A very good friend of mine posted on his Facebook status over the weekend how he wanted a clementine cake ( whatever that is, he said). I told him I would make one though he would not be able to actually have a taste of it since we are living overseas apart. But at least he will know how it looks like when I post a photo of it on his Facebook timeline. Cruel, I know! Unfortunately, clementine, a hybrid between a mandarin and a sweet orange, was not available at the fruit market last weekend. I told my friend I make this really nice orange and almond cake, which is pretty much like a clementine cake. If you google a clementine cake recipe, top of the search list would be Nigella Lawson’s recipe. I checked it out and except for the different type of citrus fruit used and some differences with the amount of ingredients used, both are good recipes. I have not tried Nigella’s recipe, which I am sure is delicious but one thing I can assure you, my orange and almond cake is to die for as well. Seriously! When I first made this gluten-free cake, everyone who had a taste was very pleased. The flavour was spot on that I had one of those I-can-seriously-bake moments and really enjoyed that feeling of satisfaction, to be honest.
If you search online, there will be hundreds of recipes for this classic Passover dessert. So many different versions inspired by taste influences from Morocco, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Someone gave me a recipe she found from a famous cook show but I find the texture too dense when I tried it. This recipe I used is from a Family Circle cookbook. I wish I can take credit for it but except for one ingredient I omitted and the cooking time adjustment I did, orange and almond cake is classic and pretty straightforward with the basic ingredients it requires that it will not be fair if I say I created this recipe. But hey, maybe I can take credit for the orange syrup I made to drizzle on top of this cake just before serving it?
For the cake
- 6 eggs, separated
- 2 large navel oranges
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 300g almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 navel oranges, to garnish
- 2 cups fresh orange juice, strained
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup dessert wine ( I used Moscato)
- Wipe the oranges with a damp cloth to remove any dirt. Place the whole oranges in a medium saucepan full of water and boil for 2 hours, topping up water as it evaporates. Remove the oranges.
- Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 23cm springform cake tin. Tip out any excess flour.
- Cut the oranges into quarters and place in a food processor. Process until smooth, then cool thoroughly.
- Place the egg yolks and caster sugar in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Stir in the orange puree and mix well.
- Whisk the egg whites in a dry and clean bowl until firm peaks form.
- Add the almond meal and baking mixture to the orange mixture. Stir well, then carefully fold egg whites.
- Gently pour into the prepared cake tin and place in the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 80 minutes or until firm to touch.
- Cover the cake with a foil if it is browning too quickly. Cool the cake in the tin before transferring it to a serving plate.
- To make the syrup, place orange juice, sugar and dessert wine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until reduced by half and slightly syrupy. Skim off any scum that forms on the surface while simmering. Syrup will thicken as it cools.
- Peel the extra oranges and remove all pith and sinew. Cut each orange into thin slices. Cut the cake into wedges, top with orange slices and drizzle generously with the syrup.
A few notes by the way, most recipes I saw said 50 minutes to bake. Oven temperature varies so I would suggest you check it halfway through baking and after 50 minutes total baking time. You want a firm touch and golden brown top, not burnt! It took 80 minutes in my oven to bake this. Secondly, keep this cake overnight in the fridge and let the flavours develop overnight. Texture is much better, too. Then lastly, if you feel like indulging a bit more, serve this with whipped cream. The cake is good in itself. With the syrup, it is divine. With the syrup and cream, need I say more?