This recipe has been haunting me from the pages of a Nigella Lawson cookbook for some time. It’s a fairly simple recipe with a little twist…whole boiled clementines are a required ingredient. I love the taste of orange and almonds are one of my favourite baking ingredient, but for some reason, the cake hasn’t made it into my repertoire. Until now. My parents were heading over for a visit and I was looking for something easy and flourless that we could nibble on after dinner, with tea, or if we just wanted something a little sweet. I remembered this recipe, tinkered a bit with the ingredients and instructions…I never have been one to leave things alone…and came up with a winner. Let me know what you think.
Clementine Almond Cake
4 small clementines, mandarin oranges or tangerines (about 375g total weight)
250g ground almonds
1 generous teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon almond extract
· Place the oranges in a small pot, fill with cold water until they’re just covered, bring to a boil and cook for two hours. Check the water now and again and top up if too much has steamed away.
· Carefully remove the oranges from the water and set aside until cool enough to handle. I usually do this the night before I’m making the cake.
· Cut them open and pick out the seeds, if there are any. Then toss the whole lot, skin and all, into a food processor and whiz until smooth and everything is broken down.
· Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 23cm spring-form pan by cutting a circle of parchment to fit the bottom, and then grease the sides.
· Crack all the eggs into the bowl of your standing mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium-high speed until quite frothy, about two minutes. Slow the speed a bit and slowly pour in the sugar. Turn up the speed and beat for about four minutes more, until the mixture is pale yellow, fluffy, and you can trace ribbons on the surface. Throw in the salt, extract and baking powder and give it a final blitz.
· Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in orange puree. When mostly incorporated, fold in the ground almonds. Pour into prepared pan and pop in the oven.
· Bake for about 60 minutes, when a skewer will come out clean. However, you’ll need to cover it with a square of aluminum foil about 40 minutes in to prevent it from browning too much.
· Remove cake from the oven and allow it to cool on the rack in its pan. You might want to run a knife along the side to release the cake from the pan so it doesn’t crack as it cools.
· Release sides and flip or slide onto a serving platter. It will keep well and it’s even better the day after it’s made.