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Monday, November 25, 2019

Clementine Cake

If you like seasonal foods, here's a wintry dessert that can brighten your day with its sunny appearance. Don't be put off by the length of the recipe. The cake is as easy as zucchini bread but I've posted several options for topping it.


Clementine Cake

Adapted from Cook's Country Magazine
Serves 8-10

Cook's Country instructs cooks to make candied slices of clementines for garnish. They look very pretty on the cake but I found them awkward to eat. I prefer making a glaze with some clementine zest. I'll give instructions for both.

For the cake:

Altitude (3500-5500 ft) adjustments:

add 1 T flour
reduce baking powder to 1 teas
reduce sugar by 1 1/2 T

Note about almonds and blanched almond flour:

I checked with Cook's Country magazine about using almond flour rather than making your own by processing whole blanched almonds; they prefer whole almonds because toasting the almonds adds extra flavor to the cake. However, you can, and should, toast almond flour, if you use it. It's not hard; just don't leave it unattended for any length of time. Place the almond flour in a 12-skillet over medium heat and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring frequently until the almond flour has darkened in color and smells fragrant. Let it cool for 20 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. Also, make sure you weigh the almond flour since measuring it by cup will be different than measuring whole almonds. I also read on Washington Post that you can toast nut flours for 25-30 minutes in the oven at 250F. I'd advise stirring once or twice and checking as the end of the roasting time approaches.

9 ounces clementines (about five 2-inch diameter) unpeeled, stemmed
2 1/4 c sliced blanched almonds, toasted (or 7 1/2 ounces blanched almond flour, toasted)
1 c AP flour
1 1/4 teas baking powder
1/4 teas salt
10 T unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces and softened
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
5 eggs

Place oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a 9" springform pan by spraying with cooking spray. Then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray or butter the paper and sides of the pan.

Place the clementines into a microwave safe bowl and cover with a lid. Cook on high in microwave until clementines are softened and some juice has been released (about 3 minutes). Throw the juice away and allow the clementines to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Place the almonds, AP flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and run until the almonds are finely ground, about 30 seconds. Move to another bowl. (If you use almond flour, when it has cooled add the AP flour, baking powder, and salt directly to the almond flour in the skillet; no need to move it to bowl.)

Place the cooled whole clementines to the processor container and process until smooth as you can get them, about a minute; scrape the sides down if necessary.

With a stand mixer and paddles, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy for about 3 minutes. (If  you don't have a stand mixer, use a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar. Or if you've got a Bosch, use the cookie paddles on medium speed.) One at a time, add the eggs and scrape the sides of the bowl down if needed. Beat in the clementine puree until incorporated.

Turn your mixer to low and add the almond/flour mixture in 3 additions until just combined. If needed, scrape the sides of the bowl. Remove paddles (or beaters) from the bowl and use a rubber spatula to stir the batter a final time or two. Move the batter from the bowl into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Place the pan in the oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 45-55 minutes. Place the finished cake on a rack and allow to completely cool (about 2 hours).

Run a plastic knife around the edge of the pan and remove the cake. Drizzle with glaze and see directions below for optional candied clementines.

For a thin glaze:

1 c confectioners' sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 -1 teas clementine zest (optional if you are using candied clementine slices)
2 T clementine juice (or water) or more if needed

Mix  ingredients together. If it is very thick add water or juice, teaspoon by teaspoon until thin enough for drizzling. Use a rubber spatula to drizzle over the top of cooled cake. Let glazed cake sit on counter for an hour or so while glaze sets.

For a thicker glaze:

2 c confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 T clementine juice or water, plus extra if needed
pinch of salt
1/2 -1 teas clementine zest (optional if you are using candied clementine slices)

In a bowl, stir sugar, water, and salt together and whisk until smooth. If it is very thick, add water half a teaspoon at a time until the glaze is the consistency of thick craft glue.

Place the cake on a serving platter and pour the glaze over the top. Smooth with an off-set or rubber spatula and let some of the glaze run down the sides of the cake. Let it sit out for at least an hour so the glaze will set.

For candied clementines:

4 clementines, unpeeled, stemmed
1 c water
1 c granulated sugar
1/8 teas salt

Slice the clementines about 1/4 inch thick. Bring to a slow boil  the water, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and keep heat at medium. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved.  Place all the slices, excepting the rounded ends, in the mixture and cook the fruit. Use paper towels to make a triple-thick lining on a baking sheet. When the clementines have cooked until softened (6 minutes or so), place the clementines on the prepared sheet. Cool for 30 minutes or more turning them over once.

Just before you plan to serve, choose eight of the candied clementine slices. If there is any excess moisture, blot it away with a paper towel. Place the clementines around the edges of the cake evenly so there will be one candied clementine for each of 8 slices of cake. Serve.

This cake can be kept in airtight wrapping or a container for up to two-three days.

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