Poor Clementine. The darling may be lost and gone forever but her banjo-plucking eulogist doesn’t sound dreadful sorry. Listen, this bit of Americana twangs, you can stub your toe, fall into the foamy brine and live on in a perky tune. Dreadful sorry!

The young don’t seem disturbed by their diet of dreadful ditties. Those poor blind mice. Jack and Jill with their head injuries. That baby stranded in a tree. They grasp hands and turn in giddy circles, shouting with black plague nostalgia: “Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down!”

Now Clementine’s back as a darling mandarin. The thin skin is easy to peel and perfect in a recipe that calls for dropping the whole fruit — juicy segments, sweet peel and sharp pith — into the foamy batter.

Clementine cake bakes up moist and fragrant with just a whiff of bitter. Downright upbeat, given Clementine’s fateful fate.

Clementine Cake

Note: A Passover tradition in many families, this cake calls for neither butter nor flour.

Prep: 30 minutes

Bake: 1 hour

Makes: One low 9-inch cake, serves 12

11/2 cups ground blanched almonds (sold as almond flour or meal), plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for pan

2 oranges (or sub 11/4 pounds clementines)

6 eggs

11/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons orange-blossom water, optional

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Prep: Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan. Dust with 1 to 2 tablespoons ground almonds.

Soften: Wash oranges. Settle whole oranges in a bowl and fill with cold water until the oranges float. Zap in the microwave until very soft, 23 to 25 minutes. Alternatively, settle oranges in a saucepan, fill with cold water until they float, cover and boil until very soft, about 11/2 hours.

Swirl: Pull oranges out of their bath. Pull off little green nubs on top. Slice each in half along its equator and pluck out any seeds (Clementines lack seeds). Drop fruit — skin and all — into the food processor. Swirl into completely smooth puree.

Mix: Whisk together eggs, sugar, orange-blossom water, baking powder, salt and 11/2 cups ground almonds. Whisk in orange puree.

Bake: Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake at 375 degrees until springy in the center and a toothpick stabbed in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen cake. Unsnap pan rim. This moist cake is lovely unadorned. Or glaze with 1 tablespoon lemon juice whisked into 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

Provenance: Adapted from “The Book of Jewish Food” by Claudia Roden.


Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read or Share this story: