Clementines will always remind me of my stepson Alex, as he and his Dad would sit together devouring a few of them after dinner or mid-afternoon on weekends. We made sure to keep a backup bag stored away, just in case.  In our neck of the woods, they are sold as cuties, a well-chosen name. This cake – made in the food processor – is supposed to be very easy.  Of course,  Sally + Cake = Drama.  But it  ended reasonably well, except for a burn on my right hand. Actually, two burns.  A sticky kitchen floor. And a major spill of orange extract.


(From Razzle Dazzle Recipes)

3 clementines
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt

1 clementine
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (I used orange extract, about 1/4 tsp)

Grease an 8-cup bundt pan. Peel clementines; cut into quarters. If there are seeds, remove them (they are normally seedless).  Process with sugar in food processor until smooth. Add butter, then eggs; processing after each addition until smooth.  Add flour, baking powder, and pinch of salt; process until combined. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake in 350-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan.

For icing: Grate and squeeze juice from clementine. In food processor, measure 1 teaspoon rind and 2 tablespoons juice; add butter, confectioners’ sugar and liqueur. Process until smooth. Drizzle over cake.


to print the recipe, click here


At some point I would like to be able to bake a cake smoothly. No bumps, no boo-boos.  In this particular case, the cake part went fine, except for the fact that since our oven is a perverse piece of equipment, I had to keep moving the pan around to try to cook it evenly.  Burned my hand twice in the process, touching the grids. I thought I was off the hook, and proceeded to make the icing.  Knowing how powdered sugar has a tendency to make a mess, I was extra careful measuring the first cup, and then, all confident in my flawless technique, grabbed the 1/3 measuring cup but the bag literally Poltergeisted on me!  Powdered sugar everywhere, counter, floor, rug, my shoes…   Truth be told, not the first time it happened, and I suspect it won’t be the last.  (sigh)  No time to clean then, just chased the dogs away, failing to  notice I had the bottle of orange extract already open next to the food processor.  I bumped it. Double mess to clean up, a sticky mixture of powdered sugar and orange extract.  Its smell lingered for a looong while…

Although I greased the pan well, some parts of the cake stuck while unmolding.  I went Zen, and carefully lifted the stuck parts, patching them nicely back on top of the cake.  I expected the icing to hide my poor baking skills.   That takes me to the icing part. Since I did not have orange liqueur and the orange extract seemed quite strong, I reduced the amount to 1/4 teaspoon.  Eyeballed a little water to compensate. It seemed too thick, so I added more water.  That was a mistake in judgment.  The icing ended up too thin and failed to cover the cut and paste job on the surface of the cake. It explains why you only see a close-up photo of my production… I may not know how to bake a perfect cake, but I can point the camera like a pro!  😉 Anyway, I took the cake to the department already sliced, so the boo-boos were less evident.

The cake has a very intense clementine flavor, if you like cakes that are not too sweet, this is a great option.  Of course, it does have a lot of sugar in it, but the clementine juice and zest comes through loud and clear.   A perfect cake to make graduate students happy.  And lots of staff and faculty members too…


ONE YEAR AGO: Springtime Spinach Risotto

TWO YEARS AGO: The end of green bean cruelty

THREE YEARS AGO: Torta di Limone e Mandorle

37 thoughts on “CLEMENTINE CAKE

  1. Sally, too funny! Powdered sugar is a dangerous substance indeed!

    I really cannot understand how you can make masterpieces in form of bread and be afraid of cake, that is so much easier, less “finicky”

    keep trying, I know you will soon post a trouble-free layered cake with icing on top 🙂


  2. It’s too bad Mike’s not at the same university as you both. Not only would it be a pleasure to be closer, but you sure keep your department well-fed with delicious treats. This looks heavenly. I’m with you on the cake baking issue. I should try your going Zen trick. I have my summer birthdays coming up and Mr. N has been known to request a cake every now and then. I think I’m going to suggest this one for Miss A though – she is my orange juice and cutie junkie. 🙂


  3. I pretty much always end up burnt when I make cake so don’t feel bad! I wasn’t as into citrus this year as I normally am but maybe I should make this cake before the season is totally over! It sounds quite refreshing and delicious!


    • Burn number 1 won’t leave a scar. Burn number 2 was a bad one. One would think that after being burnt once I would be more careful… noooo, not the case. I will have a scar for a while (for life?… maybe… :()


  4. Sorry about your hands – ouch! It’s a funny thing baking, I have a reliable gas stove/oven but even at that, I can’t seem to avoid the lumps and pumps either – cheesecakes are a particular challenge – and yet, still very edible ;-). This looks delicious Sally – I love the idea of a clementine cake and the chunky pieces look amazing!


  5. Being a former graduate student myself and having attended more than a few pot-lucks in my day, I concur with your comment that food makes graduate students happy. Any kind of food. 🙂

    I often burn myself when I bake or cook as well. And then there are the sliced fingers.

    The cake looks good whether as a whole or in pieces.


  6. Well, Sally, I learned something new here today. You and I must never attempt to bake something together. No telling how far the devastation would stretch nor how many lives would be lost. Still, I do love my Cuties, though, and the thought of having cake that tastes like them is very enticing. If only I hadn’t thrown out my bundt pan — cake included — the last time I tried to use it. See? Never in the same kitchen.


    • My gosh, John! from your Bundt cake episode, there is really no telling how many lives would be lost if you and I share the same kitchen with any type of cake in mind….

      let’s avoid that – but I’m up for some home made pasta and sugo a la Bolognese!


  7. I hope those burns heal quickly. The finished cake is lovely and I can’t wait to try it. I love citrus flavor so your recipe has my name written all over it 🙂 I hope your weekend is off to a great start.Blessings…Mary.


  8. This is such a lovely cake. I love clementine and can’t wait to get some fresh ones from my In-Law’s garden to make this cake. It’s okay if the cake doesn’t look “perfect”, I’m sure it tastes perfect. 😉 You don’t know how many times a cake stuck in a cake pan in my kitchen, and the worst is that it refused to come out no matter what I did! hahaha….so, it’s okay. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far. Take care.


    • I love cakes with almond flour or ground almonds! I am going to keep that recipe in mind for the future. Of course, you know that I can only bake one cake per couple of months maximum. More often than that and the known universe is at risk.


  9. What a beautiful cake, Sally. It looks so very moist. Clementines remind me of my husband. He can eat a pound in one sitting. Thank you for sharing. Another lovely recipe and another lovely post.


  10. Pingback: Strawberry Cake {Secret Recipe Club} - Homemade Cravings

  11. Dear Sally, almost started making this recipe since we’re having a crazy all-tangerine season here in Russia (thought to use them instead of clementines). I couldn’t figure out where and when the butter comes in? After I mix the fruit with sugar? Thank you!


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