Clementines and Chocolate are the perfect pairing for this gluten free, dairy free, fat free cake recipe.
Sometimes our favourite fruits can let us down with crushing disappointment. I once had a conversation with a friend where we competed to see who had the worst fruit for lunch. Phrases like ‘powdery mango’ and ‘woolly pear’ were bandied about. Yet for my money, there really is nothing worse than a ‘mummified clem’.
Do you know what I mean? The first clementines out of the bowl start out plumptious, juicy and full of sunshine promise. This lulls you into a false sense of security until you eagerly peel an orange orb to find the inside desiccated, dry and flaky. Unappetising and upsetting. So, you peel another, and another until you find the last edible fruit in the bowl.
I’ve learnt to recognise the most likely candidates for mummification now. The fruits feel almost inflated with air – the skins spongy and fluffy with no resistance within. Hating waste as I do, I pop these rejected fruits to one side to use in a gluten free clementine cake recipe. The clementines are rehydrated in a boiling bath of water before being blitzed to a pulp for the cake batter.
While I devour them throughout the year, I associate clementines most with Christmas. Alongside the golden chocolate coins and novelty toys, there is always a clementine in the foot of our Christmas stockings. They are as synonymous with this time of year as Father Christmas, Maria Carey and Mulled Wine.
So, this chocolate cake recipe is a great one of this time of year – teaming the classic flavours of cocoa and orange together. There is no fat (other than the oils from the fruit skins and the egg yolks) no dairy and no gluten. What you end up with is a deliciously moist, almost truffley cake which is delicious as a teatime treat or served as pudding for a family meal. Indulgent and reliable, this is proof that even a mummified clem can be brought back to life in a triumphant way.
NB. If serving as a pudding, I wholeheartedly recommend serving it alongside a dollop of Nigella Lawson’s Eggnog Whipping Cream for added seasonal cheer…Print
- 425g clementines or satsumas (circa 5 fruits)
- 235g ground almonds
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 35g cocoa powder
- 1tsp gluten free baking powder
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1tsp orange extract
- 6 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 25g 70% dark chocolate
- Icing sugar to dust
- Pop the clementines into a pan and cover with cold water. Put the pan over a medium heat and bring the water to a rolling boil before clamping the lid on the pan and turning the heat down to a gentle simmer. Gently poach the fruits for about 2 hours, topping up the pan with some more boiling water from the kettle to avoid it drying out.
- When the 2 hours is up, lift the fruits out of the liquid and place on a plate to cool down. You can pour the water from the pan away now – you will not need this. Once cold, cut the fruits into quarters and remove any seeds. Tip all the fruit (skin and flesh) and juices into a jug.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Lightly oil and line a 20cm spring form cake tin.
- Separate the eggs. Add the yolks to the fruit in the jug alongside the vanilla and orange extracts and blitz everything together with a stick blender until you have a smooth paste. Pour the pulp into a mixing bowl. Sift the ground almonds, cocoa and baking powder into the fruit pulp and stir together to form a paste.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until you have stiff peaks. Carefully add the sugar in three parts, whisking all the time until you have firm white peaks.
- Take a third of the egg white mix and beat it into the chocolate/orange/almond paste. This will help slacken the mixture. Carefully fold the remaining egg white mix into the batter in two parts – making sure there everything is evenly incorporated while preserving as much of the air as possible.
- When you are happy that everything is well mixed together, carefully pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and level off the top with a spatula. Place the cake in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake is ready when the centre of the cake springs back when you touch it.
- Remove the cake from the oven and work quickly to finely grate the 25g of dark chocolate over the top. This will melt into the hot cake and intensify the chocolatey-ness. Allow to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before carefully removing and transferring to a cooling rack.
- Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with a little icing sugar and sprinkle with the grated zest of an orange. This cake is delicious served on its own or as a pudding.
- Category: Baking, Christmas, Cake, Gluten Free
- Cuisine: Baking
Keywords: clementines, chocolate, gluten free, cake, cake recipe, gluten free cake, dairy free cake, fat free cake, christmas, alternative christmas cake