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
- 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.
© Copyright 2020– or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to The New Vintage Kitchen, with active link and direction to this original post. The New Vintage Kitchen does not accept ads or payment for mention of products or businesses.