Christmas Clementine Cake

Chocolate and orange? Of course, now add a couple of spices and we’re all set for a holiday dessert.

            From Thanksgiving through the holiday season, we get the sweet little Clementines, tangerines, and sometimes Mandarin oranges. This cake is a nice use of them, all of them, as you use every bit of the fruit except the seeds. You can also substitute another favorite sweet orange, but adjust the amount accordingly.

I make this recipe every year and give away the cakes at Christmastime; it’s become a ritual along with making the candied orange peels with my granddaughter. It’s a dessert, but a lovely part of a holiday brunch as well. Best of all, you can make it a few days or weeks ahead of time (it freezes well) so it’s a great stress-free addition to your holiday routine. 

Since you are using the entire fruit including the peeling in the recipe, it is especially important that you use only organic fruit here since the peel is where much of the pesticides reside in a lot of the conventionally grown fruit. The entire fruit lends a slight bitterness to the cake, which is not overly sweet. 

Eat it plain, or pretty it up, it’s up to you. Added bonus, this is also gluten- and dairy-free.

Christmas Clementine and Cardamom Cake

  • 6 sweet little Clementines, whole
  • 1 1/2 cup All-Purpose Gluten-Free baking mix
  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour (or use all, all-purpose)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. each ground cardamom and ground ginger
  • Zest of two large oranges
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. orange extract

Orange syrup:

  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier liquor mixed with
  • 1/4 cup of simple syrup made with orange juice instead of water and strained
  • Candied orange peel, optional

Scrub your fruit well and prepare for a long cook. Place it in a deep saucepan with cold water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for two hours. If your lowest heat is still making too much of a bubbly fuss in the pan, you can put the covered pan in a low oven, 250 degrees.

Once they have softened, and transformed, remove from the water, drain, and let cool completely. Once cool, cut in half at the equator, remove any seeds, place the fruit on a large cutting board, and chop the whole mass. You can also do this in a food processor, which is the easy way out, but leave some texture; you’ll want to see nice bits of the peel.

Prepare a spring-form or Bundt pan with butter. Flour it well. Preheat your oven to 350°.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cardamom, ginger, zest, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the eggs until smooth. Add the sugar in a drizzle, then add the extract and fruit, followed by the flour mixture, a little at a time, and mix only until combined.

Put batter into the prepared pan, and set your timer for 30 minutes. Check the cake, it will most likely need 10 minutes or so more. Check with a toothpick inserted in the center.

 Let it cool for ten minutes. If using a springform pan, you can let it cool completely then run a knife around the edge and release from the pan. If using a Bundt, let it cool for the 10 minutes and use a butter knife to gently check the top edge for sticking. Place a rack on top, turn over, and gently shake to loosen.

Pierce the cake all over with a fork or ice pick, then drizzle the Grand Marnier and simple syrup mixture all over the top. Be generous. Let set.

Options for garnishing: You can dust with a little powdered sugar and stop right here. Or, you can make a glaze by thinning confectioners’ sugar with an orange liquor.

However, our favorite is to drizzle with a dark chocolate ganache. Decorate with the candied orange peel, walnuts, or, if serving immediately, with some lovely little fresh Clementine segments.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Drizzle

  • 4 oz. Bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • ¼ tsp. instant espresso powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 oz. heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Place chocolate, espresso powder, and salt in a deep bowl.

Heat the cream to just below the boiling and pour over the chocolate. Let set for a minute or so, then gently combine with a whisk. Don’t beat, just stir.

Once the mixture is combined, whisk in the butter gently and stir until melted.

Pour over cake and enjoy!

Individual cakes – For a pretty presentation, or gift giving, make the cakes in individual bundt forms. My pan has six wells for these pretty little cakes.

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This is how I cook: 

Supporter of Slow Food       Fair Trade USA

Northeast Organic Farmers Association

EcoWatch      No Kid Hungry\

51 Comments Add yours

  1. What an amazing cake! It looks yummy! 🙂

    1. Thank you! It’s one of our whole family’s favorites!

      1. Merry Christmas! 🙂 I hope you have an amazing new year! 🙂

      2. Thank you! Best wishes to you and yours as well!

      3. 🙂 Thankyou! 🙂

  2. I always learn something when I read one of your recipes. I had no idea there was garbanzo bean flour. See – it’s a learning experience to read your posts. 🙂 Merry Christmas.

    1. What a lovely thing to say Judy! I’m so glad to give any tips I can to one and all; it’s all about the sharing of what we know to help everyone succeed. Merry Christmas to you too!

  3. Wow, that looks yummy! Merry Christmas

    1. Thank you!!! It is delicious!

  4. delicious! merry Christmas my dear! <3

    1. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  5. chef mimi says:

    There is nothing I don’t love about this cake! First there’s cake, that’s moist, then chocolate, orange ginger…. wow. Spectacular. Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you Mimi! We all love it!

  6. Those cakes look very yummy! I wonder if the recipe would work with regular flour. Merry Christmas Dorothy! 🎄

    1. It’s funny, but I’ve never tried it with regular flour but I suspect it would come out just as delicious!

      1. Next time I need to bake a delicious cake I might just try it! I’ve done some gluten-free baking, but only to experiment since no one in our family is gluten intolerant.

      2. Well, please let me know!

      3. I will do that! I’d probably also add some chocolate since I’m married to a chocoholic! 😉

      4. Always a wise move in my book!

  7. Love the combination of flavors in this cake – from the cooked citrus fruits, to the spices, syrup, chocolate glaze… Fabulous! 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! It has become a family classic that everyone looks forward to and enjoys. Hope you had a lovely holiday!

      1. I was mostly working, but it was still fun! 🙂

  8. The perfect Christmas flavor and the perfect perfume for the whole house ☺️
    Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones Dorothy! 🎄

    1. Thank you! I hope you had a lovely day filled with hope and dreams of a better New Year for our beautiful little planet. ❤️

  9. This cake looks delicious, Dorothy. I’ve never tried replacing cream with coconut milk, that’s a good idea. I hope you had a jolly Christmas day.

    1. I tried making the ganache with full-fat coconut milk several years ago and was delighted at how good it turned it! Sometimes it does pay to experiment!

  10. Dorothy I am looking at your delicious food and, it’s like looking at a menu. I am ready to order!💗

    1. Thank you my friend! The cake will please everyone!

  11. Gorgeous as always Dorothy!

    1. Thank you, everyone loves it here!

  12. Dear Dorothy, I am nominating you for Sunshine Blogger Award. Please check:

    1. Thank you so much! That is most kind of you!

  13. This looks so yummy, thank you for the recipe. Hope you and your family are all well and Have the best New Year ever.

    1. Thank you so much, the cake is really good and enjoyed by all. Happy New Year of hope and hugs to you and yours!

  14. Happy New year dear friend!🔔🍂🍮🍮🍂🌺💓

    1. A joyous year of Hope and Hugs for you next year my friend! ❤️~ Dorothy

  15. Leif Price says:

    Yum! What a perfect Christmas flavor! I bet you had a wonderful Christmas celebration. Happy New Year!

    1. Well, I made lots of clementine cakes to give away, and Christmas was just my husband and myself and FaceTime! But it was lovely, and the family was safe, so that’s all that counts. Wishes to you for a wonderful and hopeful new year ahead!

  16. Looks like a showstopper!

    Miamii /

    1. Thank you! It is always anticipated at the holidays!

  17. CarolCooks2 says:

    Love the sound of this all our favourite flavours and I have new new bundt tin just waiting to be christened 🙂

    1. There would be a revolt in our family if I didn’t make the cake!

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        It must be good then, Dorothy 🙂

  18. Anonymous says:

    Oh boy oh boy does this look wonderful!!!

  19. Chef Mimi says:

    That was me with the oh boys… forgot to put in my info!

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