This is a little Spanish Clementine Cake recipe from heaven – when you bite into it your mouth is filled with sweet, juicy clementine deliciousness. I don’t make cakes often as I am always more drawn to making pastry (check out this post on how to make a delicious and healthy gluten-free pastry), but if I do make a cake then this is my go-to, as it never fails to impress!
Last November, Nick and I went with some friends to stay for a weekend in Seville. I came back a little obsessed with the place and have currently ordained Seville as one of my top three cities (along with Copenhagen and Mumbai). We wandered around the city during the day, stopping off in the odd square to sip on dry Manzanilla sherry – sherry is always my tipple of choice. Call me an old granny if you like, but I tell you: get on the sherry wagon, it’s amazing! We would lunch on the MOST incredible tapas – garlic cockles, patatas bravas and crispy calamari. The sky was blue and the sun was bright all weekend, so we mostly lunched outside. By 4pm, it was cool enough that a cosy little bar or cafe down a twisty street was a welcome bolthole for a glass of hot sangria, coffee or slice of something sweet.
The whole of Seville is scattered with orange trees that were all getting ready to ripen come December/January, and in one such bolthole that we visited, we treated ourselves to a slice of Seville Orange Cake. It had the most intense, juicy flavour and came with a dollop of whipped cream. So good was this cake that I had a go at re-creating it, but just in a slightly healthier format.
I have decided to use clementines in my version of the recipe – I think they are just that bit zingier and as the recipe is refined sugar-free, I thought they might work perfectly.
I had never made a cake like this Clementine Cake recipe before and the method is a little different to normal cakes. Instead of just using the zest of the fruit, you actually need to simmer the whole fruit (including the skin) and then whizz the whole lot up in a food processor. The result is a really intense, seriously juicy cake, and because you are using the whole fruit, you are getting flavour not just from the juice, but also all that flavour that is locked away in the zest.
So to sum up, here are two things I suggest you do:
- Have a go at making this – it makes the perfect autumn or winter sweet treat or beautiful birthday cake. I would suggest (especially if you have a really sweet tooth) that you decorate the whole top of the cake with the sliced clementines instead of just the centre. Also, if you are struggling to slice the clementines for the top, sliced oranges would work just as well.
- Plan a trip to Seville. It is honestly such a beautiful place and there are so many amazing things to go and see and places to eat. We stayed at the BEST hostel ever (which happens to be owned by some friends) – it was incredible value and they make huge fresh paellas on the rooftop for the guests in the evenings, filled to the brim with all of those amazing Spanish flavours. It’s called La Banda and if you are thinking of taking a trip to Seville, one of the owners, Olly, has given some pointers at the bottom of this post for some suggested places to go.
SPANISH CLEMENTINE CAKE RECIPE
- 5 whole clementines
- 250ml (5tbsp) of water
- 150ml of runny honey
- 225g (8.8oz / 1⅓ cups) of ground almonds
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons of date syrup (or runny honey)
- 75ml of clementine juice
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a 24cm cake tin with baking parchment.
- Cut the clementines into quarters, keeping the skin on, and place in a pan with the water. Bring the liquid to the boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook for around 30 minutes or until the clementines are nice and soft.
- Transfer the clementines to a food processor and blitz until almost smooth. Add the honey and pulse until incorporated, then set aside and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Weigh out the ground almonds in a bowl and add the cinnamon and vanilla. Separate the eggs from the yolks and add the yolks to the slightly-cooled clementine mix. Lightly pulse to incorporate (being sure not to overdo it though, as if you do, the eggs will curdle).
- Next, fold the clementine mixture into the ground almonds. In a separate (and clean) bowl, whisk the egg whites until they reach stiff peaks. Take a generous spoonful of the egg whites and stir it through the almond mixture. Once incorporated, fold through the remaining egg whites as gently as you can.
- Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer placed into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Meanwhile make the syrup by combining the date syrup and freshly squeezed clementine juice in pan. Simmer over a medium heat until the sauce has reduced and begins to thicken.
- Evenly pierce the top of the cake 10-15 times with a small knife or skewer so as to allow for the syrup to soak into the cake. Pour the syrup over the top of the cake while it is still warm and set aside.
- Peel the skin from 2-3 clementines, slice them thinly and use to decorate the top of your cake. I like to scatter some chopped toasted almonds over the top, too.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh yoghurt.
SOME TIPS FROM OLLY…
La Azotea – Calle Jesús del Gran Poder, 31. Boasts the best in modern tapas. Make sure you finish your meal off with the chocolate fondant and one of their desert wines!
Vinería San Telmo – Paseo de Catalina de Ribera, 4. With a great wine menu and delicious food, this is a perfect place for a lunchtime feast. Sit outside on their terrace (apart from in summer, when you’ll want to hide from the heat) and enjoy filo pastry filled with tender-stewed bull’s tail, squid ink spaghetti with garlic and scallops or their marinated tuna on a bed of seaweed served with wasabi.
Mammarach – Cale Hernando Colón, 1. The decoration gives this place a cosy and fresh feel with their vertical garden and exposed brick walls. The Papparacha comes highly recommended.
Nikkei Bar – Calle Calatrava, 34. – A fantastic alternative to tapas once you have had your fill of Spanish food and are looking for something a little more exotic. Nikkei does the Peruvian – Japanese fusion to perfection. Their wide variety of super fresh ceviche is an absolute must-try. Sit at the bar and watch the flames fill the open kitchen a metre in front of you.
La Cacharrería – Calle Regina, 14. This is the place to go for breakfast if you’re looking for a quirky spot. The only place in Sevilla that offers alternative breakfasts with fresh fruit. Or, if your sweet tooth gets the better of you, their cakes and coffee are worth trying.
La Banda Rooftop Hostel – Reconsider staying in a hotel, because you don’t have to be on a budget to stay at La Banda. Attention to detail is what makes this hostel feel like a home. From gourmet dinners to classy cocktails, the view from the rooftop of the cathedral lit up at night time will blow you away.