What to do when you’re feeling fancy, in the mood to bake, have that aching sweet tooth, and you’re still trying to be aware of your 2018 goals? I’ve got an idea, it’s Chocolate Clementine Cake. Can we just take a minute? How have I never made this cake before? I’ve heard of it, sure, from the movie Walter Mitty and Nigella Lawson swears by it. I unapologetically do anything that that Queen says.
Before I made a Karlee version of this cake, I first paid tribute to the original. And, it’s really really wonderful. It’s made with some very simple, wholesome ingredients that will have you clapping your hands at all its wonderful goodness.
Clementines. Almond Flour. Eggs. Sugar. Salt. Baking soda.
Yep, that’s it.
And with the very first bite of this meticulously-followed recipe for Nigella’s Clementine Cake, I swayed with the sound of angels rejoicing in my ears. And again I ask, how have I never made this cake before? Being me, being a middle child, I had to make it my own. What makes an orange-y citrus flavor better? There is really only one answer to that equation e=mc^2 — chocolate.
So, I braved the two hours it takes to boil down 4–5 more clementines and tested away to make this beauty. A dream of fluffy, gluten-free goodness. Then I made it again.
I love that this cake was never meant to be gluten-free. It’s not meant to imitate a stretchy, bouncy, gluten cake. It was meant to stand on it’s own. Like a French macaron. It’s beautifully dense yet incredibly creamy. All that’s missing is a deeply rich cup of coffee and the fluffiest socks of all time to bring you such joy.
Did I mention that we are using the whole clementine? That’s why we boil them down, it makes the skin nice and soft. The skin is really what makes the cake intensely citrusy and gives a bite to an otherwise bland, frosting-less cake. Yep, guys, no frosting needed. I’m telling you guys, this is the cake of 2018.
I’d advise making this cake with no preconceived notions of a clean and proper slice. It’s insanely moist, and the crumb is soft, which makes it deliciously decadent and kind of a mess. But, in the best way possible. Nigella says this cake is even better the next day, and she’s absolutely right. Eating it right out of the oven can be monumentally wrong. Accept this cake for it’s wonderfully flawed nature, that I think, we can all forgive given who we were in December. It’s soft and looking a little worse for the wear, but at its heart, it’s a delicious cake packed with flavor and good for you things. And when it’s all said and done, that’s what we all care about. Deeply.
Chocolate Clementine CakePrint Recipe
- 4-5 Clementines, about a pound total
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 6 eggs
- 2 1/3 cups almond flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
- a few sliced clementines for garnishing the top of the cake
Boil clementines for two hours, covered. Drain and cool. If your clementines have seeds, remove them. Vigorously mix the clementines together to until you have a thick paste.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pan, and place a round piece of parchment paper on the bottom. Line the perimeter of the pan with thinly-sliced, fresh clementines.
Mix the clementine paste, sugar, and brown sugar together until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, and mix until uniform. Pour into the prepared pan and place in the oven on the middle rack.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes. Any time I've made this cake the baking time varies. Be sure to start checking for doneness at 40 minutes or earlier. If it looks like it's burning, cover with foil for the last few minutes. When I baked it in a cast iron skillet it only took 30 minutes. It's done when it no longer has a jiggle in the center and is firm to the touch.
Cool in the pan for about 30 minutes. Remove from the pan by loosening the sides with a butter knife, placing a serving dish over the cake pan, and flipping the cake upside down onto the serving dish. Remove the parchment paper.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and shaved chocolate.