Cooking / Sweet

My favourite cake – Nigella’s Clementine Cake (How to Eat)

Would you like to know how to make a cake that is all of the following?

  • moist
  • citrussy
  • sweet – kids will like it
  • …but with a bitter edge that takes it into grown-up territory
  • high in protein (shrug… some people are into that)
  • friggin’ easy – pretty much all you do is stir it together
  • can take varying amounts of  fruit, and substitute between fruits
  • keeps well, and even tastes better on the next day
  • divine, and will make you look like a baking rockstar

clementine cake

Then you NEED to get this clementine cake into your life. But wait, I hear you say. What the hell are clementines? Are they some sort of delicious English treat that Nigella buys from Waitrose at a cost of eleven hundred pounds per kilo?


They’re mandarines folks. I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for ages to make but I didn’t know what clementines were and so kept putting it off. Walked into Safeway one day – and in the middle of the fruit and veg section, we have “Clementine Mandarins”. Sold, I’ll take six.

You can also, as Nigella points out in her seminal and awesome How to Eat book, substitute said clementines for oranges, or lemons, or oranges AND lemons.

I’ve made this cake with lemons alone and upped the sugar to 250g (at Nigella’s suggestion), and also put a lemon drizzle icing over the top of it, which worked well. The cake is more bitter than one made with mandarines, but bitter lemon is a classy flavour anyway.

Other than swapping citrus fruits in and out, I’ve made adjustments to the recipe – Nigella’s original says to boil the crap out of the clementines (okay, she doesn’t phrase it quite like that) until they soften. I turned to Google, which did not fail: you can microwave the little suckers instead, saving you 2 hours in the kitchen and boosting the citrus flavour because you don’t lose all that juice in the water.

Nigella’s Clementine Cake (adapted)

Serves 8


  • 5 clementine mandarines (approx 400g) (I don’t think I even bothered to weigh mine last time and it worked out fine)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar (225g)
  • 2 1/4 cups almond meal (250 g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder


Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). (Nigella says 190 C, but I tried that and burnt it a little on top). Grease and line a 21 cm springform tin.

Get yourself a microwave safe dish with a lid (I use a pyrex glass dish) and stab the mandarines all over with a knife. Stick them in the microwave for four minutes on high. Get the dish out and turn them over (use tongs!). Microwave another four minutes or so. Prod them with the tongs. Are they soft and squishy yet? If not, keep going. You want them niiiiice and soft.

Once they’re soft tip the mandarines (pith and all) and their juice into a food processor or blender and blitz them. I used blender first time I made this cake and I must warn you, it was a bitch to clean. The second time I used the chopper attachment to my stick mixer, and that was better.

You have two options now. If you did the fruit in a food processor you can add all of the other ingredients and blitz it up. If, like me, you used a small chopper thing, you need to beat the eggs in a big bowl till frothy, then stir the sugar, almond meal, and baking powder in, then the pulped mandarines.

Pour into your prepared cake tin and bake for around an hour, although check it at 40 minutes to make sure it’s not burning on top. Cool in tin.

Eat and marvel at how good it tastes!

Nutritional info per serve (8 serves):

  • 370 calories / 1550 kj
  • 18 g fat
  • 15 g protein
  • 4.75 g fibre
  • 142 mg sodium



7 thoughts on “My favourite cake – Nigella’s Clementine Cake (How to Eat)

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