Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Clementine Cake

Whenever clementine season rolls around, I think of this supremely weird cake that I have made several times before. It comes from Nigella Lawson, but my understanding is that this recipe is ages old.

To start, you gather five clementines and cover them with water in a pot. Put it on the stove and let them simmer for two hours. They will bounce around, and their peels may split from the heat but just keep an eye on them from time to time and fill up the pot with water occasionally so they stay floating in the simmering, orange-scented water. After the two hours have passed, gently pour them into a strainer to cool so they can be handled later.

While the clementines are cooling, put ¾ of a pound of whole almonds (raw, unsalted, skins on) and a couple tablespoons of granulated sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Finely grind the almonds and pour them into a mixing bowl. Crack six eggs, a cup of sugar, and a heaping teaspoon of baking powder into the bowl with the almonds and mix until everything is nicely incorporated. Set aside.

This next step will undoubtedly surprise you. Cut the cooled, soft clementines in half and if there are any seeds, fish them out. Place the clementine halves in a food processor…yes, the clementines, in their entirety. Give them a few whirls until they become a nice amber puree which shouldn’t take more than a minute. Scrape the puree into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients and mix again. The batter will seem alarmingly wet for a cake but don’t fear.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and carefully pour the batter in. Place in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or so, covering it with foil midway through if the top is darkening too much. Test the center of the cake with a knife, making sure it comes out clean, and set it on a wire rack to cool completely. This is the sort of cake that holds well so freely make it the day before if you’d like. Cut into wedges and serve with a nice dusting of powdered sugar and a dollop of crème fraiche.

There are not many five ingredient cakes out there, and certainly none that could boast such a delicate citrus aroma and lovely crumbly almond texture as this one does. I find the crème fraiche to be an essential accoutrement for this cake so really, don’t go without it.

1 comment:

Scott Rohr said...

When I'm allowed to eat food again, I'm totally making this cake.