Monday, October 4, 2010

With the last of winter clementines

Winter is fading and the best part of it, clementines, are going away until next year. It's such a pity... I really like clementines (mandarins, tangerines or whatever name you call them, it's probably not the right one for the citrus I have in mind), and I do think they're the best of the cold season I'm not too fond of.

We've had some rainy days and they found me in the mood for cake. Clementine cake.

2 big juicy clementines, or one juicy orange, or more clementines
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of all purpose wheat flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder

Juice of half a lemon, or 4 tablespoons of water or another juice
12 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar

Chopping board
Peeling knife
Mixing bowl
Tin loaf (Bundt cake's if you prefer that shape)
Butter to grease the loaf
Glass or other small container to mix the icing
Small spatula, brush or finger to spread it

1. Wash the fruit thoroughly and peel. Make sure there are no stickers on them.
2. Toss the peelings in the blender and chop until, ahem, very chopped.
3. Make sure the segments of the fruit don't contain seeds, and if they do, take the seeds off with the knife and the chopping board.
4. Toss said segments in the blender and blend, until you have an even textured mixture.
5. Add the egg, the oil, the sugar and the vanilla extract and blend again.

Put the flour and the baking powder in the bowl, and mix with the spatula. Add the moist mixture and blend with the spatula until you have a (another!) even mixture. Grease the tin loaf and dust lightly with flour, and pour the mixture. You should leave more than an inch to allow rising.

My oven is very temperamental so I can't really say the heat and time, but let's say that medium to low oven for about 45 minutes should do the trick. Maybe checking 30 minutes in is a wise idea.

Once it's done (you can tell by stabbing it repeatedly, if it yells you should give it some more time ;-) ), take it out from the tin and put on a nice dish. While it's still warm, add a mixture of confectioners' sugar and juice and let it cool and sink in.

It takes about two hours to cool completely, and it's virtually Julia proof - I've only managed to ruin it with an oven that actually tells the temperature, or using rather flat tempered glass oven containers.

If I were a good photographer, I'd add a picture here. But I don't want to spoil the charm of it!



The fruit: I've only tried oranges and clementines, but never dared with lemons, limes or grapefruit. When the fruit I'm using is too dry, I add a swish (that being a couple of tablespoons) of orange juice from a carton, or water as an extreme measure. Ah, I once tried with a banana, and it was awful!

The oil: I've tried canola, corn, soy and rice oil. I was told especially not to use olive oil, which I've respected more because it's very expensive but it might be interesting.

The flour: If I and my husband were more adventurous we'd try adding other than wheat. This cake has a moist texture and I'm not very sure it would go down well, but if you try it please let me know of your thoughts.

The icing: I use a cup to mix and whenever I put first the sugar it turns out well, and if I put the water or juice first it turns out bad. My experience.

The containers: For some reason, this cake goes better with tall shapes rather than flat, and with tin better than tempered glass or ceramic.

The oven: A total mystery. I never tried a microwave oven, and a grill doesn't make sense. Just avoid opening before 30 minutes, unless it's smelling like it's burning.

The blender: A non-negotiable.

The touch: ginger, pepper, cinnamon. But I think the texture of the mashed peeling is enough.

No comments: