Clementine Cake

December 4, 2013: A super update here.  I had a Holiday Baking Class last night at The American Table.  I pulled out soem of my favorite recipes and this was my #1 favorite.  I've been making and blogging this recipe for well-over a decade.  The original post appeard in 2007 on my old blog, then again in 2009 here.   

From December 2007: I've been thinking about how lax I was in November, for not posting any recipes. I went Pumpkin Crazy in October and then, nothing. Today I was thinking about clementines, oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling clementine...And that they are in season now. Which made me think about how cute and tasty they are, good for you and that they make a great snack. Then the next thing, I remembered a great recipe for Clementine Cake that I learned from watching Nigella Lawson, on Nigella Bites. She's the Goddess of TV Chef's. Have you ever seen her? She's incredibly beautiful, fun and her recipes ain't half bad either. Once I get over swooning, I've actually found her books and television show to be amazingly inspiring. She's a woman who doesn't profess to be a trained chef or tv marketing brain-child of the food network. She looks like a real woman who enjoys her food and drink, making no apologies about it. Take that Lollipop head, I mean, Giadia...

This recipe is an old Italian Recipe, found in many good authentic Italian cookbooks. I came across it in other sources once I began to research it's origins. It's flourless and uses no butter. It's good for anyone prone to wheat or gluten allergies. I'm not sure about the fat content - as you use ground almonds and eggs, but, considering how dense, moist and sweet it is, you only need a small piece to satisfy. I recommend baking the cake in miniature or small spring form pans. A whole 9" cake is daunting to finish, unless you have a large crowd to serve.

Adapted from—Nigella Lawson How to Eat: The Pleasure and Principals of Good Food
Clementine Cake Ingredients:
  • 5 small Clementine oranges –(about 1 pound total weight; you want to yield 2 cups of puree)
  • 6 eggs – beaten
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated white table sugar
  • 2 and 1/3 cup finely ground, unblanched unsalted raw almonds – (If using whole almonds and grinding yourself, measure out 2 cups whole almonds, then grind in a food processor. If using pre-ground almonds or almond meal, use the exact measurement given)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
Step 1: Processing the Clementines:
  1. Cover clementines in a pot with cold water and bring to boil. Don't peel or cut them. Put them in the pot whole! Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours; then drain and cool. When the clementines have cooled enough to handle, cut each in half and remove the seeds (if there are any). Some clementines are seedless, so this step may not be necessary.
  2. Chop the clementines in a food processor or blender – skin, pith, fruit, the whole shebang – until smooth. The mixture won’t be perfectly smooth, but you don’t want big chunks of orange either. This can be done by hand though it will take longer. If you want to make the cake at another time, measure 2 cups of pureed orange for each cake to bake and freeze. When you are ready to make the cake, take the puree out of the freezer and defrost.
Step 2: Preparing the Mixture and Baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Butter and line four miniature spring form pans. You can use an 8-inch size spring form pan, but you will need to adjust the baking time to 40-45 minutes of baking, uncovered, and then cook the cake another 15-20 minutes covered with foil to stop the top of cake from turning too brown. Actual baking time will vary, depending on the oven temperature and type of oven. 
  3. Beat the eggs; add the sugar, ground almonds and baking powder. Mix well and add the pureed clementines.
  4. Put the mini spring form pans onto a baking tray, to keep them stable. Pour the cake mixture into each spring form pan and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, check to see if the top of the cake is becoming too brown, if so, cover with lightly sprayed aluminum foil (prevents sticking) to prevent further browning. Continue to bake the cakes another 10-15 minutes. If you are using a large size spring form pan, or if you are unsure of your oven’s actual temperature, you may want to check to see if the cake is done. When a skewer will come out clean, the cake is finished. Also, when the cake springs back when you touch it (and your finger indentation doesn't sink into the cake) it's done!
  5. Remove cake from the oven and leave to cool, on a rack, but in the pan. When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan. The cake is actually better a day or so after it is made – the flavors bloom and develop more.  Refrigerate, but serve at room temperature, not ice cold.
  • Notes – Serve as is, at room temperature, with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, or as a special treat, with a drizzle of warm, bittersweet chocolate sauce.
  • I use whole, raw, unblanched unsalted almonds that I grind myself in the food processor. The extra crunch and coarser texture of the whole almond with its skin yields a nuttier and more interesting texture to the cake.
  • I’ve made this cake every Christmas for over a decade, and have even given copies of the recipe along with the cakes as gifts. Baking the cakes in the smaller spring form pans allows me to bake many at one time, freezing some for later, or for baking in advance. The cake will hold for about 5 days, but it is best to refrigerate it after one day. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.


  1. Well known here as a flourless orange cake and uses any oranges. I make it fairly often. Added decadence comes with a dark chocolate ganache topping. My favourite recipe is from the Stephanie Alexander bible "The Cooks Companion". Truly awesome reference & recipe book. I'd be surprised if you can't get it via amazon or booktopia.

  2. Very popular cake in my household too. Here in Oz it is simply called "flour less orange cake". All the more decadent when served with a dark chocolate ganache & double thick cream.

    I use the recipe from the amazing "the cook's companion" book from Stephanie Alexander (an Australian). A truly wonderful resource, it has almost replaced all my other recipe books.

  3. Thank you for the information and the comments! I'll have to look up the book and the other recipes. I've never tried it w/any other oranges or citrus fruit. I'm curious to see if it would work well with meyer lemons and maybe some oranges? It's a bit time consuming in the prep/wait and the ingredient cost to experiment too wildly with ingredients! I too love this with chocolate gananche!

  4. Oops - didn't realise both posts went through.
    Not sure about lemon, I use navel oranges. I've made a very successful lemon cake using thick plain (Greek style) yoghurt. Very moist & very tasty. It also works with Clementines and other oranges. The recipe is at, just be aware that Aus measurements are the metric.


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