Nigella’s gluten-free clementine cake is one of those miraculous recipes that uses only 5 ingredients and comes together in a food processor quite effortlessly. It’s a gluten-free wonder that can just as easily be served as a dessert as it can for tea.
Clementines are in season right now and I love this perfectly sweet, seedless, and super juicy fruit. Clemengold is a clementine that’s been cultivated to perfection, and whilst it’s best eaten straight up and as mother nature intended, I wanted to try Nigella’s legendary clementine cake recipe.
The beauty of this recipe is everything is done in the food processor, and aside from planning time ahead to cook the clementines, it’s pretty effortless. I had toyed with adding a clementine syrup to pour over the cake as I had done with my clementine upside-down cakes but then opted instead to make a clementine curd and stir that through whipped cream.
This added the perfect sweet finishing touch to this cake and made it more dessert-like. The cake has a slight bitter note from the clementine skins but if you are a fan of marmalade this will be right up your alley. It’s very moist and gluten-free (*substitute the baking powder with gluten-free BP).
I had 6 egg yolks left over from my brown sugar pavlova – so adapted my easy passion fruit curd recipe to use just the yolks and not the whole eggs. It worked out perfectly. The curd took a little longer to cook and seemed less firm but it was equally as delicious.
For a big batch that makes around 2 cups (500ml):
- 6 large eggs (free range only) – or egg yolks only
- 120g butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- zest of 1 clementine
- 1 cup clementine juice
Heat the juice, butter, and sugar in a heavy-based pot until the sugar has dissolved and it reaches boiling point. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly (about 3 minutes). Beat the eggs until fluffy in a bowl and then very quickly, whisking all the time add them to the hot juice. You do not want the eggs to curdle. Place this all back on the heat and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick. I allowed it to cool in the pot which further thickens it and then empty it into a sterilized jar and store it in the fridge.
This is wonderful to have on hand to create a dessert. It can be sandwiched between sponge cakes or biscuits, poured over meringues, dolloped onto pancakes, or turned into gooey tarts. It is also wonderful just spooned directly out of the jar.
Recipe – makes one single-layer cake (slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson)
nigella's clementine cake
- 375 gm clementines approx. 4
- 6 large free-range eggs
- 225 gm white sugar
- 250 gm ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Weigh the fruit cutting bits off as necessary and put it in a small pot, cover it with water and bring it to a boil. Allow this to simmer for 2 hours over low heat. Drain and set aside to cool.
- When cool enough to handle, remove the pips if there are any (Clemengold clementines do not have pips) and place the fruit into a food processor. Process until you have a chunky puree.
- Preheat the oven to 190C / 375 F and grease and line a 21 - 23cm spring form cake tin.
- I added the rest of the ingredients directly to the fruit in the food processor and mixed briefly to form a cake batter. It just seemed easier that way vs Nigella's alternative suggestion of mixing the batter in a separate stand mixer.
- Empty the cake mixture into the lined tin and bake for about an hour. Loosely cover the cake with tin foil from about halfway through the baking time to prevent over-browning on the top. The cake is done when a sharp knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin on a cooling rack.
- Serve with clementine curd folded through whipped fresh cream.