This Nigella Clementine Cake is an incredibly moist and very easy cake to make. I was surprised by the moistness of it, just one spoonful would have you reaching for seconds! If you love Nigella’s recipes then you’ll love this one. This Nigella Clementine Cake is the perfect summer cake, with the combination of clementines and lemon, it’s a classic taste.
NIGELLA’S CLEMENTINE CAKE
Nigella’s Clementine cake is the perfect cake to make when you have extra oranges to use up! A hefty amount of ground almonds and cooked whole oranges are the main ingredients in this cake, giving the most incredible texture and flavour.
I’ve been making Nigella’s clementine cake for so many years. It’s become a classic Nigella recipe – if you bake a lot, or if you’re a complete cookbook addict like myself, then chances are pretty high you’ll know this recipe.
Clementines are one of my favourite Winter fruits. I always buy a big crate of them just before Christmas for snacking on, adding to fruit salads or zesting into cake mixes.
If I’m totally honest, I usually buy extra so I know I’ll have enough to make this lovely cake. It’s always the first thing I bake after New Year. It makes a nice refreshing change after all the rich, heavy food from Christmas time.
It’s really the ideal cake to bake in early January – it isn’t too taxing to make or demanding of your time (don’t we all feel a bit lazy in January?) – although please bear in mind you need to boil the oranges for two hours before you make the cake.
This is hardly difficult though, and in the past I’ve actually cooked them the day before I want to make the cake.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
(scroll to the bottom of the post to find printable recipe card with ingredient amounts and instructions)
- Place the oranges in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil, partially cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat down and cook the oranges for about 2 hours. The oranges will be very soft.
- Discard the cooking liquid. Once the oranges are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and remove the pips.
- Place the halved oranges in a food processor and blitz to a rough puree. If you don’t have or don’t want to use a processor, the oranges can also be mashed up with a fork.
- Add ground almonds, caster sugar, eggs and baking powder and blend until you have a smooth batter.
- Tip the orange scented batter into a greased and lined 21cm round cake tin. Bake at 180C/160Fan for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake emerges clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.
Nigella says it’s the type of cake that tastes like it’s been drenched in syrup (like this beautiful orange and pomegranate cake) – only it hasn’t. It doesn’t need it. It’s hard to describe the texture of this cake to do it justice. It’s incredibly moist, light and has an almost perfumed orange fragrance.
- ground almonds replaces flour in this gluten free recipe. The almonds help give the cake moisture and texture.
- A small amount of baking powder is necessary to make the cake rise. Most brands of baking powder in the United Kingdom are gluten free, but always check the label to make sure. If you’re in any doubt, Nigella says you can omit the baking powder. I’ve never done this, but it’s worth mentioning!
- of course, you can replace the clementines with any other oranges – as I’m typing I’m thinking that a blood orange version might be fantastic.
- Replacing a couple of the clementines with a lemon is also a pretty good idea.
- This cake is delicious served on its own with a cup of tea or coffee, but I also love to serve it as a pudding with cream, creme fraiche and fruit. It’s especially nice with fresh raspberries, blackberries or blueberries.
- If you wanted to, you could make a lemon or orange icing to drizzle over the cake.
- I used to love melting a bar of Green and Black’s Maya Gold chocolate and drizzling it, Jackson Pollock style, over the top. Sadly, this chocolate now seems to be very difficult to find where I live. If you have more success locating it than I do, I highly recommend you try it. Believe me, it’s a pretty divine combination!
This cake will keep in an airtight container for up to three days. It also freezes well – wrap slices in cling film and tin foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Emergency cake in the freezer is always a good idea!
NIGELLA’S CLEMENTINE CAKE – GLUTEN FREE
I love Nigella’s Clementine Cake, which can be decorated with a sprinkling of icing sugar, or an icing drizzle. I have added dried clementine slices which add an extra tang to the cake, and I served it with a delicious citrus curd creme fraiche. It is great as an afternoon tea cake or with whipped cream, or ice cream as a fabulous dessert .
Ground almonds and the beautifully sweet clementines work so well in this single layer cake. It is moist and nutty and has proved to be a real crowd pleaser. If you like the taste of marmalade this cake is for you. I personally prefer it with the creamy addition of a citrus curd mixed with creme fraiche or mascapone. I used my Lemon Curd Recipe and added a few spoons to a tub of creme fraiche. But you can just as easily add whipped cream, as this cake already has a slightly bitter note to it from the clementine skins. If you use Gluten Free baking powder, which is readily available at most health shops, it makes it 100% gluten free.
To make the Dried Clementine Slices
- slice the clementines and using paper towels dry off as much of the juice as possible.
- lay them on a wire rack and place in a 90ºC/190ºF oven for at least 3-4 hrs or overnight until they are perfectly dry.
- this can be done beforehand and kept in an airtight container.
To make the Clementine pulp
- place the clementines with skins on, in a pot of boiling water and cook until they are soft . This will take about 40 minutes.
- drain the water thoroughly as you do not want any additional liquid. This is already a very moist cake.
- blitz the whole clementines, skins and pitch, in a food processor and set aside until needed.
- this can be done the day before.
Once these two steps have been done, making the cake is simple.
To make the cake
- whisk the eggs until frothy
- add the sugar and beat
- add the ground almonds and baking powder and beat well
- add the clementine pulp and beat until combined
- pour into a prepared baking pan and bake
Clementine Cake – Gluten Free
The Cake recipe is by Nigella Lawson – I have added dried clementines (recipe in the blog post)
- 375 g clementines with skin on
- 225 g white sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 250 g ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder (use gluten free baking powder if needed)
- In a pan, cover the clementines (whole with skin on) with water and boil and cook for at least 2 hrs. Drain the water away and let them cool.
- Cut in half and remove any pips and then blitz in a food processor ( the skin, pith and fruit until it forms a thick pulp.
- Preheat your oven to 190ºC /375ºF . If you are using a thermofan oven set to 170ºC.
- Grease and line an 8inch/ 21cm baking tin.
- Beat the eggs and then add the sugar, almond almonds and baking powder, until well mixed.
- Add the clementine pulp.
- Pour into tin and bake for 40 mins to an hour or until cooked. If it starts to brown too much on top you can cover the top with foil after 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin before turning out.
- Decorate with a sprinkling of icing sugar or a icing sugar drizzle.
Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Orange Cake
This has a very simple origin, which is just as it should be for a very simple cake. I think more people tell me they did my clementine cake in How to Eat than any other recipe, and when I was having some friends round for dinner one night, I thought I’d get ahead the evening before and try out a chocolate version. There’s something about its citrussy wetness and yet the lightness you get from not using flour that makes this perfect to toy with over a cup of coffee at the end of an evening. And it’s useful to bring out when you have to entertain the gluten-intolerant.
In fact, though, its sombre plainness makes it really the antithesis of any dinner-party gateau. If you want a cake to hang around the kitchen (it lasts for an almost spookily long time) to be sliced as mood and appetite dictate, then this is it.
|2 small or 1 large||thin-skinned orange, approx. 375g total weight|
|1 heaped tsp||baking powder|
|½ tsp||bicarbonate of soda|
|orange peel for decoration if wished|
You will need: a 20-23cm springform tin
Note: You can leave out the baking powder and bicarb if dietary requirements make that desirable, but in that case, I’d use a 23cm tin instead and expect it to need slightly less cooking time.
Put the whole orange or oranges in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until soft. Drain and, when cool, cut the oranges in half and remove any big pips. Then pulp everything – pith, peel and all – in a food processor, or see below if you’re proceeding by hand.
Once the fruit is cold, or near cold (though actually I most often cook the oranges the day before I make the cake), preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C. Butter and line a 20cm springform tin.
Add the eggs, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, almonds, sugar and cocoa to the orange in the food processor. Run the motor until you have a cohesive cake mixture, but still slightly knobbly with the flecks of puréed orange. Or you could chop the fruit finely by hand, and with a wooden spoon beat the eggs one by one into the sugar, alternating with spoons of mixed ground almonds and cocoa, then the oranges, though I have to say I’ve only ever made this the lazy way.
Pour and scrape into the cake tin and bake for an hour, by which time a cake tester should come out pretty well clean. Check after 45 minutes because you may have to cover with foil to prevent the cake burning before it is cooked through, or indeed it may need a little less than an hour; it all depends on your oven.
Leave the cake to get cool in the tin, on a cooling rack. When the cake is cold you can take it out of the tin. Decorate with strips of orange peel or coarsely grated zest if you so wish, but it is darkly beautiful in its plain, unadorned state.