Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Clementine Cake

I pride myself on being a good friend. If your car breaks down, I will come and get you. If you need a cup of sugar, I will give you one (note that I said “give,” not “lend” … you don’t even need to pay me back). And, if you confess your deepest, darkest secret to me, I promise to not post it as my Facebook status. See? Good friend. I will also peel almonds for you until my fingers bleed. I do this only because I have a recipe I know you’ll love and it requires this most tedious of tasks. But it makes me happy to see you happy, so I carry on ... (My fingers didn’t really bleed on the almonds, don’t worry. That would be gross.)

I found this fantastic and unique recipe for clementine cake on a great new blog I’ve been frequenting, “La Bella Cook.” Check it out sometime!
The cake is flourless and uses ground almonds or almond meal (which I highly recommend buying if you can find it in your grocery store) instead of flour. The texture is unlike anything I’ve had and put me off a bit at first with its subtle graininess, but I really enjoyed it the next day. I think the fine bits softened a little more and the citrus flavor came through increasingly well with time. It also seemed more moist after sitting for a day, if that's possible.

Making the Cake
  • I poured boiling water over my bowl of almonds and let them steep for about five minutes before attempting to peel. This wasn’t enough to loosen the skins as much as I wanted, so I threw them in the microwave, covered with hot water for three minutes longer. Perfect — the skins popped off easily. Once they were peeled, I threw them in a shallow, wide frying pan and toasted them for about a minute over low heat to make sure they were dry before grinding them in the food processor (about 30 to 45 seconds).

  • For the clementines, yes, you use the whole fruit; pith, peel and all. I weighed mine and used about a pound, which came out to five clementines (they were pretty small). After they're cooked, throwing them in a bowl to cut and pick out the seeds works well, too, so you can capture all the juice. They will be H-O-T when you take them out of the pot, though, so be careful and make sure to let them cool. If you combine them with the eggs too soon, you’ll end up with a scrambled mess.

  • Don't skip the parchment paper, even if your pan is nonstick. This is super-sticky batter and you'll need all the help you can get removing it from the pan.

This recipe is otherwise pretty straightforward. It's a delightful holiday dessert, especially if you have gluten-free guests at your table.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Clementime Cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson and La Bella Cook

Cake Ingredients
4 to 5 clementines (about 1 pound total weight)
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/3 cups ground almonds, (remove the skins prior to grinding, or use store-bought almond meal)
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
2 tsp. real vanilla extract

Whipping cream (for serving)
Powdered sugar (to taste)
Triple Sec or Grand Marnier (to taste)

Put the clementines in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to the boil, and cook for 2 hours. Drain and place in a large bowl, when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the seeds. Then process the skins, pith, and fruit in a food processor until a creamy, smooth texture is achieved. Remove puree from processor and set aside in a separate bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter and line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Add the eggs to the food processor and blend until scrambled-egg consistency is achieved.

One at a time, add the sugar, almonds, vanilla and baking powder. When this mixture is fully incorporated, add the Clementine puree and fully incorporate, as well.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean; cover the cake with foil after about 40 minutes to stop the top from burning.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool, in the pan on a rack. When the cake is cold, remove it from pan.

Whip cream with powdered sugar and spiked with triple-sec or Grand Marnier to taste. (Don’t use too much liquor, or your cream won’t whip. I use about 2 Tbsp. per pint.)


Emily said...

I really enjoyed this (especially the next day) and really appreciate all the hard work you went to! Next time, I’ll come over and help you peel almonds! FYI – just saw Almond Meal yesterday at Trader Joe’s.

jenny goodman said...

I have never tried to peel almonds. I have no doubt that it is hard. And yes...you are the best of friends.

Missy said...

I love almonds, I love cake, I love eating meals that have been slaved over. Sign me up for the next round. ;-)

Bridgett said...

I am so glad you liked the clementine cake! I totally agree, it gets better if you can let it sit. Thanks for the shout-out as well, I appreciate that! I hope you had a wonderful holiday.