Clementine, Almond and Olive Oil Cake

Rick Stein's Clementine, Almond and Olive Oil Cake, as seen on his BBC series, The Road to Mexico, is a perfectly moist cake and an ode to Californian citrus fruit.

Introduction

This cake is a celebration of Californian citrus fruit. After the gold rush, the prosperity of this state, the largest economy in the Union, came from the massive cultivation of oranges. Californians treat citrus in the same way as the British view apples. They know all the many varieties and shop for them by taste and name. To honour this, we filmed at a family citrus farm just outside Ojai in Ventura County, east of Santa Barbara. The owners, Jim Churchill and his wife Lisa Brenneis, were picking Pixie tangerines and Kishu mandarins and I ate them straight off the tree. Not being used to picking tangerines off the tree, it was a bit of an emotional moment for me. You can use any kind of small citrus fruit for this cake.

Serves 8
Easy

Ingredients

2 large clementines (about 200g), scrubbed
4 large eggs
zest of 1 large lemon
160g caster sugar
100ml olive oil
175g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
icing or caster sugar, for dusting
For the syrup:
15g caster sugar
juice of 1 large lemon
To serve (optional):
250ml whipped cream
2-3 oranges, segmented

Essential kit

You will need: a food processor, a 20cm springform cake tin and an electric whisk.

Instructions

Put the whole clementines in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20–30 minutes until the clementines are tender. Remove them and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut the fruit in half and, with the tip of a knife, remove and discard the pips. Put the skin and pulp in a food processor and blend to a paste.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment. Whisk the eggs, lemon zest and caster sugar in a bowl. Add the olive oil and beat until light and well combined. Add the clementine paste and stir, then fold in the ground almonds and baking powder.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for about 50 minutes or until well risen and golden. The cake should have slightly shrunken from the sides and be springy to the touch. Leave it to cool in the tin on a wire rack while you make the syrup.

Warm the sugar and lemon juice in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved. Make lots of small holes all over the cake with a piece of uncooked spaghetti and drizzle over the lemon syrup. Let the cake cool completely in the tin, then turn it out on to a serving plate. Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream and orange segements if you like.

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