With so many clementines in the shops at this time of year, it would be churlish not to give this cake a go. It’s not dissimilar to the St Clement’s Polenta and Almond Cake I featured some while back, although this recipe has fewer ingredients and is therefore a little more straightforward – provided you don’t mind the 2 hours’ boiling time for the clementines. Ideally you also want to have the use of a food processor, but all is not lost if you don’t.
One key difference between this and say, a regular lemon or orange drizzle cake, is that you are adding the entire fruit to the cake mixture – peel ‘n’ all. This really bumps up the citrus hit and ensures an intensity of flavour that isn’t usually achievable without resorting to the use of fruit essences (highly concentrated extracts). There is also no need to faff around with drenching it in syrup as it is already melt-in-the-mouth moist.
The flavour mellows after a couple of days, so it’s worth making it in advance if you can.
Looks kind of uninteresting (especially if, like me, you manage to burn the top a little) but it smells divine and tastes wonderful. Once sliced, the crumb also has a rather attractive orange-speckled appearance.
Clementine Cake, from Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat
4-5 clementines (about 375g total weight)
225g caster sugar
250g ground almonds
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
Put the clementines in a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours. Drain, and when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the pips. Then pulp everything in a food processor (or by hand).
Preheat oven to 190ºC. Grease a 21cm springform tin and line the base.
Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almonds and baking powder and mix well. Add the pulped clementines and stir in by hand.
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour in the preheated oven, until a skewer comes out clean. Check the cake after about 30 minutes and cover with foil or greaseproof paper if it looks like it’s getting too brown on top. Once out of the oven, place the tin on a wire rack and leave to cool completely before turning the cake out.
Makes a perfect dessert served with crème fraîche, or have it with a cuppa for afternoon tea.