February 12, 2009

Clementine Cake

Apparently we all have a crush on Smitten Kitchen's clementine cake, because it's been making the rounds on the blogs.

Being as susceptible to suggestion as we are (when it comes to food), we went and bought a bag of clementines one Saturday and totally forgot about them for a whole week.

Then we boiled the clementines, as per the first step in the recipe. The weirdest thing was they smelled like cake while they were boiling. So anyway, the boiled clementines went into the fridge for four days because nobody had time to make this goddamn cake (but we all wanted to eat it). Then I made it, or something like it.

The Beater+ paddle makes a sort of squeaky noise when it scrapes.

Due to dietary considerations, I wanted to adapt the recipe to be nut-free, which is kind of a tall order when the entire body of the cake consists of ground almonds. I still wanted to have a dense cake, with a similar nutty flavor, so here's what I came up with.

Top to bottom: brown rice flour, ground flaxseed, all-purpose flour

A note on grinding flaxseed: If you screw an empty pasta sauce jar into the base of your blender, you get an awesome way to grind stuff up without having to clean a giant pitcher! I am so going to make pesto this way from now on.

Looks kind of like ground-up almonds.

I added butter just because, you know. Butter.


I buttered and floured a springform pan, then poured in the batter and hoped for the best:

This here is a photo testimony to why you should butter and flour everything before you bake in it. Look at that beautiful clean release. Even plain nonstick doesn't do it this well unless it's brand-spanking-new.

It's done! Looks a little naked, though.
Oh hey I sure do have a Meyer lemon in my fridge that needs using up, and a lot of eggs, and some butter and sugar...


It was delicious. Mellow, sweet, and a little orangey. Texturally, it resembled a dense banana-nut bread, and I am happy to say that there was a bit of nutty flavor from the flaxseed. The lemon curd provided just enough acidity to cut the sweet richness of the cake.

It's even better on the second day.

Clementine Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Nigella Lawson, who is totally cute.

4 to 5 clementines (about 375grams/slightly less than 1 pound total weight)
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons room temperature butter
3/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

1. Put the clementines in a pot with enough cold water to cover; bring to a boil and cook for 2 hours. Drain and let cool, then cut them in half and remove any seeds. Chop the whole fruit finely in a food processor/blender/by hand.

2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter and flour an 8" round springform pan.

3. Beat the eggs, then add sugar and dry ingredients and butter. Add chopped clementines and mix well.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 375 F for about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Meyer Lemon Curd
something I half-assed, with help from the Internet.

2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4-1/3 cup lemon juice (How tart do you want it? Meyer lemons are sweeter, so if you use regular lemons then I'd say do 1/4 cup juice.)
1 Tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons room temperature butter, cut into pieces

1. In a stainless steel bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whisk the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes thick like sour cream or mayonnaise (about 10 minutes). You can also use a Pyrex bowl if you don't have stainless, but it will take a lot longer to get everything up to the right temperature.

2. Remove from heat immediately and stir in zest, then whisk in pieces of butter gradually until they have been incorporated.

3. Try to let it cool down a bit before you eat it all.


  1. I'm glad the cake turned out so well with the substitutions!

    After I read this post I was browsing Creative Loafing's Atlanta foodblog, and my favorite columnist, Cliff Bostock, published this quote about Nigella and I thought of you guys:

    "Generally, I detest Camille Paglia, but she is spot-on in her description of Nigella Lawson in her most recent Salon column:

    'Speaking of radio enchantment, it’s happening in spades whenever British cuisine queen Nigella Lawson is interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition. I didn’t pay much attention to Lawson’s book and TV vogue, partly because I found her show’s trendy fast editing too dizzy-making. But anyone who thinks Lawson’s talents were mainly a function of her brunette mane and ample bust hasn’t experienced her as a pure, disembodied radio voice.

    'I’m on the record about the mediocrity of too much poetry these days (Elizabeth Alexander’s mundane inauguration poem was all too typical). Well, English poetry is thriving in the subtle, mellifluous, adjective-laden culinary odes of Nigella Lawson (who has an Oxford degree in medieval and modern languages). After listening to her on my car radio on the way to work, I often arrive for my morning classes in an ecstatic haze. But hey, let’s not dis that bust, which has gotten lusciously ample.”

  2. Plus I like using the extremely long heating time of the pyrex for making curds and sauces because I don't think I could make them come out right otherwise.

  3. making cake this weekend.

    I'm cutting out three of the yolks in order to cut some of the fat though, sooooo we'll see how it goes. I basically have clementines that HAVE to be used or they'll go bad and everything else is kinda lying around going "'sup, gonna use me or what" so why not.

    Not sure what I'm going to put on top of it though, I'm not feeling like making a curd this weekend.