the almonds should have been.
This recipe is great… the only thing its missing is the nutritional values… as a diabetic, it would be great to have that information… Can it be provided?
For those of you who are leary of or allergic to almonds, variations of this recipe exist that uses medium semolina. I don’t have one but it should not be difficult to find one in a mediterranean or north-african cookbook.
For Kathy – try looking for a website that would calculate the nutritional info – i know there are tons out there.
for the rest. Please remember parchment. My cake is currently stuck back in the pan after half fell out last night when i was trying to get it out. I didnt have parchment so I figured a good oiling would suffice. I was wrong. this is a sticky sticky cake.
I have made this cake several times and everyone loves it. I tweak this recipe by adding vanilla and almond extracts. I also frost the cake with chocolate ganache and coat the sides with finely chopped toasted almonds.
This cake does take longer to bake than the recipe says. Also, it will brown a lot. I cover the top with foil during the last half hour and uncover it during the last 10 minutes.
I have ground the almonds into flour and it is not difficult. I first put the nuts in the freezer for about 1-2 hours. Chilling the nuts helps keep the them from becoming nut butter when grinding. I grind the nuts in the blender a few batches at a time. I have better control over the grinding process this way. You can do this in the food processor also.
After hearing raves about this cake, I made it for the first time this weekend to serve at a party. Everyone thought it was incredibly moist and delicious!
When I couldn’t find Bob’s Red Mill almond flour (although every other option was available, including hemp) I opted to grind slivered almonds. While I was able to grind them pretty fine, they did not break down to a flour consistency. This did make the texture of the cake a little different than many expected, and that was the only critique from others – that the texture was unfamiliar. I personally liked that aspect of it, but now I’m curious what the texture is like with a finer almond flour.
All the tips in this thread were very appreciated! As always, Deb, love the site.
This looks great. Any thoughts on substituting for the almonds? I have two people in my house that are allergic to nuts.
I found your recipe while looking for a way to finish off some clementines. Little did I know that there were only two left. Thank goodness my husband was shopping with me and wanted to buy more. I made this for a Christmas party. My gluten free friend and child loved it, my kids also loved it, I… liked it. My ground almonds weren’t quite fine enough, which I didn’t mind, but there was a bit of bitterness to the cake. Any ideas of what I did wrong? Since then my family has gone gluten free also. I am trying it today again with lemons, hope it isn’t bitter this time around!
Excellent recipe! We just made this for a dinner party. It was light, moist, flavorful and delicious. And pretty, too, with a dusting of powdered sugar and some clementine twist on each slice of cake. It rose very well. We used raw almonds that we quickly ground in a mini food processor. Not as fine as Bob’s Red Mill. If you use store-bought ground almond flour, the cake is bound to be denser and shorter. Ours rose very well in a 9″ springform pan. The oil from the rinds give the flavor some depth, and added to moistness, I think. A strong, rich flavor of oranges for grownups. Highly recommended! And thank you!
hi ive just got one in the oven just now. and it smells fantastic!!! cant wait to try it!! will let you know how it goes :)
This looks like it would be tasty — if only my kitchen wasn’t so cold and I wasn’t so lazy… chopping up whole clementines by hand (as I have no food processor or blender) seems a little daunting.
As far as grinding almonds — you can blanch them and soak them in cold water to peel the skins off more easily, then grind them with a mortar and pestle or something similar. It turns out a bit oily and takes a while, but I’ve made nice cookies before that way, and it seems better than spending $14 on a small bag of almond meal.
I really like these clementine cakes. I had one at my baby shower and it was delicious. This looks like a great recipe.
I see lots of comments about the soft texture, and that the cake is wet…How wet is WET? I just made this for the first time. After 30 minutes, a tester came out clean. I didn’t believe it, and tested about ten different places in the cake, and each time, it came out clean. But now that I’ve cut into it, it’s so wet, it’s almost like a pudding or souffle, especially in the middle … is this the wet texture people have commented on, or have I grossly underbaked it?
I see lots of comments about the soft texture, and that the cake is wet…How wet is WET? I just made this for the first time. After 30 minutes, a tester came out clean. I didn’t believe it, and tested about ten different places in the cake, and each time, it came out clean. So I took it out and glazed it. But now that I’ve cut into it, it’s so wet, it’s almost like a pudding or souffle, especially in the middle … Is it done, and this is simply the wet texture people have commented on, or have I grossly underbaked it?
Made this cake last night. I used mandarin oranges instead of clementines, and it turned out a bit bland. Next time I’ll add orange or lemon zest, or maybe reduce the boiled pulp and add fresh orange juice instead. I am curious how it would be if the oranges were peeled and used fresh.
I’m eating the first slice of this right now. I think I didn’t grind the almonds fine enough, as it is gritty with almond. Also, I just figured out what it seems to be missing: flour.
Flavor is interesting, cake is wet, lots of cake left. No one else jumping to eat it with me.
made this for a work party this week and it was a hit. i wrote about it here and linked to this recipe. thanks for all the inspiration!
[Sigh] A tip, that I’m sure will never be relevant to any of your other readers: DON’T let yourself get distracted in another room for, oh, an hour, while your clementines are on the boil, lest the pot boil dry and you end up with half a dozen charred, smoky clementines, a blackened cooking pot, and exactly no lovely cake at all. :(
The recipe looks delicious, and I do hope to try it again, someday when I’m in a more attentive frame of mind.
I tried this recipe and was amazed at how much I loved it! I used a 9″ springform pan and cut back on the baking time too. I did have a problem with the powdered sugar being absorbed into the cake, it was literally gone the next morning. the next time I made it, I glazed it with clementine juice and powdered sugar. My husband took it into work and people went crazy for it!
So I made this for the second time this afternoon. My daughter is allergic to eggs and can’t handle refined sugar in large quantities. The first time I followed the recipe exactly, this time I replaced the eggs and sugar. It was a success! I am amazed. I replaced the eggs with a combination of banana, flax seed, commercial egg replacer, and water and I replaced the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey. The almonds and baking powder needed to be increased to make up for the extra liquid too. If you’re interested in my exact recipe, it’s here: http://chrissywitch.blogspot.com/2010/03/clementine-cake.html
Thanks for sharing, Deb!
Could you make this without cooking the clementines first? I imagine the taste would be more vibrant if they are pureed raw, but there must be a reason why the recipe calls for cooking. Thoughts? Am I overlooking some chemistry based reason for not experimenting with using raw citrus?
They are cooked to mellow the peels. Pureed peels would otherwise be very, very bitter.
After reading about people finding the texture too wet, I tried putting the puree back on the stove and cooking it down to a canned pumpkin consistency over low heat. Also, I beat the eggs with the sugar to ribbon stage just for extra insurance that there would be some loft to the cake and folded everything in. More effort (maybe 10 minutes worth), but the cake turned out a nice moist consistency, not too wet.
I made this today [without the glaze, in a 9-in. pan], and also had a problem with over-browning. I used an immersion blender to chop the clementines. The batter was *very* soupy. I made sure my oven was at 375 by checking my oven thermometres [I have two], and tested the cake after 27 minutes. By that time the top was browned nicely, the sides were starting to really darken, and I could smell something burning. The middle was too wet still so I tented with foil and baked for another 10 minutes. The top was darker and the burnt smell was stronger so I took it out. When I tried taking the ring off, some of the batter had seeped and burned around the base [thus the smell]. The bottom of the cake was very dark and the sides were a shade darker than in your pics. I was concerned that it would taste burnt, but really only the bottom ‘corner’ did, and only a bit. There’s a hint of bitterness, reminiscent of orange zest in a muffin, nothing terribly off-putting about it. I’ve never been a fan of plain clementines, but even after all of that trouble and worry, I have to say that this cake was good. I will try it with oranges and lemons soon.
A way to grind the almonds without a food processor would be to use your coffee grinder…….we make this cake in lower Alabama using Satsumas….much better than any clemintine you’ve ever had
Just made a very similar recipe I saw in a recent NPR story about guiltess cupcakes. It was basically the same, but baked at 350* and used slightly less almond meal. I substituted flax meal for almond, and used tangerines and it came out ok. A bit less sweet than I’d care for, but very moist. I did half the batter as a sheet cake and half as cupcakes. Cupcakes got a bit too brown, but the sheet cake was perfect at 30 minutes. I think I’m going to add a glaze or top it with some cream cheese!
AND, it works for restrictions like gluten-free and Passover (with kfp baking powder).
I’ve been looking for some awesome winter recipes to help lighten my forever shortening days. I’m so excited that I found this cake! I love clementines. Actually there is a mostly consumed bag of them on my counter right now. However the main reason I’m really excited I found this recipe is that I’m using clementines as part of the centerpieces for my wedding reception (in like a month). My first hope is to share my love and obsession of the delightful fruit with the guests, but I’m dreadfully worried I’ll end up with pounds and pounds of clementines afterward! Now I know what I’m going to do with at least some of them! I have a feeling this cake might end up at the Christmas dessert table :)
I made a slightly modified version of this cake, which came out delicious and pleasantly moist without being “damp” – I reduced the almond meal to 225g but added 25g of cornstarch, and also separated the eggs (beating the whites to firm peaks before folding into the rest of the mixture).
Hey Deb :D,
I don’t know how often you check your comments, but I just wanted to let you know that I tried this recipe for the first time and I broke my rule of no modifications before doing it by the recipe at least once.
Some people were asking about gluten-free- my husband is a celiac, and I decided to treat the recipe as if it were any other gluten-free/wheat-free recipe:
Beat the unholy snot out of it for as long as you can stand before pouring the batter.
Because this cake recipe has no wheat in it, it will not naturally rise without the baking powder, but in addition, it won’t get all chewy because of there being no wheat flour, and no gluten to bind things together. This is a common problem in gluten-free baking, and one way to get around it is to beat as much air as possible into any dough or batter.
My modification was to substitute 1/3 of a cup of brown rice flour out and just use 2 cups even of almond flour. I baked it at 375 for 15 minutes, then turned it down to 300 and baked for 45 minutes total, putting foil on top of the cake at 30 minutes into the bake time.
I just took it out of the oven and it looked and smelled wonderful. I broke off a corner and ate it, and it wasn’t too wet, but still very moist and sweet, and very cake-like. I really think the brown rice flour made a big difference, if the other comments are anything to go by.
I had smaller than average clementines (I know, right?) and boiled 6 of them for about an hour and a half, before pureeing them.
Thanks Kimberly! I always read new comments on old posts, usually daily but sometimes it takes a couple days over a weekend. :)
This recipe inspired me to actually learn how to use my Cuisinart!! It was thrilling and the cake turned out deliciously. That almond, egg, and sugar combo is delicious! My only question is about boiling the clementines – I brought them to a boil and then turned the heat down a bit and took the lid off. Then an hour later I noticed that almost all of the water had evaporated and so I put more water in, brought it to a boil again, and kept it at a boil with the lid off. What is the right way to boil fruit?? I am obviously a non-cook, but I’m enjoying my foray into the kitchen!
This cake is great with meyer lemons and pre-ground almond meal. I make it for Passover (as well as year round) and like that it’s naturally gluten-free.
Gefen makes a corn-free, kosher-for-Passover baking powder (disclaimer: consult your Rabbi re: whether baking powder is OK for you).
Manischewitz also lists many substitutions for Passover. For baking powder, it suggests 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. Here is their substitutions list: http://www.manischewitz.com/entertaining/passover4.php
Do you think I could make this in a bundt pan?
I wanted to try this so badly and was disappointed when I couldn’t find ground almonds (although where I am located at college the only place to shop is Walmart!) But fear not! I simply bought sliced almonds and put them in a ziploc bag and used a can to crush them by rolling it back and forth over the bag. It didn’t take too much work, but I am sure it will work out fine :)
I didnt like it, but the rest of the gang enjoyed it, finding it different and interesting. It was very moist and looked nice cooked in an angel cake pan.
Okay… Now, this is one of the most amazing cake I have ever baked!!! Just changed “just a bit” the directions!!!…. I did not have all the ingredients handy but I had 250 grams of almond paste and decided to use it and see what would happen. I used only 1/2 cup of sugar(not sure it was “that” necessary!. And since I also had Emerald Cocoa Road almonds, I decided to use some of that too and used 2/3 of the container (grounded it in the food processor) instead of the required ground almonds in the recipe. Well, surprisingly, the cake was absolutely awesome!!!!! I did not change anything about the cooking time or temperature. Did not have to use powdered sugar since the cake looks so nice just as it is!!!
One detail… it’s even better the next day!!! keep it in the fridge 24 hours before serving!
I added some vanilla and almond extract – got rave reviews at work! Would love to try it with the almond paste.
I only have a regular 9-inch cake pan, wouldn’t that work? Also, my clementines look much smaller (about 2in diameter) than yours, perhaps b/c it’s a closeup.
I just tried this cake today, having found the recipe a couple days ago. All I can say is WOW! I love it.
I did do a couple things a little differently. I used satsumas since my CSA has been drowning me in them for weeks and I needed a different way to use them. I also added a couple teaspoons of whole wheat flour because I was worried about the structure, especially when I realized how coarsely I had ground the almonds. Also I followed the suggestion one of your readers left of beating the eggs and sugar like a red-headed stepchild to lift and dry the cake a little. So I went to town with my KA stand mixer and… well, the texture of the cake was beautiful but I wound up with so much batter that I filled my 8″ cake pan… and two ramekins… and four custard cups. Never mind. I have a good friend coming over to eat dinner with me and the ramekins will be a rather elegant way to serve.
Weirdly, the cake and it’s associates all took about 25 minutes to bake, for some reason. Luckily, that was the time I chose to check on the ramekins and custard cups.
I can’t wait to try this with other citrus fruits, too! It’s light, airy, fabulously citrussy, and – best of all – not oversweet. I love desserts, but I prefer them on the less sweet side. This was exactly what I was looking for! It’s going to make a perfect foil to the luxurious rabbit ragu I’m serving.
You mentioned that your cake did not last til the next day — well mine did not even get to cool. What a wonderful cake! I served it with a thick greek yoghurt. Loved the really strong tangy flavour from the Clementines contrasting with the creamy goodness of the yoghurt. I used raw castor sugar (fine sugar) which added a slightly caramel flavour to the cake, and added a bit more ground almond and baking powder as the batter seemed too runny (I think my eggs were a bit too big). Of course I burnt the clementines during the boiling phase but I just cut the burnt bits off after cooling them (and before smushing) and I can honestly say I could not detect a hint in the cake. Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe.
I never would have tried this from just looking at the recipe, but a friend recommended it as one of the best cakes she’d ever had (she’s made three already!), and I’m wondering if I did something wrong, because mine was not very good at all. I served it to a group of friends tonight and no one liked it much. The almonds were finely ground and the cake still had a cornbread-like texture. I cooked the clementines for two hours and pureed them completely, but this was still WAY too bitter – the peel flavor overpowered everything else.
Update: The cake was amazing! Thank you so much for posting this recipe.
I did end up using a regular 9-inch cake pan, although I should have lined the bottom w/ parchment paper…
Also, I used six clementines which were about 2-inches in diameter.
A friend brought this to the Golden Globes party we were at last night. OMG fantastic!
this looks delicious! i would love to try it but am wondering if anyone has tried a substitue for white sugar. i’m trying to to eat while sugar and would replace it for honey or brown rice syrup but worry that would make the cake even moister. thoughts? thanks!
I just made this cake substituting pepitas (squash seeds) and sweetened coconut for the almonds. It came out pretty well although I do wish I had ground them a bit finer. I used one cup of coconut and the rest pepitas. I bought the sweetened coconut because that was all they had at my store, but I’m glad I did because I think it offset a bit of the bitterness from the rinds.
Delicious recipe! Thanks for sharing!
I have a Lekue Silicone Springform pan with a Ceramic Base. Wondering if I need the parchment paper on the sides at all, since the sides of the pan are all silicone..
Anyone have an idea?
My clementines are cooking now…
I made this cake last night. I used 5 clementines, and an 8″ springform pan. I blended the clementines in my blender on shred. Worked perfectly. I checked it at 30 min. as you suggested, and covered the top with foil at that point, because it was already a nice golden brown. I checked it every 10 minutes after that. It did take the full 60 minutes to bake in an 8″ pan. I drizzled icing over it this morning after dusting it with confectioners sugar. It was delicious. My inlaws, neighbor and family all raved about it, possibly liking it more than me! I definitely will make it again. Great cake. Very moist. I may add another 1/4 cup of sugar next time for a little more sweetness.
I used a 10″ pan it worked fine too, although it didn’t need as long in the oven, maybe 40 min. The texture is unusual but my 3 yo, who doesn’t have a set idea about how a cake “should” taste, liked it. So I’d say it’s a nice cake for open-minded eaters :) It’s very moist now and I’m curious too see how it’ll taste tomorrow it it survives the day…
It stays very moist the following day and the clementine flavor is almost gone :( It’s become an almond cake. Might try it again with lemon. Might.
This was fantastic! Even though I ran out of almonds and had to substitute some cake flour, the cake remained incredibly moist with had a bold and almost buttery taste — my family couldn’t believe the ingredient list once I told them. What a huge payoff for such a simple recipe!
I love your recipe index! Ive been making my way through some of your cakes/deserts.
This cake came out fabulous! I took a few shortcuts: bought a jar of 24 oz Dole mandarin oranges and lightly pulsed them in the blender. saved some to make a topping for later. I didnt have ground almonds so i ground a bunch at a time in the blender. I also added a 1/4 cup of all purpose flour to the batter mix. The batter looked kinda watery when it was all mixed, which is why i added the flour. It tastes GREAT, but i might add a little less sugar next time. Definitely making this cake again!
This cake was *way* too moist, I used about 350g of oranges (the mix already looked too runny; and I don’t know what “clementines” are meant to be, but they’re not available in Australia). After cooking it looks like a cake, but leaks (*that* moist, even after cooking for well over an hour), and tastes pretty damn awful, even with ultra-delicious icing. I don’t know what happened; Smitten Kitchen recipes had never failed me before–!
I came across this last night and thought it would be a great use for the bag of clementines which had been sitting on my counter! However, I do not like almonds, but, I did have semolina left from a few previous projects, and I saw other comments mentioning semolina as a substitute. So for my recipe I substituted 1 3/4c. semolina and the remaining 1/4+1/3 of needed dry ingredients with ground hazelnuts (I ran out of semolina). My kitchen is also tiny, and I do not have a spring form pan, so I used a standard glass baking dish size 11″ x7″. The texture is slightly mealy like cornbread, although moist and cake-like, not crumbly; The dessert is not overly sweet, which is nice, and could easily be complimented with a mediterranean style sugar syrup or the above mentioned glaze. Very tasty, would make great dense, muffin-y cupcakes!
Can’t wait to try this!!! Love clementines as well. I am also interested in trying satsumas and blood oranges as well. Also wanted to suggest Mineolas- they are like larger Clementines, not quite as sweet maybe, but we had them here in south Louisiana for quite a while in July.
Just in case anyone was still wondering…You can find almond meal (ground almonds) in the bulk section of some grocery stores such as Sprouts, Central Market, Whole foods, Fresh, ect. That’s where I got mine and it was about $5 a pound. Hope this helps for all of you who are without a food processor or coffee grinder.
Made this cake tonight with a couple modifications and it is absolutely delicious. I added in a few tablespoons of flour and instead of almond meal I crushed some myself. I was nervous it would make the cake grainy but it was actually delicious and nutty. It was even a little too sweet for my taste, perhaps the clementines I had were too sweet. I used a bundt pan baked for around 40 minutes. Delicious!
A couple things: can you substitute honey for sugar? If so, how much? Do I need to decrease the amount of eggs?
Also, for anyone who lives near Trader Joes, they sound almond meal, which makes life a lot easier!
Can’t wait to make this cake!
Update! I made it with the honey and it turned out wonderfully. I baked it for 35 minutes uncovered, then another 20…it was a little burnt around the edges, but barely noticeable….could easily cut around the cake to remove the burnt bits. Should’ve baked it for less time :/
Served it with a little vanilla ice cream and it tasted like a orange creamsicle! delicious cake.
Could this be split into loaf pans?
This cake took 15 minutes besides boiling the clementines, I followed the recipe used 4 small clementines 375grams and it turned out delicious!!! got lots of compliments everybody asked for the recipe and the fact that it’s gluten free and has no butter or oil in it was highly appreciated by my guests :) thanks
It’s been ages I wanted to get into baking. Today, this was the first cake recipe I tried, it was awesome. A cake with my favorite clementine. Perfect for my Christmas holidays! I just made in an hour ago, it feels a bit moist, does it get better with time? I am sure I will be trying out new cake recipes on your website! :) thanks!
This cake was a success. I used satsumas which are very sweet. I also used almond flour which i can bake 2 cakes with 16oz. Can I make this recipe as is without the sugar? Or will that ruin the consistency?
Tried this recently and it was delicious, SO moist! But you’re absolutely right about the cooking time – definitely needs checking after 30 minutes.
Loved this cake! Have made it twice now, and it came out perfectly both times. It’s also a great option because my partner can’t eat gluten. Thanks!
Awesome cake! Deliciously moist and great for breakfast actually!!
I will be trying this. This is the first time I’ve seen this site. My cousin was talking about a wheat free/soy free carrot cake. Ever see that?
Hmm sounds great! I have some Clementines too! I dont eat wheat/flour anymore and I don’t eat sugar either so ill be subbing it for Honey instead. I cant wait to make this!
It’s probably about time I comment here and fully acknowledge my blog crush on you…
I just bought a bag of almond meal for a recipe last night that wasn’t as great as I had hoped (black sesame pear cake). I already had this printed out to make for my boyfriend’s grandpa’s birthday this weekend. Didn’t realize till just now that it can use up some of the expensive almond meal. That’s called fate, right??
Thanks for making my Thursday not so dreary!! :)
I pureed half a bag of mini-clementines (seedless) because they were starting to dry out (I soaked them half a day in water first which helped). My plan was to use the puree in cocktails, per a bartender I know, but I’m thinking about using some for this cake. However they’re not cooked. What are your thoughts? Should I microwave the puree a bit? simmer on low in a little pot on my stove? Just use them as is? I don’t bake a lot though I follow recipes just fine…
This cake sounded amazing! But it IS bitter and the ground almonds (Bob’s Red Mill) make the cake grainy, not fluffy. Very unpleasent. I will try it again and leave out two rinds and add clementine zest for flavour.
I am making this for my sister’s birthday celebration tomorrow and my kitchen smells glorious! I’m sad that I can’t break into it right away. Mine is taking every bit of 60 minutes to cook. I’m sure every oven is different ~ I’ve been checking frequently to make sure it isn’t getting too brown. I’ll bet a vanilla cream sauce would be excellent on this.
Deb-can I microwave the clementines? If so, for how long? Thanks!
To chop almonds you can start with knife chopping to break them up…do it on a paper towel on a plate so they don’t go flying off the counter…then once they are started a big then put them in a zip lock bag and get our your rolling pin…roll them until you have crushed them all into pieces…works great for nuts in the event you do not have a food processor!
Viv — Sorry, I don’t have a microwave (nothing against them; just don’t have space) so I’ve never tried it.
I have made this cake twice now and it is great! Then I found almost exactly the same recipe in a traditional Jewish cookbook, but it calls for 1.5 cups of ground almonds — such a huge difference. I have not tried it this way yet, but I am guessing it will have a more custard-like texture. Has anyone tried it this way?
also — I need 7-8 clementines to get to a little less than a pound by my scale. Anyone else notice that?
I made this cake as a New Year’s dessert for my family and everyone LOVED it–even my super-picky little sister!! My finicky grandfather, who never takes leftovers, said he’d be more than happy to take ALL of the leftover cake if we didn’t want it (I sent him home with a giant slice, which he was very happy about).
I ended up baking it for about 45 minutes, but I kept checking it every 15 minutes or so to make sure it didn’t overcook since my oven tends to run very hot. The edges did brown a lot, but it was almost like it’s own crust and tasted fine, so no one minded. I’m wondering if cooking it in a water bath might help? It would probably take closer to 60 minutes to bake then (if not more), and should reduce most of the browning on the edges.
My mother and I both think this would be delicious made with Key Limes, so we’re going to be trying that out tomorrow, haha. :)
I heard your interview on the Diane Rehm show, and found my way to your website! This is the first recipe I tried, and it came out great! I appreciated the weight being included for ingredients, as I had to substitute larger oranges for the clementines. Definitely moist, and tasted delicious unadorned…but that’s not too say that it’s not amazing with a local goat-milk caramel sauce…yum!
My daughter made this cake for Christmas, nice. I made it for a friend who has celiac and he always likes things notched up a bit with the sweet so I made a semi-sweet chocolate ganache frosting. I must say, “AWESOME.” He made me leave it all with him.
Deb, I’ve not had a microwave since my first and only one broke some 23 or so years ago. My kids’ friends think we are nuts (gasp! we have a non-motorized push mower, too!), but that’s alright with me. Anyway, I just made this cake and followed the recipe as is. It baked about 52 minutes, half of that covered with foil. The edges and bottom got rather dark, but they are a lovely, caramel-y delicious “crust.” I barely waited for it to cool, made a quick glaze of powdered sugar and grapefruit, and served it to some stragglers in my house of ages between 15 and 19. Everyone agreed that it is fantastic! Mine came out moist but still cake-like, not too moist for me. What a treat, and so very easy. This will be a regular for me. Oh, I also used a 9-inch springform.
Update: So I tried making this with Key Limes because my mother and I were curios and really hoping it would taste something like the pie. The results: HORRIBLE. For the love of god, don’t ever try using those. UGH, it was SOOOO BITTER (and terribly sad–everyone was very upset, especially since the pie actually looked very delicious; luckily, I had also made a pear-cranberry crumble, so all was well).
So my sister sent me a clementine cake from Albuquerque to Boston at the holidays. I’m not sure what inspired her- other than she is my wonderful sister- but when I finally unwrapped the tin foil, plastic wrap and pulled back the wax paper, there in front of me was the most delicious, fresh, citrusy, yet sweet crunchy cake I had ever tasted. The almond were such a terrific cross to the clementines..( btw, she used cuties instead as martha suspected, right so, they were a little sweeter. She used 10-12 cuties to the 8 in Nigellas recipe). I nursed that cake over an entire week…only sharing with my nearest and dearest friend! I loved it
referring to 295 above .I am Martha…and am very flattered that my sister loved the clementine cake. One correction.yes I use cuties BUT only 6 of them.if very small then I make it with 6 1/2……….all is good. I am meticulous about making sure the parchment is put on really well ………..and also covering the cake at 40minutes. No changes are needed at 5,000ft……….enjoy
I made this cake several times already, and will be experimenting with other citrus varieties. Absolutely fabulous!
Hi Deb, about to try this out and thinking about adding 1/4 cup melted butter. Will post again with results!
The 1/4 cup of butter did not mess up this cake, like, AT ALL. Delicious.
A friend showed me this and I make it for my husband birthday yesterday — used clementines and lemons –It is sooooooooo good — thank you
Looks and sounds sooo good. Great one for passover to share with my readers (my blog is in Hebrew).
One question about mixing the eggs? just beating them slightly or to the full ribbon stage?
love your blog!
No need to ribbon them.
This looks yummy and I am eager to try it. Have you tried a very similar recipe that requires no cooking of the clementines – I love anything that saves a step but still gives maximum flavour. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send it on.
Love your website! Clare
I’m eager to try this with two slight variations:
1.) As a shout out to Meyer Lemons, which like kiwis, are becoming available in small bags at decent prices, I will substitute all the Clems with ML’s.
2.) I will core the top and bottom out of each fruit.
3.) And of course, increase the sugar.
Now, a word about sugar. We’ve all seen a “celebration of sugar” on the shelves, and I thought I might dip in to my non-cane varieties just for a hoot; coconut sugar seems like a good bet.
Wish me luck!
This cake needs a pinch of salt.
Made this today. Delicious! I used a 9 in springform and it was perfect at 40 minutes.
I made this recently, cut it in half and spead chocolate ganache between the cake layers, then covered it in ganache. It was Divine!! I’ve had many requests for another one
This is a great recipe, but it was originally by the Australian chef Bill Granger from his 2002 book, “Bill’s Food.” You can google “Bill’s Mandarin and Almond Cake,” and you’ll find it credited on many sites, and you can see the original recipe in his book in google books. It is a unique and unusual recipe, so there is no doubt that the idea was “borrowed.” Yes, there have been tiny changes, like calling for clementines instead of mandarins, adding 1 t. baking powder, and changing the amount of sugar by 5 g or so. I could not find any crediting of Bill on Nigella’s site. I like her, but this didn’t feel honest.
We are expecting baby clementine 11/21.
I can’t wait to make this in her honor :) thank you deb for your brilliant recipes!
I just made this cake with a summertime substitution of fresh peaches, not boiled or peeled, but chopped fairly fine. It was fantastic, and so easy to make. I was being pretty unscientific about the conversions and used (I think) three and a half fairly large peaches. (Also added salt, as per the recommendation above.) I made a glaze using part of a can of peach nectar from the bodega and powdered sugar, which made the cake a lot prettier. I found this recipe because I was looking for a celiac-friendly cake for a friend, and though I worried it wouldn’t translate for summer fruits, everybody loved it. Thanks, Deb!
Mine didn’t turn out very well, but I think it might’ve been that I had old clementines.
Made the clementine cake, but it turned out awful. The whole house was smelling bad and it tasted pretty bad too. Your other cake recipes are awesome but this didnt work for me.
Seriously delicious! I made this for my daughter’s 26th birthday and took it to a Paul Douglas restaurant for our celebration. After sampling a piece the wait staff fawned all over us with praise. The changes I made were really additions: I added 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips and after the cake baked about 5 minutes I stuck a skewer into the cake and gave the chips a couple swirls. I also added juice of one entire clementine to my glaze and then I jabbed holes with the skewer into the top of the cake for it to permeate. Oh my, talk about moist!
Oops! Tom Douglas, not Paul. The restaurant was Serious Pie and Biscuit in Seattle.
When it says to finely chop the clementines in the processor, when it is finished, should it look pureed or look like small chunks? I’m trying to figure out how it should look when I finished finely chopping them.
Jen — As blended as possible.
Why do you cook the clementines for so long? Some other recipes cook them for only 30 minutes. I don’t have any experience with it myself, just browsing at the moment to find a suitable recipe.
Do you actually boil the clementines for the full 2 hours? Or should the heat be lowered to a simmer after the water has reached its boiling point?
Can I substitute the sugar for chopped-up dates? I love this cake but I am trying to find an alternative natural sweetener.
Erika — I haven’t tried that before in baked goods, so it’s hard to guess.
I looked a bit into it now and saw that by roasting the dates in the oven and then grinding them in the food processor, it makes a dark, date sugar. I will try it! if this works out, it would be the ultimate guilt free cake! Thank you for the recipe : )
I’m wondering if Nigella’s recipe was a typo. 325 degrees perhaps? I know I’m late to the game here, but excited to cut into heaven. There will be whipped cream at my house. AND what is GREAT ABOUT THE RECIPE IS THAT THERE IS NO FLOUR. Gluten intolerant guests, anyone? I used Trader Jooe’s almond meal but ground an extra 1/2 cup as I was a bit short. Many thanks!
My son and I first heard of this cake in the movie ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ (2013) and we were intrigued. I made the cake this week (using the recipe from http://cathymerenda.com/2013/12/22/walter-mitty-clementine-cake/ , which refers back to Nigella) and we were somewhat disappointed. It was slightly too sweet, slightly too damp/heavy, and very slightly bitter. The recipe called for microwaving the clementines for about 4 minutes, so that could have caused the bitterness. I didn’t know that part of the purpose of boiling was to remove bitterness. Also, it was heading toward charring at just over 40 minutes – and I had a thermometer inside the oven.
I still think there’s hope, though. Your article and the many comments have given me some ideas. I plan to try this again with meyer lemons, a few tablespoons of cake flour, and lavender sugar. Wish me luck with the warlocks (movie reference)!
Made this last night for a co-worker’s birthday. Having read the various comments about the issue of moistness, I followed Kimberly WS’s modifications. It turned out beautifully. It is moist but not overly wet. Towards the end, I uncovered the foil and baked an additional 8 minutes because the top wasn’t a pretty golden brown. Aside from that, it was great! I’m looking forward to trying this with lemons/oranges. I will also take a crack at some substitutions next time. As always, I enjoyed your recipes, Deb.
This is in my oven as I type… bonus tip: I filled up my teapot with the leftover cooking water from boiling the oranges and steeped a couple bags of green tea in it—delicious!
I just made this and it was unpleasantly bitter, particularly the aftertaste. Adding the orange glaze on top helped a bit but I think next time I will leave out the peel from one of the clementines and see if that takes the bitter edge off. It was also almost excessively moist so I don’t think that’ll hurt it to lose a peel. I ground the almonds in my food processer and I wasn’t happy with the coarse texture of the cake, so I think I will try this again with purchased almond meal. I really want to like this cake – it sounds so great in theory! And the reviews are good, so maybe it was just my clementines.
I made a version of this recently and didn’t think to check to see you had done it too – stupid me!
I found it on another site that had adapted Nigella’s recipe to include flour- so that definitely works.
When I tasted it, I thought it was good, but not my favourite cake. I thought there would be much more of an orange taste.I was expecting a citrus burst! This could have been because I peeled the clementines and then boiled them – and didn’t include the rind in the cake. Duh.
I definitely could taste the almonds too – I’ll definitely grind them finer next time, if I make it.
I have made this cake several times and LOVE it:-) I found thin skinned blood oranges and made it with them! It was amazingly fabulously delicious! I now decided to use coconut sugar and it is in the oven as I write, I will report my findings. :-)
I am pleased to report the cake with coconut sugar created a depth of flavor that is wonderful!
I watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty three times in a row on a flight back from Sweden and I couldn’t stop thinking about clementine cake. A quick google search brought me here. Holy moly. This cake is so utterly delicious and lovely I nearly cried at first bite. New fave!!
I love your recipes and site so very much, but with a severe nut allergy I often have to skip some ingredients. This usually isn’t a problem, but I feel like this cake can not be done without the almonds! Do you have any suggestions for what I might be
able to substitute the almonds with?
(And thank you a million times over for smitten kitchen!)
Giulia — Perhaps something coarse like matzo meal or graham cracker crumbs? Those would absorb some of the liquid though, and change the texture of the cake. I think I read somewhere that you could use ground coconut flakes in place of almond meal in recipes, but that would really change the taste of this cake. Maybe a seed meal, like flax or hemp would be best?
Panya- SUCH a cool idea! I’m doing this immediately! Have you ever worked with seed meals? And thank you for the time your advice
Giulia — I’ve only used a bit of flax meal in things like smoothies and soups, never for anything where texture is of concern. Since flax tends to thicken, I’m torn as to whether it would help or hurt this recipe.
Don’t have clementines but here in New Orleans I have a tree overloaded with Satsumas! So guess what i am going to be doing tomorrow ….. I enjoy this recipe every single year. Great book by the way !
Adding the orange glaze on top helped a bit but I think next time I will leave out the peel from one of the clementines and see if that takes the bitter edge off. It was also almost excessively moist so I don’t think that’ll hurt it to lose a peel.
just took mine out of the oven. Covered like you suggested at the 30 min mark, cooked for another 15 and my house smells so good I may cry. It is going to a birthday party tomorrow so I candied some thinly sliced clementines and then dipped them half way in dark chocolate to go on top of the cake.
Just hope I can wait till tomorrow to eat it.
I don’t have a springform pan – will it work as well in a bundt pan or a regular cake pan? A tart pan with removable bottom, perhaps?
Thanks for everything, by the way. I love this site and have for years. Just made the butternut squash galette 2 nights ago, with feta instead of fontina, and it was a hit.
No reason not to use a regular cake pan, although it might be safer to use a 10-inch, just in case this is a little tall for a 9-inch. (Springforms usually have 3-inch sides; most standard cake pans are only 2 inches tall.)
This is the second time I made this cake. Even better this time. Followed the recipe exactly. Baked at 350 degrees for 45 min in a 9″ spring form. Since I had them, I juiced 3 starting to get wilty clementines, boiled juice with 2 tab light brown sugar until it was just starting to thicken and poured over the top of the warm cake.
Oh yes becaused I baked at the lower temp I didn’t have to worry about the overbrowning it was perfect.
okay, so I just made this and it’s pretty good! It was a bit bitter for me but I do remember trying the peels after two hours and they were still very bitter. I also didn’t use a food processor (just chopped up very finely) and I’m wondering if that made a difference. And the middle was a bit too wet like others said. Definitely worth trying again, I’ll go with other commenters suggestions of adding A bit of flour to the batter, and I’m probably going to boil the clementines down further next time until they’re much less better. But I loved how much citrus flavor came through!
I served it with a creme anglaise and it was quite good. Going to see if the bitterness mellowed out after a day!
Hi Deb! Do you think that if I doubled the recipe, I could bake this as a bunt cake?
Any way I could do this for Passover? Substitute beaten egg whites for the baking powder? Extra ones or beat the whites from some or all of the 6 eggs?
I hadn’t realized this was a thing, but a bunch of people upthread have made or said they would make this with Kosher for Passover baking powder. (I always thought it was verboten? But see Comments #62, 239, 245, 301… maybe it’s not.)
Just took this out of the oven and it smells delish! Just boiling the clementines smelled amazing. Baking seemed to take the full hour in a 9″ springform. Will be testing the better-on-the-second-day theory as it’s for a dinner party.
Hi this recipe was originally published using Oranges by Claudia Roden.
160°C is the desired temperature to avoid the darken burnt edges.
Please use Gluten Free Baking Powder..
Your cake will not be Gluten Free if ordinary Baking Powder is used.
Michele — I hadn’t realized it was from Claudia Roden. It’s always been attributed to Nigella; will do more research. Baking powder does not include gluten.
Can I substitute the clementines with other citrus fruits like oranges, lemons or grapefruit?
Just to note, I’ve come across a few recipes like this where you boil the whole citrus and use ground almonds – I’ve made one with oranges before and have a couple of recipes for it from different magazines – so I don’t know if it’s necessarily a specific enough recipe to have been directly “borrowed” from Bill Granger or Claudia Roden, though I’m guessing Roden’s original orange recipe may have been where this type of cake recipe first came up.
Here in the UK “ground almonds” is the standard term in the shops for what I think in the US is called almond meal/almond flour – is that right? I hadn’t thought of self-grinding but might give that a go with some of the spare flaked/whole almonds in the cupboard!
This cake is much improved by using the orange flower water from the original Roden recipe which Nigella for some reason leaves out.
Also , I only make it with organic fruit due to eating so much peel.
My daughter first made this cake from Deb’s recipe for my birthday 3 years ago. I was thrilled! It was amazing, she used a fine drizzle of dark chocolate to decorate the top which complemented the citrus flavor very well. Lucky me :) Three years on, we are currently midst the ‘blizzard of 2016’ (admittedly the year is young!), and I am using the snowbound day in the kitchen. I had eggs from our chickens, and LOTS of clementines, only to realize after the fruit had been boiling for an hour that there were only cashews in the pantry. Oh well, I went ahead, and I’m very pleased with the result! Cashews have turned out to be a good substitute, they also have a sweetness and delicate flavor! Thanks for posting this recipe, regardless of its origin, it has inspired a good deal of cooking and happiness!!!
What do you think this would taste like if the clementines were raw? or would the texture be all off?
Thanks Deb! I won a bake off at work with this cake and the judges were head bakers at an industrial sized bakery. Decorate with chocolate and dried flowers for spring.
@Caroline – I’m a pastry chef and I have to strongly recommend you don’t try making this cake with raw clementines, or any raw citrus. It would be dry, chunky, and very bitter! :)
Hi Deb, just signed up to your mailing list after months of following you on Facebook thought you would appreciate – I coincidentally made this cake the other week (for Passover) for the first time. I used lemons instead. Frustratingly after 1h40 I went to check on the lemons and they had caught badly in the pan. I was so pissed as didn’t have time to start again. Thankfully, I found in the comments in Nigella’s website someone had microwaved the fruit. So I put a fresh batch in a bowl with water- PRICK them first. It took about 15min til they were done.i was worried they wouldn’t be the same as boiling for so long. Followed the recipe exactly from there and added a lemon juice and icing sugar (powdered sugar) glaze while warm. The cake was delicious! So light and a huge hit with my
Guests. One asked me to make it for her a week later she liked it so much! I’m GF but don’t like almonds and even I loved it. Anyway, I know you like things that are quick so thought you’d appreciate my tip. Happy baking!
The one and only time I made a clementine cake, my house smelled like pee-filled diapers during the boiling process. That cake was not worth it — not sure I could try it again!
Well phooey! You sent your blog update out via e-mail, and what do I see on it? This cake! I can eat several boxes of clementines (5-6 or more) every winter. Right now I am eating mandarin oranges. I never tire of any of them. But why do I see this now, when it is spring and clementines are no where to be seen for at least NINE )or more) more months!?!? Guess I’ll have to print this recipe and tuck it in with the recipes I use in the fall and winter, to keep it in mind once those pesky clementines resurface!
I’ve made this cake several times. It’s so delicious and easy. I’ll be making two, one for Christmas Eve and one for Christmas Day. It travels well. I’m certain it will be a hit!
I’ve made this twice now. It is amazingly good and very easy. It’s just so fresh and bright tasting and different from other cakes. It wasn’t bitter at all, but then I like a tad bit of bitterness just like I enjoy a slightly bitter marmalade. I also cooked the clementines in the microwave this time and crushed them using my immersion blender. Worked like a charm. Great recipe and cake.
I have had excellent experiences with Smitten Kitchen recipes, but this one was not a success for me this time. The cake I made was a little bitter overall, and each person who had a piece had at least one bite that was extremely bitter (usually toward the crust, but maybe that was coincidence). We did try it about 30 minutes out of the oven, so will see if the flavor has improved/mellowed by tomorrow as Nigella suggests.
I first made this (and commented here) in 2013 and have made it nearly a dozen times since. It is a great, go-to, easy winter cake which has made everyone I’ve served it to rave about its deliciousness. It pretty much always bakes (for me) about 52 minutes. I chopped some fresh rosemary into the glaze for Christmas, which added a subtle fragrance. Today, I’m making this for my own birthday (along with two kinds of cupcakes) because I’m turning 50 and there’s no way I’m leaving the baking to anyone else!
Thought I’d send through a little tip on the Clementine cake. To avoid the over browning issue I do 2 things that has produced perfect results every time. Make sure the clementines are COMPLETELY COOLED, room temperature or cooler. Make sure the eggs are nice and cold – right from the fridge. If you have a digital oven set to 365 instead of 375. I think it’s the temperate of the batter when it goes into the over that dictates if overbrowning will occur. I mix the almond meal, sugar and baking soda together ahead so I’m all ready to go. Then I quickly beat the cold eggs, add all dry ingredients at once, mix, then quickly add the cooled and already pureed clementines. Pour into springform pan and put immediately into preheated oven. 45-50 mins later – perfection!
i made this cake today
scaled it down to 4 eggs and one bigger orange (based on 200 sugar)
took about 42 minutes on 170°C
best wishes from vienna
I live and bake in east end of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and am a 75 year old foodie.
I make many of your dishes and am always looking to see what you’ve got going now. I belong to a group of women who work in a church archive and meet once a week to work. When I saw your Clementine Cake and had just been able to buy a box of Clementines from Spain, I thought I would try and make this for my group, as it was my turn to make the coffee last Monday. When I had finished the cake, it smelled amazing the next morning. I was still a bit skeptical but decided to bring it along for my friends. It was a big, big hit. I only got one piece, the rest disappeared amongst the other 4 who took some home to their spouses or grown children. There was none for me to take home and I now wish I had a second taste of that great cake. Thank You, and I will make it again when I get my hands on Clementines.
I have made this alot and yes…the 8 inch pan takes longer (as described by Nigella). At 40 min I put a piece of foil lightly over the top (like you do with pie crust) and that keeps it from “charring”…with all the moisture from the almonds almost impossible to “overcook”. Also works GREAT without the baking powder so it make a fantastic addition to desserts that can be made during Passover. Always a hit.
Turned out delish! I did 2 cups of almond meal and 1/3 cup of spelt. The three-year old at the table loved it as much as the adults! Lauren
There is no need to boil the mandarins/clementines. I do so only if they aren’t the seedless variety but not for any particular reason except perhaps because it’s then a little easier to remove the seeds (OK and because I adore Nigella). I cannot emphasize enough how decorating the cake with fresh mandarin segments enhances both the texture and the freshness of its taste. The syrup might not be necessary, as you say, but it takes lusciousness and appearance up a notch, especially if caramelized julienned peel is added.
I have had very good results with recipe.
Do you think I could “boil” the clementines in a slow cooker set to high? It’s 97 degrees here and just the thought of having a flame on for two hours makes me sweat. On the other hand, I have a huge bag of fruit that needs to be consumed after my clementine-living daughter went on an inexplicable orange strike!
Always a hit. Very good.
Are the almonds blanched/peeled before ground?
I am wondering also if ‘almond flour’ can be used in place if ground almonds?
Thanks, and thanks for all the great recipes! :-)
How long should you beat the eggs for? Can you give some general guidance? Thanks!
I believe your calculations are wrong.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) sugar CORRECT
2 1/3 cups (250 grams) ground almonds WRONG perhaps you meant 1 1/3?
Can I use Blue Diamond almond flour instead of grinding almonds? The only ingredient is blanched almonds.
This was delicious! I used meyer lemons and oranges instead of clementines. For the sugar I used about 4 tbs less sugar than called for and brown instead of white since that is what I had. Also made this in our cast iron pan greased with olive oil, it popped right out. It took 40 minutes on the oven.
I’ve made this a number of times in the past, and it’s now a staple for seder. The one thing that always gave me pause was having to plan for 2 hours of boiling. But a coworker suggested using the instant pot – I put the oranges in with a couple of cups of water for 20 minutes on high and they were perfect.
Can you make the clementine purée and freeze it to use at a later date?
I bought a box of clementines, too early in the Christmas season and they were a tad bitter so I put the whole lot in a bowl, no water and microwaved them until they were soft. Used a stick blender to mush them up then measured 375g into plastic bags and put in the freezer. I just take out a bag every time I want to make a cake. Easy !!
This cake is easy to make. Definitely let it set up overnight, as it is soggy after being cooked. It’s a quirky cake, not sure if I liked it at first, but after eating it a few days, loved the clementine flavor. Gluten free is a plus. It reminds me of a snack cake you would have with afternoon tea:)
It’s odd, I’m new to baking and I re-read the recipe. No flour. Just almonds and baking powder. I thought the ingredients list would be more involved.
I’ll give this a shot.
Thanks and it looks amazing!
I made this as written with 1lb Meyer lemons and use the microwave cooking technique. The cake browned on the sides and bottom pretty intensely. I tried to trim off some of the browned bits after cooking and it looked ugly but tasted amazing. I decided to cover it with a glaze of Meyer lemon, fresh ginger and vanilla and then while it was sticky from the glaze I covered the entire cake in a topping of chopped candied Meyer lemon peels and slivered honey roasted almonds. It is now as beautiful as it is delicious!
Can you use almond flour instead of almond meal in this recipe?
They’re the same thing.
So yummyyyy!! There is an abundance of Satsumas in New Orleans at the moment, and everyone who has a tree in their yard (or branches that hang over their yard ;) ) keeps bringing Satsumas to work (kind of like Mandarins with the peel of an Orange). I took all the abandoned ones home on Friday and made this cake to bring back to work – it is a beautiful cake. I also had an apple sitting on my counter that I shredded and added in. I left it in the oven for 40 and will probably leave it in for 50 next time because the bottom is a little too moist. Will definitely make again with all the citrus that comes in to the shop!! <3
The Instant Pot is a game-changer here: clementines + 1 c. water for 12 minutes on high pressure + manual release gave a perfect result (cool them completely before proceeding). I also find that this recipe benefits tremendously from the addition of 1/4 t. salt — the cake tastes flat to me when made as written, but a little salt makes a big difference.
I wish I had read this before I tried to start this cake yesterday (which I made a few times a year and love), then forgot about the clementines and left them in a dry pot burning the pan for hours. So then I started over today with a timer set for every 15 minutes to remember to check the water level and add more as necessary. Cake is in the oven now, but could have been done a few hours ago had I used the Instant Pot for the clementines!
I had this in a cafe in Montreal recently and was hooked. I made it today for the first time and mine took 25 minutes in the oven, and the bottom was already way too brown when I took it out. Thank you for the heads up Deb, it would’ve been completely charred otherwise. Still, tastes amazing, going to take it to work tomorrow. I find it impossible not to inhale an entire slice. I love this cake. One of my favourites.
You will not know it is gluten free at all, my family loves this cake…I beat the egg whites and simmer the oranges with some sugar and vanilla, just in case of bitterness, as all clementines vary in sweetness.
no matter what, don’t add a splash of orange food coloring and then pipe melted chocolate into a spiderweb over the top for a halloween party. just don’t even think about it.
I’ve made this several times – the last couple of times I have covered the top with a thin layer of dark chocolate ganache. Sublime.
Could this be made into a loaf pan instead? Anybody tried?
I’m sure you can do any shape,just be careful with the timing. I’ve done muffins which is much quicker.
Any thoughts on toasting the almonds before grinding them? I’m making this as a birthday cake tomorrow.
I haven’t done it but I almost always do in other cakes for deeper flavor — go for it.
made a version of this last week with a pound of tiny satsumas from my tree. only 3 eggs, 3 cups almond meal, 15 minutes boiling instead of 2 hours. baked in a 9 inch tart pan. so delicious and easy. found the recipe here: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/minimal-monday-flourless-whole-tangerine-cake-gluten-free/
I have been eyeing this recipe for a long time and mentioning several times how curious I was and how much I wanted to try it. To the point that my husband got exasperated, bought the ingredients and simply prepared the cake. It was delicious! Don’t be like me, if you want to try it, just go ahead and do the cake! It’s a great recipe.
Deb! Is this missing some liquid? I made it this weekend at it was so dry! The batter didn’t pour–it was more like a cookie dough, and it just…turned into a crumbly, dry loaf :( I have never had a recipe go wrong from you and I don’t know if it was me or what. I was so sad.
This looks INCREDIBLE. And just what we need at this time staying inside.
Are there any good substitutions for almond flour? We have an almond allergy in the house. Is regular flour too light for this? Any tips would be appreciated!
As always, and especially in this time, so grateful for your site!
I haven’t tried it with regular flour but another nut flour would be a closer swap. After that, I might try an equal weight of a coarse cornmeal.
My son’s favorite movie is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty–there’s a clementine cake in the movie. For his 15th birthday this year, he asked if we could make a clementine cake together and watch the movie. He’s getting a pretty cruddy birthday with the pandemic going on, so this made it a bit more special. Thanks for such a fantastic, simple recipe.
Honestly baffled by people saying they don’t like the texture of this or that the almond flavor is overwhelming. I’ve made this many times over the years and it’s always a hit. The only thing that’s ever affected it negatively is the clementines themselves–sometimes you get an insipid batch without flavor. Nothing the recipe can do about that.
This is my favorite cake. It is easy to make, tastes wonderful, always turns out perfectly and is not too sweet. I especially like the lemon and orange version. Everyone who has ever tasted the versions I have made has raved about it and many ask for the recipe. Instead of boiling the fruit for 2 hours I vacuum seal it in bags and cook several packages for about 4 hours in sous vide, then puree in the food processor. The puree freezes very well and saves a lot of time if you need to bake on short notice.
Can you make this cake in a loaf pan?
Thanks so much, Deb, for your full discussion & adaptation of Nigella’s cake. I am so excited to make this cake, but I think I speak your language a little better than I speak Nigella’s VERY PROPER ENGLISH!
I loved this cake. I was looking for something to do with old clementines and came upon this recipe. I happened to have exactly the right amount of almond flour, so I figured it was meant to be. I had no idea what to expect. The cake was crazy moist. I made a simple chocolate icing to go on top and it tasted just like one of those holiday chocolate oranges. I made more of a rectangular cake and it only needed to cook for about 30 minutes. My mother thought it was the best cake she’d ever tasted.
I don’t have the springform pan, so instead used a 9″ cake pan buttered and with a parchment round. I put the left-over batter in two little ramekins, as I wasn’t sure how much the cake would rise in the 9″ pan. Everything turned out great, and I added some of the glaze on top. Yum – and so easy! Looking forward to trying different variations on this with other citrus.
Can this be sliced like a layer cake?
I haven’t tried to, but I do think you could slice it.
I am trying this recipe today. In addition to a box full of clementines, I also have a whole bunch of passionfruit. I’m curious to know if anyone out there has tried it with alternative citrus fruit. She mentions increasing sugar for lemon. I assume its the same for passionfruit. Just curious to know if anyone has tried it.
I’m all set to make this , yet I only have Almond flour- it’s pretty fine, not like the almond meal i usually get.
Do you think that will work alight?
How would you make this without the eggs? If possible.
This is not a cake that I think will succeed without the eggs because they’re fairly critical to the structure.
Forgot to leave a comment until now, but I’d been saving this recipe forever because I can’t have gluten and it sounded amazing. Well I made it for thanksgiving! While boiling the clementines, I destroyed a Le Cruset pot. Around the 40 minute mark, all of the water boiled off within minutes (I had to run to the other room, but I checked the water level RIGHT beforehand!) Ruined pot aside, the cake was amazing! I made a Prosecco glaze to go with it which worked beautifully with the cake and I’d definitely recommend it!
Can I use prepared almond flour or should I grind my own almonds?
You can use prepared almond flour.
I’m all set to make this , yet I only have Almond flour- it’s pretty fine, not like the almond meal i usually get.
Do you think that will work alight?
Yes. I used almond flour and it was fine.
Coming back to post my possibly third comment on this cake. I’ve made it dozens of times, for many different people, and once again it’s in the oven right now as I make it for my 55th birthday (it was a giant hit when I made it for my 50th birthday party–just my partner and best friend to celebrate today). I actually come back here to search for my comment from 5 years ago to remember how long I bake it–52 minutes in my oven is always just right. Anyway, it’s just a go-to, simple and easy, elegant and warming, and actually better by the next day or beyond, if it lasts in your house that long. I hope to be making this cake for many more of my own (and other’s) birthdays.
I’ve been thinking about making this cake for years, and finally did it. I used almond flour instead of grinding almonds, used mandarins instead of clementines and used a well-greased/floured Bundt pan instead of a spring form pan (which was in use to make the squash pasta bake, which is fantastic BTW and is on Smitten) I made sure my mandarins were cold after being boiled (As suggested in another review) and puréed them in a food processor before adding to the batter. The cake turned out beautifully. The flavor is fresh with all those mandarins, but has a slight bitter note, like what you want in a good orange marmalade. I love dense, moist cakes with no frosting…(i.e. Gramercy tavern gingerbread) this is very moist, but it’s more of an eggy dense than the hefty dense you get when making a cake that uses oil or butter. I sprinkled lots of turbino sugar on top, which added a nice crunch. I will definitely Make this again, for when I want to serve something sweet but not heavy. A nice option to have in rotation.
This is probably a 🙄 Duh question but did you add the sugar before baking, hot from the oven, or when cooled? Cooking up my citrus now.
I made this with Cara Cara Oranges, 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla and salt in a 9 inch cake pan, and it was great. It just barely fit and definitely would not have worked in an 8 inch pan. Delicious. Moist and nutty.
This reminds me of Orange Julius in cake form. No trip to the 80s mall required. I made this for friends with dairy & gluten sensitivities. I bought almond meal so it was super easy to make with minimal ingredients. It came out super moist, a bit too sweet for me but thats a personal preference. I appreciate this recipe and would make it again for parties. I’d like to decrease the sugar a bit but that might dry it out. I also wonder if the base would work with other kinds of puree, like pumpkin.
I need to make this the day before serving. Best to leave out (covered) or refrigerate? Thanks!
It should be fine at room temperature.
I have made this delicious cake many times over the years and it always comes out delicious. I have substituted 1 cup of bananas or mandarines in place of the clementines when they are not in season, and the cake still came out great. Generally I put slice raw almonds on top of the cake before baking, and powdered sugar on top of the cake just before serving just to make it look nicer for company. Each time I make the cake I am amazed that such an unusual recipe (imprecise measurements!) with such few ingredients can come out tasting so great.
I’ve been making this cake ever since you posted the recipe (thanks!) for holiday parties, lots of compliments and great for those avoiding wheat, but so moist it didn’t keep well. Now avoiding wheat myself, and trying to up gluten-free baking skills, so made again today with a few modifications: 1. used super fine almond flour instead of grinding almonds in food processor, 2. beat eggs and sugar together with whisk attachment until tripled or more in volume and very light, 3. Baked in 3 6″ cake pans (mostly to be able to give away to neighbors). Cakes are very light (a little like a Tarta Santiago), dryer (but still moist) – I think the smaller pans helped the texture.
Making this cake tonight, it has become a staple during clementine season! I actually think this is is one of the best cakes ever 😎
You can make the whole process more quickly buy putting the clementines in the microwave with a bit of water in a bowl, 10-15 minutes. If you have a pressure cooker, same thing, 10-15 minutes.
I often serve this cake with a chocolate glaze, decadent!
I had that curiosity about the instant pot expediting the boiling! Great idea!
Deb: this is a winner! Thank you for sharing! Brightened up a mid-winter dinner party and came together with the help of my 6 year old son before he got onto the school bus!
I boiled the clementines the night before and popped them in the fridge.
From there, assembly took less than 15 minutes—and I did it all in the food processor! After pulverizing the clementines (using language that excited my son), we added the eggs, then the sugar, and finally the almond meal and baking powder (mixing in between each step).
It’s beautiful! And simple! And elegant!