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Nigella's Clementine Cake

Could this cake be frozen?

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  1. Don't see why not. There's nothing that wouldnt freeze individually, so it should be OK.

    Cakes don't last long enough here to freeze so we've never tried it. Be interesting to see how it eats - I just don't fancy whizzing up the whole fruit, including the pith and, presumably, pips to include in the mix.

    45 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      I was enthusiastic about this cake for a while but it really is quite odd, with the bitter edge from the peel. Himself no like at all.

      1. re: buttertart

        The bitterness from zest would be fine - herself's latest retirement hobby is cake-baking so we're getting a different one each week. She's done a couple where there's been grated orange or lemon zest and I really like (but, then, I like really sharp marmalade). It's the white pith going in that I just dont fancy with this recipe. Maybe I get herself to try making it. As an aside, 'tis "Stir-Up Sunday" this weekend, so she's making a start on the Christmas cake ( a Delia Smith recipe, of course).

        1. re: Harters

          I must do that too, usually it's the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend for us.

        2. re: buttertart

          Glad I'm not alone. I made it a couple of years ago with Meyer lemons, so it should have been less bitter than it was. (Some people rave about it made with regular lemons, which are far more sour). I loathed both the flavor and the texture and though I am reluctant to waste food, this one went to the dogs, who had no objection.

          1. re: greygarious

            I made it with Meyers too. It's the pith that's the issue, just the fruit and rind should be OK, but why bother.

            1. re: greygarious

              i made this years ago when there was lots of chatter about it here. i also hated the texture. i love the idea overall, but blech.

              1. re: greygarious

                Mrs H tells me that, upcoming on her cake list in a few weeks, is something similar to this but with oranges. Apparently whole oranges get boiled for 2 hours. Yes, two hours. Then go in the processor to be whizzed. Hopefully this will sort out any bitterness. Otherwise I will be mightily pithed off.

                1. re: Harters

                  I make a cake in which an orange is boiled for a very long time and then whizzed in the FP; it is really good, no trace of bitterness. So you likely won't be pithed.

                  1. re: Harters

                    that's what you do with the clementines too. i love this cake.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Yeah, I love it, too. nomadchowoman, that IS the cake they're discussing here. Many of the posters don't like it much. I love the taste and texture. Got it from Nigella, but I think it's a passover cake - almond meal, egg whites, etc.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        Boiling them - so you do.

                        Maybe it'll be OK then.

                        Now I'm just pithed at myself for not reading the recipe properly.

                        1. re: Harters

                          Yes the fruit is boiled - during which it collapses, always wondered are you supposed to drain it or use it with whatever water it contains? Maybe that's where I went wrong. Looking forward to your pithy comments as usual - it is a different breed of cat from a lot of cakes, a bit more on the steamed pud side. The recipe is originally Sephardic I think, first came to light in Claudia Roden.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            just use the fruits, no water. i have picked out the pits though whenever i have made it. she doesn't say this is necessary, but i think it matters.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              I have a variation of that recipe that calls for 2 large navel oranges. You boil them for ONE hour (not two), then it specifically says to drain them and let them cool. When cool, you roughly chop the oranges AND remove the seeds, then put the chunks in a blender and puree (I use a stick blender).

                              This cake is AWESOME - moist and tasty - and definitely not just another cake. Gets raves from everyone I've served it to. It keeps well (well, I think so - it rarely lasts long enough to worry about it) My recipe also specifically says it can be made up to 48 hours in advance, and that it does mellow as it rests. It's also nice because it's completely gluten-free.

                              To make it absolutely decadent, I drizzle it with a little dark chocolate ganache.

                      2. re: Harters

                        Harters: ahahaha! so pithy! followed you here from WFD. quite the card, you are!

                        1. re: Harters

                          I will be very curious to hear how this cake is. I once made a Shaker Lemon Pie to bring to Thanksgiving among several other pies I made, and I decided to taste it first just as the pies were being served. It was completely inedible, and since then I have steered clear of all baked goods that incorporate pith. BTW, in this pie, the peel was cooked for a long time with sugar -- almost candied -- and the pith was still as bitter as gall.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I've always been curious about that Shaker lemon pie--now I know!
                            (For those who aren't familiar, the pie is made with paper-thin slices of *whole* lemon--peel and all.)
                            I do like candied orange & grapefruit peel very much.

                            1. re: blue room

                              i indeed have wondered about that pie because i much prefer citrus to chocolate for dessert.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                I'm cooking from "Ready for Dessert" by David Lebovitz, for the Cookbook of the Month here @ Chowhound. In the head notes for a lemon souffle, he says:

                                "I think there are two types of people in this world: the lemon people and the chocolate people." I'm in the latter group, too.

                                  1. re: blue room

                                    I'm definitely in the former group.

                                    1. re: piccola

                                      Me too. A little chocolate goes a long way for me. But if it's really good, a little is enough.
                                      For lemon, though, I'm a glutton.

                              2. re: roxlet

                                I tried that once too, roxlet, and mine was also inedible, but I thought maybe my lemon slices weren't as paper thin as they needed to be. But boiling the orange does seem to work in the orange cake recipe, for some reason.

                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                  Could it be that orange pith is not as bitter as lemon pith?

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    Do these boil-and-grind-up orange cake recipes specify what sort of orange is used? I only know that some oranges have very very thick peels, and some very very thin.

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      quite likely, although i have read people claiming good results with grapefruits and limes as well.

                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        I don't know , but the orange cake recipe I'm talking about (from Orangette) uses both an orange and a lemon; she doesn't specify any type but organic. I've used different types, even blood oranges; sometimes I've used a Meyer lemon, sometimes not. She does specify cutting the citrus in half and removing seeds (and the pulp from the lemon). Unlike the Nigella cake, she uses olive oil and flour. It's not a super sweet cake, but it doesn't taste bitter.

                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                          Ah, Orangette, I like that blog. I looked up the cake, she calls it "Marmalade Cake", glad to know you've tried it and liked it.

                                          1. re: blue room

                                            That's it. Near the end of Part VIII of the "What are you baking these days?" thread, I posted a variation on this recipe using carrots, part WW flour, and pistachios that also was delicious.

                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                              nomadchowoman: The Rose Bakery cookbook has several cakes made with things other than wheat flour. There's a rice flour cake and a cornmeal cake and at least one with almond meal. I really like these variations. and I have always loved the boiled citrus fruit cake.

                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                Thanks for the temptation--I will have to look into that.
                                                Another cookbook. More cake. Just what I need ; )

                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                  OK oj, what do you do with the fruit once boiled? Keep it all wet and sloppy, or drain/press the water out? If the latter, that's what I must have done wrong, since I kept the water in them.
                                                  Citrus from your own trees? or farmer's market? or...the BOWL???

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    Drain the water out - don't press it, just drain it like you'd drain boiled potatoes - tip it over the sink and pour it out.

                                                    I've made it with citrus from the market and from the grocery - country of origin for both would be Spain, Portugal, or Italy, for the most part. (but they came out of the bowl in the kitchen, where I put them until it was time to make the cake :P)

                                      2. re: roxlet

                                        The Cooks Country lot did a show including that pie in which they did everything imaginable to it and it did look good once done. Not sure if recipe available on line but worth a look. I made it too, once, ages ago, and thought it was nasty as well. Maybe it was more appealing if citrus were scarce, as I imagine it was in Ohio then.

                                        1. re: roxlet

                                          Miriam Cunninghams recipe for Shaker Pie is the best. Your citrus (lemon or orange, or a combo) must be paper thin, yes, and then must macerate in sugar overnight.
                                          This results in a sugary, liquidy fruit mixture to which you add melted butter, egg and a bit of flour. Totally easy and delicious everytime.

                                  2. re: Harters

                                    I've made the Claudia Roden version of this cake - we thought it was great, and a bonus for people who care about that kind of thing is that it is gluten-free.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      I made the Nigella version last Christmas for my GF offspring and it was not a hit (because of the pith/bitterness issues mentioned above). I even tried it with sweeter fruit, those little mandarins, after carefully picking the seeds out of the boiled, collapsed orange mess! The really sad part is that it smells and looks marvelous.

                                      So who is Claudia Roden and how do I get this recipe?...I am going to Google her/it as soon as I post so it may be a non-issue, but I did just want to thank you, GreedyGirl, for the mention of GF sweet treats. I am always on the hunt, especially for those that do not call for bean flours and xanthum gum!

                                      1. re: LJS

                                        this bitterness issue has me perplexed because i have made the nigella-version of this cake numerous times for parties and people just love it.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          I couldn't begin to guess why, but the navel oranges I use in my recipe don't collapse - they just get brighter orange and take on a semi-translucent look.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            mine don't collapse either. i have had a few split, but that didn't seem to affect the flavor.

                                        2. re: LJS

                                          It's in her New Book of Middle Eastern Food. It uses oranges instead of clementines.

                                          http://www.newyorker.com/online/2007/...

                                          1. re: LJS

                                            The Roden recipe is exactly the same as the Nigella recipe, except for the oranges vs. clementines part (if you read the head note on Nigella's she credits Roden).

                                            1. re: LJS

                                              Claudia Roden is a great treasure. She has written several cookbooks, among them The Book of Mediterranean Food, Arabesque, and The Book of Jewish Food. She used to have a cooking show on BBC that showed here in the States about 20 years ago. She was born and raised in Cairo and now, I think, lives in London.

                                              I'm on the "Love The Orange Cake" Bandwagon.

                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                I use her "New Book of Middle Eastern Food" often - but "Jewish Food" is the more fascinating cultural exploration.

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  Every recipe I've tried in "Jewish Food" has been a huge success. I love the chutneys. It's a wonderful book. For those of you who think of Jewish food as stodgy Eastern European stuff, this book is a revelation.

                                        3. I made the clementine cake once and loved it. I didn't think it was bitter at all. For the people who didn't like it, I wonder if they just weren't very good clementines. The quality of citrus fruits varies so much.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: NYCkaren

                                            for me it wasn't the bitterness at all, but the egginess and texture

                                            1. re: rose water

                                              The egginess is what got me. I always thought the eggy flavor came from the yolk but evidently it's the whites that are the culprit.

                                            2. Yes, it freezes beautifully. Wrap it well. I use a layer of plastic wrap and foil. It keeps in the fridge for a good long time too.

                                              1. sounds yummy to me and worth a try. Where would I find the recipe?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. I had dinner with a friend the other night and that was the dessert she served. She said she makes it ahead of time, cuts it into serving-size wedges and wraps them individually to freeze. Then she can take out just as much as she needs at one time. It was delicious, but just a bit soggy (probably the freeze-thaw thing) and it was served with fresh blueberries and blackberries and very softly whipped cream. So, yes, it can be frozen but may suffer a bit texturewise.

                                                  1. Help! I made this cake late last night for a brunch get together tomorrow. I didn't have a springform pan so I used a cake pan. (I thought I had read reviews here from folks who said they did so successfully. I used a nonstick pan, and greased/floured it as well for a good measure.) Anyway, I finished baking it so late that I left it in the pan to cool over night. Then, I was out the door at 6 am this morning to go skiing, so I didn't have time to try to take it out until just now. I am sure you all can see where this is going -- it's stuck!! I ran a knife around the edges and could "feel" from the friction that it must be a pretty sticky consistency. I can only imagine how it is adhering to the bottom of the pan. I tried putting a plate over the top, flipping it and banging it on the bottom of the pan but nothing. I also put a plate over the top, flipped, and then dropped the two on the counter a few times trying to dislodge it. That didn't work either. Anybody have experience with this, or any other ideas??

                                                    In the alternative, is it bad form to bring it to the party in the pan and then try to pry the individual slices out with a spatula as we cut them? It looks and smells gorgeous. I don't want to have to scrap it!

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                                      oh dear.

                                                      I grease and flour the pan and then put a circle of waxed paper/baking parchment (whatever's at hand) in the bottom of the pan, and invert it onto a platter to cool.

                                                      I don't know that it would work, but maybe dip it in hot water? Not sure if that would break the bond, but it might be worth a try. Barring that, maybe stick it back in the oven and hope to liquefy it a bit?

                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        Thanks, sunshine! You were right on target. I googled a bit and read the advice about re-warming the pan, so I set it on my radiator for a half hour. I got it loose enough that I banged it out. Some still stuck, but I pieced it back in place and flipped it over so you couldn't even tell.

                                                        To review the recipe, I liked it very much. Really liked the moist texture. Would certainly make it again, maybe with lemons or other citrus. The other guests all seemed to like it as well, but no rave reviews.

                                                      2. re: charmedgirl

                                                        Just bring it in the pan and pretend that's the way it's supposed to be.