I had 6 crinkly clementines which had definitely gone past their prime! Shrivelled clementines, tangerines, oranges… are so ucky to eat, yet it seemed such a waste to throw them away. At the back of my mind I knew that I’d seen a cake recipe using clementines before in Green and Black’s ‘Chocolate Recipes‘. When I opened the recipe book, I discovered that I’d even photocopied the recipe for a shopping trip. So, I must have wanted to make it at some point a few months ago… I wonder what stopped me… hmmm… maybe it was the expense of buying ground almonds? Anyway, I had some ground almonds leftover from a Lemon Polenta Cake baking moment, which was a good start.
So first, I had to boil and simmer the clementines whole for 2 hours. 2 hours! Perhaps I should have read through the recipe first before starting… (ah! maybe this is what put me off before). I covered the clementines with cold water, brought it to boil and then simmered it for 2 hours.
While the clementines were simmering away, I started to put the other ingredients together and realised two things. Firstly, I had run out of baking powder and secondly, I didn’t have 6 large eggs. Oooops… Quick trip to the Co-op sorted out the baking powder. For the second thing, though, I already had 5 eggs and didn’t want to buy more eggs. So, I thought maybe this would be a good opportunity to try out a friend’s suggestion for substituting a spoonful of vinegar for an egg (see baking tip: substituting vinegar for an egg). Admittedly, in the mixing stage, I was still wondering whether it would work and how it would it affect the overall taste of the cake. The cake mixture definitely smelt like vinegar; the baked cake tasted divine.
Anyway, here’s the recipe for Nigella’s Clementine Cake adapted from ‘Chocolate Recipes’.
4-5 clementines (I used 6), skin on to weigh 375g (13oz)
6 large eggs (well, you know what I did when I only had 5)
100g/4oz sugar (I tend to halve the sugar so do add more if you’d like it even sweeter)
250g/9oz ground almonds
1 heaped tsp of baking powder
100g/4oz good quality dark orange chocolate (grated)
1. Cover the clementines with cold water in a saucepan and bring it to boil. Then let the clementines merrily simmer away for 2 hours. I kept checking up on it to make sure the pan didn’t boil dry, because I do that quite often when I’m hardboiling eggs – ooops! Then cool them down by covering them with cold water again in the pan for about 10 minutes. Drain them and then cut the clementines in half to take out any seeds. Put them in a food processor and whizz them up so that the clementines are reduced to pulp – skin, pith and all.
2. At this point, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 and grease and line the cake tin with greaseproof paper.
3. Mix the ground almonds, sugar and baking powder in one bowl.
4. Beat the eggs in another bowl.
5. Add 3. to the eggs and mix well.
6. Stir in the pulped clementines to 5.
7. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour. At 40 mins, cover the top with foil or greaseproof paper so that the top doesn’t burn. To test whether it is ready to come out the oven, pierce the middle of the cake with a clean, cold skewer and when it comes out clean you know the cake is ready.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately put the grated chocolate on top of the cake while it is still in the tin – watch the chocolate start melting and smell gorgeous! Leave the cake to cool in the tin and then remove from the tin to store it in an airtight container.
The verdict? This cake is sooo simple to bake. Also it’s made with ground almonds and there’s no butter so, it’s gluten free and dairy free. The cake tastes better when it’s been left for a day and it gets really moist and gooey. The flavour of the clementines and almonds have also had time to develop too. So, let it rest a while and enjoy every mouthful. Mmmm… Mmmm….