[RECIPE] Gluten-Free Clementine Cake

I admit it: I love food and I love making it (as if you couldn’t tell). No matter how tired I am, when it comes to prepping for any elaborate menus I decide upon, I would be there to do it. After all, a good portion of the time you put into cooking (and baking but to a lesser extent for the most part) goes into the prep work. I would be the one in the kitchen past midnight on a weeknight prepping for the next day’s dinner. With yoga, I only have roughly an hour to cook from the time I get home until the time I have to leave for 90-minutes of yoga so time is something I do not have.

I regularly browse cooking blogs and I came across a pretty interesting recipe for a citrus-based cake – a clementine cake, to be exact – a while ago and had printed out the recipe. Unfortunately, I don’t have the source readily available because it didn’t print out with the recipe. However, I thought it looked great – it used whole ingredients (literally) and was somewhat on the healthy side. It also had me do something I had never done before: boil fruit of the orange/citrus variety. I almost immediately decided that I would try it out one week for one of the weekly family dinners at my parents’ place and I finally got the chance to do it this weekend (mainly because I finally found some clementines).

As a note, clementine and mandarin oranges are in the same family but there are some differences (another site says that clementines don’t have seeds as they’re sterile but the ones I had contained a grand total of 1-1/2 seeds…). I won’t get into the technicalities, mainly because I am far from qualified to do so, but I may try this recipe again with mandarins (then tangerines) and see if there are any major differences, though I suspect there may not be to my inexperienced tongue. The only main issue is the amount to use. The original recipe’s amount of citrus to use did not match up with the clementines I got so I re-adjusted the recipe, because I didn’t particularly want to cut up a clementine to get exactly what the original recipe required. Plus, their recipe only made enough batter for an 8-inch cake and I only have 9-inch pans. I suppose it all works out in the end, but that is why the quantities under this recipe are a bit more flexible.

Clementine - 2

Gluten-Free Clementine Cake
(makes a 9-inch cake, or about 12 servings)

390 grams of Clementines
5 or 6 Extra-Large Eggs
1 cup of Sugar
1-3/4 to 2 cups of Almond Flour, sifted
1-1/8 tsp of Baking Powder, sifted
Sliced Almonds, to top (optional)


  1. Place clementines in a pot and cover with cold water with enough to spare (over the entire process, the water will evaporate and decrease). Bring to a boil and cover, simmering for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Drain and cool. Cut each clementine in half and remove any seeds as well as the navel/stem. Place in a food processor or blender (including the peel) and puree until smooth.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F and lightly grease and line a 9-inch springform pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs then add the sugar, almond flour, and baking powder.

    Clementine - 1Mix well before adding the pureed clementines and continue mixing until homogeneous. The batter will be thick and take on a lovely orange color but still of somewhat pourable consistency. You will need the help of a silicone spatula to get all of the batter out.

  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and lightly sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Check at around the 45 minute mark to make sure the top isn’t burning; you may need to cover with foil.
  5. Remove from the oven and let it cool. The top will be somewhat puffed but will deflate (flatten) slightly with time, but not by much. Once cool, remove from the pan. It tastes delicious the first day but even better the second.

The recipe was actually a really good guide and simple to make (other than the time-consuming boiling portion, which I ended up doing the night before). I’m not sure if mine ended up the same way because I made some changes:

  • It mainly changed because my clementines weighed in at around 390 grams, so I increased the almond flour to almost 2 cups and baking powder accordingly. I made sure that the batter was of a thick consistency, but still semi-pourable (but definitely not liquid). The picture of the liquid-batter above was with the recipe’s original measurements. Especially after I added the puree, I also added a lot more almond flour.
  • The original recipe called for 6 large eggs; I only have extra-large eggs. I still used 6 extra-large eggs, since I was increasing the ingredients of everything else and hoped for the best.
  • I started off with between 1/2 and 3/4 cup of sugar because I prefer my desserts less sweet. However, keep in mind that the puree is bitter, so I ended up getting close to 1 cup of sugar after I (thankfully) tasted the batter and then sprinkled a little more sugar over the top before topping with the sliced almonds. The original recipe called for 1 full cup of sugar.

I will definitely be making it again. Although it came out on the dense and custard-like side (I’ll try just 5 eggs next time and see if it gets more cake-like), it was moist and you could definitely taste the clementines with just the right amount of sweetness, but depending on how bitter your puree is, you may need to adjust the sugar accordingly. I tend to like my sweets less sweet. I also didn’t have to cover my cake with foil at all; it came out wonderfully golden and smelled amazing.

Even my health-conscious mom gave me a thumbs up with this and said that she would be requesting this cake again. Score! I brought the entire cake to dinner and came back with only one lonely slice left…

Clementine - 3

As a note, the recipe said that it tastes even better the next day! Now, the dilemma is how to share this tiny slice between three people.


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