Clementine cake

Clementine cake is a cake flavored primarily with clementines. It may be topped with a sweet glaze or sauce, powdered sugar, honey and clementines, or candied clementines. It may originate from an orange cake in Sephardic cuisine. In popular culture, the cake played a minor part in the plot of the 2013 film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Clementine cake
A slice of clementine cake
Created byPossibly originated from an orange cake developed by the Sephardi Jews
Serving temperatureCold or warmed
Main ingredientsClementine fruit and typical cake ingredients
Similar dishesFruitcake

Preparation and variations

Clementine cake is prepared with clementines, ground almonds or almond meal, flour, sugar, butter and eggs.[1][2] Optional ingredients include orange juice, orange muscat, milk, white dessert wine, or Riesling wine,[3][4] orange oil or tangerine oil (or both),[3] almond extract and vanilla extract.[3] Some variations exist, such as being prepared without the use of flour.[2][5] It can also be prepared as an upside-down cake.[6][7]

The cake can be prepared with clementines and/or clementine zest mixed in the batter,[1][8][9] with them atop the cake, such as in slices, and in both ways.[2] The seeds and membrane of the clementine can be removed as part of the preparation process,[2][4][10] or seedless clementines can be used.[11] Whole, sliced clementines including the peel,[1][12] or peeled clementines can be used,[10] and the clementines can be cooked before being used in the cake batter.[13] The fruit can be chopped or blended using a food processor.[13] Candied clementines can be used atop the cake or as a garnish.[3][2] The almonds used can be toasted or blanched.[3][11]

Clementine cake can be finished with a sweet topping such as a sugar or chocolate glaze,[2][14] a fudge or chocolate sauce,[8][15] powdered sugar or honey.[1][2][16] Clementine cake may be dense and moist,[10] and its flavor may improve a day or more after preparation,[2][5][13] because the ingredients intermingle and coalesce to enhance its flavor as it ages. After being cooked, the cake may be delicate and can fall if it is wiggled too much.[12] After preparation, it can be frozen to preserve it.[17]


Whole, peeled, halved and sectioned clementines

Clementine cake is probably related to a Sephardic orange cake.[9] Sephardic Jews popularized citrus cultivation in the Mediterranean region[18] in the 15th century and popularized the use of orange in baked goods. In addition to its Iberian flavors, the cake also has North African and Spanish roots.[19]

Clementine cake played a minor part in the plot of the 2013 film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and was included in the opening scene of the film and in a couple of additional scenes.[2][12]

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has devised a recipe for clementine cake.[2][5]

See also


  1. "Clementine Cake". San Francisco Chronicle. January 8, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  2. Linn, Virginia (February 26, 2014). "The secret cake in 'Walter Mitty'". The Daily Herald. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  3. Goldman, M. (2014). The Baker's Four Seasons: Baking by the Season, Harvest, and Occasion. Montreal, Canada: River Heart Press. pp. 270–272. ISBN 978-0-9865724-1-8.
  4. Watson, Molly (January 13, 2015). "Recipe: Clementine Cake". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  5. Lawson, Nigella. "Clementine cake". Nigella Lawson. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  6. "Adorable Clementine Upside Down Cakes". The Huffington Post. March 18, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  7. McDonnell, Justin (February 18, 2015). "Kung Hei Fat Choy! Alternative ways to celebrate Chinese New Year". Time Out. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  8. Killian, D. (2011). Death in a Difficult Position. A Mantra for Murder Mystery. Penguin Publishing Group. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-101-55111-0.
  9. Willoughby, John (March 28, 2014). "Clementine Cake Recipe". The New York Times. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  10. Cook, Crystal & Pollock, Sandy (2011). The Casserole Queens Cookbook: Put Some Lovin' in Your Oven With 100 Easy One-Dish Recipes. New York: Clarkson Potter. pp. 176–177. ISBN 978-0-307-71785-6.
  11. "Clementine Cake With Cheesecake Cream: Lifestyles". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Associated Press. January 1, 1970. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  12. Lindahl, Nancy (January 8, 2014). "Sweet Basil the Bee: Sweet, little Clementines go into an intriguing, flour-less cake". Chico Enterprise-Record. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  13. O'Sullivan, Lucinda (December 4, 2015). "What to eat when wheat is off the daily menu". Irish Independent. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  14. Willoughby, John (April 15, 2014). "John Willoughby's Chocolate Glaze Recipe". The New York Times. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  15. Page, Candace (February 12, 2015). "Taste test: What's the secret to great fudge sauce?". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  16. Browne, Miranda G. (2014). Bake Me a Cake as Fast as You Can: Over 100 super easy, fast and delicious recipes. London: Ebury Publishing. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-4464-8917-8.
  17. Breyer, Melissa (January 5, 2015). "23 surprising foods you can freeze and how to do it". Mother Nature Network. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  18. Marks, Gil (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. Wiley.
  19. Colquhoun, Anna. "Sephardi Orange and Almond Cake". Culinary Anthropologist. Retrieved 28 September 2016.

Further reading

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