I love almond and citrus cakes. Just a look at my recipes list will confirm this. I first made this infamous cake with the requisite clementines a few years ago and we all loved it. I remember taking the last half of that cake to a New Year's Eve party and being quite miserable to watch the last few slices dissapear as the clock counted down.
This time I decided to chop and change it a bit - mainly by using blood oranges. The result is really quite delicious - dense, damp, with that wonderful blood orange taste and the most incredible texture on the tongue.
The first time I tried to make my changed version was on Mothers' Day - I had been plotting about it for ages and I knew my mum would love the idea. But then it wouldn't have been a typical Mothers' Day without me nearly destroying her kitchen: I left the oranges boiling in their water too long - they boiled dry and ruined the pan there were in, getting a bit scorched themselves, as you can see above! Bit of a whoops moment. I made another cake for her but failed to get proper photos, and then followed with my Sticky Toffee Pudding Volcanoes.
And so I set about making it again yesterday. I changed a few things around from the original recipe: I used the blood oranges instead of clementines, I substituted soft brown sugar for some of the caster sugar, and I added an additional fresh orange. I couldn't make up the right weight with whole oranges so I decided to add a peeled orange to the pulp later, which was about right - it brightened the pulp up and I think contributed to being able to taste the distinct blood orange tinge in the final cake.
Thankfully this time it went well. I have to admit to having a few doubts when I tasted the mixture, but not to fear, it tastes lovely. I nearly burnt it but thankfully it held out - helped by the extensive wrapping and foiling needed to protect any cake in my mum's oven as you can see above.... (She's getting the kitchen re-done soon so the oven will stop tormenting me soon, I can't wait.)
Unfortunately the blood oranges I used weren't very bloody so it doesn't have the lovely pink colour I was hoping for. It does have that lovely taste, however. I would love to see what it would look like with some of the incredible ruby blood oranges that seem to be popping up on various blogs.
I'm sure you could use another chocolate to top the cake - I just love the Green and Black's Maya Gold. Any good dark chocolate would work, but the delicate orange and spice flavour in the Maya Gold sets the cake off beautifully. I watched Chocolat last night and it seemed perfect to be using Maya Gold today! That film is pure chocolate porn - totally fabulous. My mum and I now skip through the bits with the nasty Count and just watch the chocolate and Johnny Depp - much more interesting!
My Version of Nigella's Clementine Cake
(Adapted from Nigella's recipe in Green and Black's recipe book, Unwrapped)
For the cake:
2 blood oranges (or 4-5 clementines, 2 normal oranges etc) weighing about 325g
1 additional blood orange, peeled
125g caster sugar
100g soft brown sugar
250g ground almonds (I used half/half skin on/blanched)
1 heaped tsp baking powder
Put the oranges into a saucepan whole and cover with water. Pop a lid on and heat for two hours - it should just boiling. Remove the oranges and let them cool a little before halving and removing any pips. Put into a food processor with the additional peeled orange and blend to a smooth pulp.
Preheat the oven to 190C. Butter and fully line a 20cm tin. Beat all the eggs together in a big mixing bowl/standing mixer. Add the sugars, almonds and baking powder (you might need to use a sift to get any big lumps out and then replace the bigger almond bits). Mix well. Add the orange pulp and mix again. Transfer to a fully lined tin and put into the oven for 1 hr. You will probably need to cover it with foil to stop the top burning after 30-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin.
50g Green and Blacks Maya Gold or another orange spiced chocolate - or just dark chocolate
Melt the chocolate and dribble over the cake. I like to eat a slice while it's still melted... The cake is best left till the next day before eating.