Clementine Cake Recipe

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With the new craze of healthy eating everywhere, this Clementine Cake recipe is a great treat for everyone. This recipe is simple to follow and easy to make. Since the taste of clementine oranges is so strong and sweet, you won’t even realize that the flour and sugar are gluten-free and the fat comes from coconut oil. Clementine Orange Chocolate Cake

Easy Clementine Cake

This beautifully simple Clementine cake recipe is made with whole clementines and it’s gluten-free and dairy-free, making it a great option for a holiday dessert.

I love this clementine cake, and it’s one of my favourite desserts to bake during the colder months.

It also makes an excellent Christmas dessert, that you can conveniently bake and freeze in advance.

This beautiful easy clementine cake is soft and spongy, with a slightly moist and sticky texture.

It’s loaded with citrus flavour and it’s made without flour, butter or oil, making it completely gluten-free and dairy-free.

gluten-free clementine cake recipe.

If you have been following The Petite Cook for a while, you know I like to make free-from desserts (such as my magic water cake, flourless Nutella brownies, or these vegan and gluten-free cookies).

This flourless citrus cake is no exception, and makes a fantastic allergy-friendly dessert, no matter the occasion!

WHOLE CLEMENTINE CAKE

This unique cake is inspired by a traditional Sicilian dessert called “Pan d’arancio”, which means orange bread in Italian.

It’s characterized by an intense citrus flavor, given by the use of whole oranges, including the peel.

This clementine cake recipe is made with clementines instead of oranges (but you can definitely substitute them if you like) and follows this quite unique method.

You boil the clementines, then blitz them in the food processor, rind and all, with the remaining ingredients to make the batter. 

This technique is one of the most impressive things I’ve learned as a home baker.

There’s no waste and allows the clementines to play a starring role and give a deep aromatic flavour to the cake.

There aren’t many cake recipes that you can make all in the bowl of your food processor, so this is an extra added bonus!

INGREDIENTS

All you need to make this almond and clementine cake is just 5 ingredients:

recipe ingredients: eggs, almond flour, baking powder, clementines, sugar.
  • Whole clementines: Since you’re using the peel and all, go for organic clementines and wash them well before use.
  • Almond flour: It’s just ground almonds. You can use almond flour (made with blanched almonds) or almond meal (made with raw almonds).
  • Sugar: I use light raw cane sugar, regular sugar works just fine here.
  • Eggs: Use Free-range medium-large eggs, they’re about 55 – 60g / 2 oz each.
  • Baking powder: Make sure you’re using gluten-free baking powder if you have dietary restrictions.

DECORATION

Just like many Italian cakes, this is one of those beautifully simple cakes that doesn’t really need decorations at all.

However, if you want to impress your family and friends, here are a few extra topping options:

  • Simple glaze: made with confectioner’s sugar and clementine juice. Cut the sugar in the cake recipe by 1 tablespoon, so that it’s not too sweet.
  • Mascarpone frosting: made with mascarpone cheese, this is my favorite cake frostings and works really well if you want your cake super rich and decadent.
  • Confectioner’s sugar: a little dust of confectioner’s sugar is the most simple way to decorate the cake without affecting its flavour.
  • Jam glaze: top the dessert with a simple orange jam glaze for extra citrus flavour.
  • Almonds: toasted slivered almonds make an excellent topping, to make them stick, brush the surface of the cake with a thin layer of orange jam or greek yogurt.

HOW TO MAKE CLEMENTINE CAKE

This super easy citrus dessert is ready in 4 simple steps and with really little effort.

*Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe*

clementine cake recipe step by step images: 1 boiled clementines, 2 eggs whisked with sugar, clementines pureed in a food processor, 4 remaining ingredients added into the food processor, 5 batter poured in cake pan, 6 baked cake with glaze on top.

STEP 1 – Place clementines in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 50 minutes and drain.

STEP 2 – Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

STEP 3 – Cut the clementines in half, remove any seeds, then blitz them in a food processor until pureed.

STEP 4 – Add the whisked eggs, almond flour, baking powder, sugar, and optional orange zest in the food processor. Blitz for 5 – 10 seconds until combined.

STEP 5 – Pour the batter into a cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes until the surface is golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

STEP 6- Once the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan.

Feel free to top it with one of the decoration options above and serve.

flourless clementine cake

BAKING TIPS

  • To make things quicker, boil the clementines the night before, drain them, and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Proceed with the recipe the next day.
  • Clementines size may vary, so opt for a scale to make sure you have enough. You don’t need to be extra precise, anything between 350g to 400g of clementines will be okay.
  • I use a standard food processor, which is just big enough for the batter. Alternatively, blitz the clementines, then transfer into a bowl and whisk in the remaining ingredients.
  • I like to use a square cake pan, as it makes pretty individual servings, but you can use a regular round cake tin.
  • You can use a 23cm/9″ cake pan or if you want the cake a bit taller, go for 20cm / 8″ cake pan.
  • Once baked, cool the cake in the pan – it’s too delicate to remove it while it’s warm.
  • Store your prepared cake in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 5 days, though if if your pantry is warm, then it’s recommended to keep in the fridge.

RECIPE FAQs

Can I use oranges instead of clementines?

Yes, absolutely! You can substitute the clementines with an equal amount of oranges, mandarins, or tangerines.

Do I really need to boil the clementines?

The short answer is yes. Although the traditional Sicilian recipe calls for unboiled citrus fruit, I recommend you boil them first. Boiling the clementines removes the bitterness from the peel and white pith.

Can I freeze this cake?

Yes! It freezes beautifully, so it’s a great make-ahead dessert for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Let the baked cake cool completely, and then wrap it in plastic wrap whole or wrap individual slices.
Then store it in an airtight container or in ziplock bags.
You can safely freeze it for up to 1 month.
To defrost, place it in the fridge overnight. Once it has completely defrosted, pour the glaze (if using) over the top.

Can I substitute almond flour?

You could substitute blanched almond flour with almond flour (ground raw almonds). Your cake will be a little darker because almond meal has bits of almond skin in it.
Do not substitute almond flour with all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, coconut flour, or any other kind of flour, as the recipe won’t work.

Clementine and almond cake

Clementine and almond cake

This cake is a celebration of Californian citrus fruit. After the gold rush, the prosperity of this state, came from the massive cultivation of oranges. Californians treat citrus in the same way as the British view apples. They know all the many varieties and shop for them by taste and name. You can use any kind of small citrus fruit for this cake.

Preparation time

less than 30 mins

Cooking time

1 to 2 hours

Serves

Serves 8

Dietary

Ingredients

  • 2 large clementines (about 200g/7oz), cleaned
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 1 large lemon, zest only
  • 160g/5¾oz golden caster sugar
  • 100ml/3½fl oz olive oil
  • 175g/6oz ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder

For the syrup

  • 15g/½oz caster sugar
  • 1 large lemon, juice only

To serve

  • icing or caster sugar, for dusting
  • 250ml/9fl oz whipped cream (optional)
  • 2–3 oranges, segmented

Method

  1. Place the clementines in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20–30 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut the clementines in half and discard the pips.
  2. Put the clementines, including the skin, into a food processor and blend to a paste.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4, grease a 20cm/8in spring-form cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, lemon zest and caster sugar in a bowl. Add the olive oil and beat until light and well combined. Stir in the clementine paste then fold in the ground almonds and baking powder.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes or until well risen and golden-brown. The cake should have slightly shrunken from the sides and be springy to the touch. Leave it to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  6. Meanwhile, to make the syrup, warm the sugar and lemon juice in a small pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Make lots of small holes all over the cake with a piece of uncooked spaghetti or cocktail stick, and drizzle over the lemon syrup. Let the cake cool completely in the tin, turn it out on to a serving plate, dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream and orange segments.

CLEMENTINE CAKE

Soft and moist with a sweet juicy flavor, this is one citrus dessert you won’t want to miss! Clementine cake is a must-try for the holidays!

Soft and Moist Clementine Cake Recipe

I can’t believe Christmas is just a few days away! If you’re still stuck on what dessert to make, this recipe is for you! Nothing screams “holiday” quite like a homemade cake loaded with amazing citrus or cranberry flavor. This clementine cake in particular is the perfect addition to any holiday dinner. It’s warm, soft, and supremely moist with juicy flavor loaded in each bite. It’s also a great way to use up that bag of Cuties on your counter!

This cake is put together much like an upside-down cake is. It starts with an amazing brown sugar butter glaze that drizzles down once you flip your cake. The moist and tender texture combined with the perfect citrus flavor makes this the ultimate holiday treat. It has such a beautiful presentation your family will be eyeballing it all throughout dinner! It’s definitely worth the wait!

Ingredients for Clementine Cake

This recipe does have a bit of a lengthy ingredient list, but each is necessary for creating the ultimate citrus dessert! This has quickly become a favorite in my family. I know you’ll love how it turns out, too! If you’re looking for individual measurements, they can be found below in the printable recipe card.

  • Butter: Melted butter adds richness, moisture, and helps the batter mix together smoothly.
  • Brown Sugar: For that perfect caramelized sweetness! Brown sugar adds a nice deep sweetness to cakes.
  • Clementines: Thin clementine slices line the bottom of your cake pan to infuse flavor. Once your cake is flipped onto a plate, they also give it a beautiful presentation!
  • Granulated Sugar: Next up, we have white sugar! I add this to sweeten up the whole cake.
  • Clementine Zest: Zest gives your clementine cake its mouthwatering aromatics.
  • Cake Flour: I like using cake flour for its delicate crumb. You can also substitute this for all-purpose or almond flour. Just keep in mind that it will alter the texture of your cake slightly!
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Skip these crucial ingredients, and your cake will be as hard as a rock.
  • Salt: A little salt is added to balance flavors.

Wet Ingredients

  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk is what makes this cake so moist and tasty! If you don’t have it on hand, it’s super easy to make at home!
  • Fresh Clementine Juice: Clementine juice will give your cake the most amazing flavor. It makes each bite nice and juicy!
  • Vanilla: Added to sweeten and give your cake a more complex flavor. Use pure vanilla extract for the best results!
  • Vegetable Oil: Another great ingredient to keep your cake moist!
  • Egg Whites: Egg whites make your cake fluffy and delicious.

Making a Tasty Clementine Cake

Making clementine cake is just as easy as making a boxed cake! In just a few steps of mixing and layering, you’ll have an amazing dessert in the oven! Waiting for it to bake is the hardest part. It smells so good!

  1. Preheat Oven, Arrange Clementine Slices: First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease one 8 inch round cake with nonstick cooking spray. Next, pour the melted butter into the pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Arrange the sliced clementines over the butter and sugar. Set aside while the batter is prepared.
  2. Clementine Sugar: In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the zest of the clementines until fragrant.
  3. Whisk Dry Ingredients: Then, in a large bowl, whisk together the clementine sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add in Wet Ingredients: To the same bowl, add the buttermilk, clementine juice, vanilla, and oil and beat with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or a hand mixer just until fully combined.
  5. Prep Egg Whites: In another bowl, whip the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the cake batter to loosen it up, followed by the remaining egg whites. Fold just until no streaks of egg whites remain and the batter is fully combined.
  6. Bake: Next, pour the batter into the cake pan over the sliced clementines. Bake for 30-35 minutes, just until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed on or a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool and Serve: Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate or cake stand. It is best served immediately, but can be wrapped in plastic and stored for up to 3 days at room temperature.
4 pictures of preparing cake batter and adding to pan over clementine slices.

Making a Successful Clementine Cake

Here are a few simple tips to make sure your clementine cake turns out as delicious as possible. It’s going to be a hit this Christmas!

  • Working With Egg Whites: Egg whites can be fickle. You want to be careful with them or they’ll deflate and you won’t get that fluffy effect in your cake. When mixing, only whip until medium peaks form. If you overmix, your egg whites will become clumpy. Also, when adding your egg whites into your cake batter, fold in gently so they don’t collapse. You never want to mix egg whites with a heavy hand.
  • Use Enough Cooking Spray: Be sure to coat the bottom of your pan generously with cooking spray or you’ll have a difficult time sliding your cake out.
  • Allow to Cool: Before you invert your cake, let it cool for at least 10 minutes. This will give it a chance to set and solidify.
  • Make it Nutty: Feel free to add chopped walnuts or pecans to your batter for a boost of texture and nutty flavor!
  • Toppings: You can drizzle your clementine cake with white, milk or dark chocolate, or even caramel to give it some extra indulgence. This cake is also tasty served with a little whipped cream on top for extra moisture.
Top-down view of a full clementine cake.

Storing Leftovers

Clementine cake is great to have as leftovers! I love having a slice for breakfast or throughout the day when I’m craving something sweet. It’s also perfect alongside a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. You’ll love it!

  • At Room Temperature: Store in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap. Your cake will last for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: For that just out of the oven goodness, pop a slice of clementine cake into the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.

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