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Clementine Cake

by . Featured in HOW TO EAT
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Introduction

This, an adaption of Claudia Roden's magnificent orange and almond cake, is a wonderfully damp, dense and aromatic flourless cake: it tastes like one of those sponges you drench, while cooling, with syrup, only you don't have to.

And it's such an accommodating kind of cake, too: it keeps well, indeed it gets better after a few days; and it is perfect either as a pudding with creme fraiche, or as a sustaining slice with a mug of tea at any time of the day.

And please read the Additional Information section at the end of the recipe before proceeding.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

This, an adaption of Claudia Roden's magnificent orange and almond cake, is a wonderfully damp, dense and aromatic flourless cake: it tastes like one of those sponges you drench, while cooling, with syrup, only you don't have to.

And it's such an accommodating kind of cake, too: it keeps well, indeed it gets better after a few days; and it is perfect either as a pudding with creme fraiche, or as a sustaining slice with a mug of tea at any time of the day.

And please read the Additional Information section at the end of the recipe before proceeding.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Clementine Cake
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Yields: 8-10 slices

Metric Cups
  • approx. 375 grams clementines (approx. 4)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 225 grams white sugar
  • 250 grams ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (see NOTE below)
  • approx. 13 ounces clementines (approx. 4)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2¼ cups almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (see NOTE below)

Method

  1. Put the clementines in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil, partially with the lid and cook for one and a quarter to one and a half hours (and see Additional Info below for alternative methods). Drain, discarding the cooking water, and, when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the pips. Dump the clementines — skins, pith, fruit and all — and give a quick blitz in a food processor (or by hand, of course). Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190ºC/170°C Fan/375ºF. Butter and line a 20cm / 8 inch Springform tin.
  2. You can then add all the other ingredients to the food processor and mix. Or, you can beat the eggs by hand adding the sugar, almonds and baking powder, mixing well, then finally adding the pulped oranges.
  3. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour, when a skewer will come out clean; you'll probably have to cover with foil or greaseproof after about 40 minutes to stop the top burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, on a rack, but in the tin. When the cake's cold, you can take it out of the tin. I think this is better a day after it's made, but I don't complain about eating it at any time.
  4. I've also made this with an equal weight of oranges, and with lemons, in which case I increase the sugar to 250g / 2¼ cups and slightly anglicise it, too, by adding a glaze made of icing sugar mixed to a paste with lemon juice and a little water.
  1. Put the clementines in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil, partially with the lid and cook for one and a quarter to one and a half hours (and see Additional Info below for alternative methods). Drain, discarding the cooking water, and, when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the pips. Dump the clementines — skins, pith, fruit and all — and give a quick blitz in a food processor (or by hand, of course). Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190ºC/170°C Fan/375ºF. Butter and line a 20cm / 8 inch Springform tin.
  2. You can then add all the other ingredients to the food processor and mix. Or, you can beat the eggs by hand adding the sugar, almonds and baking powder, mixing well, then finally adding the pulped oranges.
  3. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour, when a skewer will come out clean; you'll probably have to cover with foil or greaseproof after about 40 minutes to stop the top burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, on a rack, but in the tin. When the cake's cold, you can take it out of the tin. I think this is better a day after it's made, but I don't complain about eating it at any time.
  4. I've also made this with an equal weight of oranges, and with lemons, in which case I increase the sugar to 250g / 2¼ cups and slightly anglicise it, too, by adding a glaze made of icing sugar mixed to a paste with lemon juice and a little water.

Additional Information

It is possible to cook the clementines more quickly in a microwave, pressure cooker or Instant Pot.
For a microwave, you can cook the clementines on high (800-900 W) in a covered dish (with a steam vent) with a little water for approx. 8-10 minutes, turning halfway.
For a pressure cooker, cover with water, bring up to pressure then cook for approx. 15 minutes.

NOTE: to make this cake gluten-free, make sure to use gluten-free baking powder, or omit the baking powder altogether.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Store the cake in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 7 days. The cake can be frozen, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months. You may prefer to freeze the cake still sitting on the base of the springform pan, for extra support. Unwrap and thaw at room temperature for about 3 hours.

It is possible to cook the clementines more quickly in a microwave, pressure cooker or Instant Pot.
For a microwave, you can cook the clementines on high (800-900 W) in a covered dish (with a steam vent) with a little water for approx. 8-10 minutes, turning halfway.
For a pressure cooker, cover with water, bring up to pressure then cook for approx. 15 minutes.

NOTE: to make this cake gluten-free, make sure to use gluten-free baking powder, or omit the baking powder altogether.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Store the cake in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 7 days. The cake can be frozen, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months. You may prefer to freeze the cake still sitting on the base of the springform pan, for extra support. Unwrap and thaw at room temperature for about 3 hours.

Tell us what you think

What 104 Others have said

  • I cooked a 1.5x variant of this and it came out great! Added a dash of amaretto as recommended in the comments, and because I had bit more clementines I ended up adding more almond flour and sugar until the batter looked like batter. Melted some chocolate on top to punch through the zest bitterness just a little.

    Colleagues at work devoured it, what a fantastic recipe! Even without a food processor this wasn't too much work.

    Posted by Ambroos on 7th February 2024
  • This has become a standby for Friday movie night with friends. I often rotate other citrus fruit leftovers into the clementines (today I added a Meyer lemon and a lime), and usually add 1/c cup mini chocolate chips - because chocolate makes everything better! When I do that, I usually melt some additional dark chocolate with cream and a bit of cointreau for that touch of perfection. Yum!

    Posted by SabineE on 7th April 2023
  • I made this today and it’s currently sat in its tin on a rack in my kitchen awaiting me to come home from work tomorrow night and indulge in it. I’m so pleased how it came together, the recipe was a breeze to follow and I’m toying wether or not to make a very light syrup with my remaining Clementine and drizzle it over. It’s only me and my partner so maybe once the cake has been out a few days it might benefit from the extra moisture. Either way I cannot wait to try it. I’ve had a revelation with orange lately after years of neglect so I’m sure this will please enormously. I’m so pleased to own a copy of the book this recipe is famously from also. Thank you Nigella.

    Posted by LS1991 on 8th January 2023
  • I made this cake to use up some clementines on Christmas. I made a thinner pourable glaze (icing sugar and more clementine juice with a touch of lemon juice) for the top after baking. This cake is one of the most delicious I have ever made in 70 years of baking!

    Posted by CindyBrit on 26th December 2022
  • I used a pressure cooker to cook the clemintines and it only takes about 10-12 minutes. Love this with some monkfruit sugar for my diabetic hubby. Keto friendly that way.

    Posted by Tremblayii on 8th October 2022
  • Delicious and easy to make cake! Takes some time to soften the mandarins but overall was an enjoyable process. Enjoyed with a dollop of cream on the side!

    Posted by jesshei on 26th June 2022
  • I blitz the clementines in a large bowl with hot water in the bottom and microwave for 10 -15 minutes and then blitz which saves lots of time. Always comes out delicious.

    Posted by annanightingale on 1st January 2022
  • Thank you for this! And for generously sharing so many recipes. I’m baking this for dinner tonight. Merry Christmas!

    Posted by X10db on 25th December 2021
  • I LOVED this cake! I made it with two big oranges and lessened the sugar and added a splash of cointreau. Yum!!

    Posted by Luna93T on 1st May 2021
  • I love this cake and make it regularly with oranges. I add a chocolate ganache to the top when cooled so it’s like a giant Jaffa orange cake

    Posted by Judelit on 15th April 2021
  • I dropped 10g of sugar and added a tablespoon of Disaronno for an almond boozy kick.

    Posted by adafrankgallagher on 7th February 2021
  • Nigella Bites now on the food network channel at 7pm week nights. After a hard day at work watching this cheers me up so much. Nigellas food is pure comfort and . I seem to be living on her fishcakes and this wonderful cake. Agree with addition of zest, clemantine syrup and thyme or bergamont.

    Posted by KJ222 on 26th January 2021
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