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Clementine Cake - ground almond and pan questions.

I'm making Nigella Clementine cake for the first time. Can I grind the almonds in a blender? I don't have access to a food processor. There seem to be different thoughts on using blanched almonds vs. non-blanched.

Also - the pan - my Mom has a Bundt pan, a pineapple upside down cake pan and 8" cake pans. I'm going to try to find an 8" springform per the recipes, but not sure I'll be successful. Any thoughts on which to go with?

Again - TIA!

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  1. Yes, you can grind nuts in a blender. Pulse, as you would in a food processor, and keep checking. It would probably be a good idea to add a bit of whatever flour you're using in the recipe to the nuts to help keep them dry and so they'll grind more uniformly.

    I don't even know what a pineapple upside down cake pan is. ;-)

    4 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      I think it has indentations for the pineapple rings! Haven't dug into the cupboard yet to check it out again. Thanks for the almond tip.

      1. re: JoanN

        I have one in the oven as I type made with regular oranges. Since there is no flour in this recipe, I grind the nuts along with the sugar (I used "sugar in the raw"). My house smells so good! Enjoy.

        1. re: Marge

          Oh, sorry. Don't know the recipe. And you're right. Sugar will have the same effect.

      2. I would *not* bake it in any kind of pan with ridges or indentations -- it sticks like crazy, which is why the original recipe calls for lining the springform with parchment. Also, the recipe fills an 8-inch springform almost to the rim, and it tends to ooze over a bit when it cooks, so if you use a regular 8-inch pan, you might want to put a parchment collar around the inside and extend it past the rim.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Great - thanks - do you think a regular 9" would be better then?

          1. re: MMRuth

            A nine-inch would probably work okay (and probably cook faster -- mine always takes longer than the hour the recipe calls for). But since the cake doesn't rise much, it might be thinner than you would like.

          2. re: Ruth Lafler

            Ditto on the sticking! I put parchment on the bottom and sides of the springform pan when I baked it. When I used a bundt pan at a later date, with a tube middle, pieces of the cake broke off and it looked really awful but still tasted fantastic.

            I'm now in love with the polenta/rice flour/ground almond cake in my new Rose Bakery Cookbook. More stable than the clementine cake.

            1. re: oakjoan

              Do you have a link or can you share the recipe for the polenta/rice/almond cake?

                1. re: Shrinkrap

                  thanks, that's a good one too - there are a lot of similar recipes out there. but in addition to rice flour, the Rose Bakery recipe also contains lemon, not orange.

                  i may have to just go to the bookstore & copy it down from the book!

              1. re: oakjoan

                i know this post is a couple of years old, but oakjoan, if you see this (or if someone else does who can help), would you be willing to post the Rose Bakery Lemon, Rice & Polenta Cake recipe? i've been wanting to get my hands on that one for a while.


              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                I made the cake again today (third time in a week!), and this time I think I perfected it! After suggesting that someone make a parchment collar, I decided to try it. The first time I didn't get the paper in right, but I still thought the cake came out much better: it rose more and even though the top cracked, it was still a prettier shape than the flatter shape you get without the collar. This time I got the parchment in just right, and the cake came out perfectly: evenly browned and slightly domed; the paper slipped off easily, leaving the sides smooth and browned.

              3. I just took one of the oven -- I used a 9-inch nonstick loose-bottom tube pan and I baked for about 45 minutes at 325. I just ran a knife around the edge before I popped the bottom off and it came out just fine.

                1. When I saw this topic--clementine cake--and then looked at the recipe, I thought, hmmmm, that sounds familiar.

                  This cake originated with James Beard. It's in *The New James Beard*, which was published in the early 1980s. The original recipe called for two large navel oranges rather than Nigella's clementines. I made one earlier this week. It's deceptively simple, turned out beautifully, and my guests and I loved it.

                  *Orange Almond Cake* (courtesy of James Beard)
                  2 large oranges (preferebly naval seedless)
                  6 eggs
                  1 1/2 c. ground almonds
                  pinch salt
                  1 c sugar
                  1 tsp. baking powder

                  Wash oranges and boil them in water to cover, wthout peeling, until soft about 30 min.
                  Drain, cool, cut into quarters.
                  Process oranges into a moderately fine puree in a blender or food processor.
                  Beat the eggs in a bowl till thick, then add ground almonds, salt, sugar, baking powder and orange puree and mix well.
                  Pour into a buttered and floured deep 9" cake pan at 400 degrees for 1 hour or longer, until firm to the touch.
                  Garnish with orange slices dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar, berries or whipped cream.

                  If you use the cake pan that's called for--9" and deep, and your pan is well-buttered and floured, there's no problem with sticking. My cake baked in just under an hour and turned out high, moist, and evenly textured. The Beard recipe is definitely a keeper.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cristina

                    According to a couple of different sources, the original version with the oranges is an old Jewish recipe, because with the baking powder eliminated, it can be made for Passover. Nigella has said that she may have unconsciously based it on a Claudia Roden recipe.

                  2. You don't even need to eliminate the baking powder to make it kosher for Passover - just use baking powder without cornstarch, which is available in stores selling kosher-for-Passover foods.

                    1. I much prefer shapes (photos below), but you need to use a seriously good non-stick coating:

                      Large: http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e10...

                      Little Cakes:

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Funwithfood

                        Well done! The other thing, I've found, is that you really do have to let the cake cool before you try to remove it from the pan. The last time I made it instead of butter I used almond oil to oil the parchment, and I think it worked better than butter.

                      2. has anyone tried a similar recipe that uses flour instead of nuts?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: wowimadog

                          Yes, I posted on this shortly after Christmas. I made a recipe called Aunt Nettie's Orange Nut cake that was very simple and delicious. http://30cakesin30days.wordpress.com/...
                          It's made in a Bundt pan and there was not any real issue of it sticking when I removed it (and I did not use parchment paper to line). I opted for dried cranberries, rather than raisins, and used ground walnuts. The recipe does not specify what kind of nuts to use; I am sure that almonds or pecans would also work.
                          I've never made Nigella's clementine cake so I cannot compare them directly.

                          1. re: masha

                            excellent, thank you! i have been given a ton of homegrown clementines and can't wait to put them to good use! any other recipe suggestions are most welcome!

                            1. re: wowimadog

                              If you make the recipe with clementines, I think that you would want to use 2 or 3. I made it with one very large navel orange.

                        2. Hmm... I've got a ton of almonds in my freezer.

                          1. I came across a suggestion to microwave the citrus fruits instead of boiling them for 2 hours. So much easier! It takes just 5-8 minutes depending on size. Be sure to pierce them first and use a covered casserole, just in case. They'll leak a lot of juice.

                            Worked great! I made it with blood oranges.

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                              Is that 5-8 min. for two med. to large oranges, assuming highest power?

                              1. re: Joebob

                                Yes. I think I did more like 3 3-minute segments, turning them a bit in between. It's obvious when they really begin to soften.

                              2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                Karen, I know this is about 2 years later, but, when you microwave the citrus, do you put any water in there?

                                Thank you!


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  Luckily they changed the sorting so that old posts get promoted and therefore questions get seen! And to answer the question, no water is needed. I just pierced the oranges a few times with a knife, then microwaved at 2-3 minute increments in a covered glass casserole dish to catch all of the juices that exude. Fast and easy!

                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                    Excellent. Thank you for sharing this short-cut. I'll make these this week sometime. I'll let you know how it turns out!


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      That might just be the ticket to success with this recipe, because the fruit wouldn't get waterlogged. My versions of this have been sodden because of the water in the fruit. Excellent idea!!!

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Oh, that's funny! I was worried that the water was somehow necessary for the recipe, and that's why I wanted to ask Karen to clarify! Well, we'll see!


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Do you use all the juices that come out of the oranges or do you drain them?

                                          1. re: Nyleve

                                            Nyleve, which method are you referring to? The microwave method (Karen says here to use a casserole dish to capture all of the juices http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3538... ) or the conventional "boiling" method?


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              I was wondering about the microwave method. I know you drain off all the water when you boil - but wasn't sure about the nuked oranges.

                                              1. re: Nyleve

                                                Got it. For the MW method, I think you're supposed to retain all of the juices.


                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  It would be nicer because the water gets quite orange and must dilute the flavor.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    As reluctant as I am to use the microwave for anything but heating up leftovers, this does sound like a good idea. Will try it next time I make the cake. Thanks -

                                        2. re: buttertart

                                          Re: sodden cakes. Even with microwaving the fruit, this is still a very dense, moist cake! Just saying. I think it's not quite as sodden with the microwave method, but I haven't made them side-by-side. That would be an interested experiment, if I ever had time and inclination.

                                          I suspect that one gets a stronger flavor from the zest this way because it's not being leached away in the water. Which could be good or bad, depending on your taste!

                                2. Hey! I just opened the latest Gourmet, and there was a recipe for this kind of cake! Actually it was orange polenta cake from Ottolenghi ;The cookbook. can't find it on Epicureous yet.

                                  Here it is!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                    Anybody there? That carmel gave me the dickens; I tried it the " wet" way twice, and twice it seized on me.I know I've done fine the" dry" way, so I tried that, but it wouldn't "swirl" into the butter, and got hard quick. I used it anyway and moved in. Found this:


                                    In the oven. We'll see!

                                  2. I don't think anybody answered the blanched or not blanched question. I'm guessing blanching would also serve to remove the skins. I am making the almond polenta cake version in Gourmet. It calls for superfine sugar. I can do regular sugar in the food processor, right? So how would you suggest I go about measuring BEFORE processing it fine"I believe I'm supposed to end up with two cups. Finally, the recipe calls for orange flower water. I'm thinking of almond extract instead. Would vanilla be better?

                                    Finally, I'm sorta new here, so I try to search before posting, but don't get much action adding on to others threads. Should I just start a new post?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                      Put 2 cups or a little more sugar in the food processor and then measure post-processing before adding to your cake. Just return any leftover ground sugar to your sugar bowl -- it's not going to make any difference in your coffee or tea, or even in other baking, since it's a tiny amount. Almond and vanilla extracts are powerful and may overwhelm the orange flavor. I'd either forget about the orange flower water or just add 2 tsp OJ or a tsp of marmalade to the batter.

                                    2. I am so intrigued by this cake. I have to bring a couple things to a brunch bridal shower next weekend. Was going to make muffins and something else - would like cake work well in a brunch setting?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: anunez

                                        it's a great "afternoon" menu cake and also great for the cook because it's even better after a day or two.