Clementine and Almond Cake
This citrus scented, mildly spiced and light clementine and almond cake seems like the perfect antidote to the overindulgence of the festive period, whilst still providing all those delightful Christmas flavours.
Toasted almonds give the cake a wonderful depth, as well as giving the cake a lovely moistness, whilst the blitzed little oranges and orange drizzle give this clementine and almond cake a very zesty flavour. The cake could also take on a more middle eastern vibe, by replacing the toasted almonds with toasted pistachios and by adding a little orange blossom water to the drizzle syrup. This cake is gluten and dairy free
4 easy peel clementines
50g or one and three quarter oz whole skin on almonds
five medium free range eggs
200g or seven oz caster sugar
200g or seven oz ground almonds
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp mixed spice
Firstly, lightly toast the whole almonds in a dry pan over a moderate heat, until fragrant and a few shades darker. Blitz the almonds to a fine powder in a food processor and set aside.
Put the clementines into a saucepan, cover with cold water and place on a medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for twenty five minutes or until very soft. Drain and leave to cool slightly before blitzing to a fine puree using a food processor
Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan oven)/ 180°C/ 350 Fahrenheit/ Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a springform 23cm or 9 inch cake tin with baking parchment, using a little vegetable oil. I tend to use a 20cm or 8 inch square tin for this cake which works really well.
For the almond cake, separate the eggs into two large, clean bowls. Add half the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk until pale and thick. In the other bowl, whisk the whites with the pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks, then gradually add the remaining half of the sugar, whisking all the time till you have a glossy, stiff meringue. Fold the pureed clementines, blitzed whole almonds, ground almonds and mixed spice into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in a third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to loosen it, before carefully folding in the rest.
Pour this into the prepared cake tin and smooth over the top. Bake the clementine and almond cake in the centre of the preheated oven for fifty minutes to an hour, or until a skewer comes out from the centre of the cake clean. Allow the cake to cool in its tin and cover with the drizzle syrup whilst warm.
For the drizzle syrup
juice of half a clementine (about 20ml)
a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice
35g or one and a quarter oz granulated sugar
Mix the above ingredients for form a thick syrup. Whilst the cake is warm, make small holes in its surface using a narrow skewer and pour over the drizzle. Allow the clementine and almond cake to cool fully before carefully lifting it out of its tin.