Moist, sweet, extra-orangey, and now gingery. Improves with keeping but is also delightful barely an hour out of the oven with a bit of vanilla ice cream.

  • 2 whole fresh Minneola tangelos
    [Minneola tangelos: Feel free to substitute oranges, tangerines, Meyer lemons, or other citrus, but let the world know how it worked out!]
    , about 1 pound in total.

  • 1 oz grated fresh ginger
    [Fresh ginger: I am shocked, shocked to find that not everyone loves ginger! My preference is to double the ginger, but then my family members claim they can’t taste the oranges. Feel free to use less, or omit entirely.]

  • 6 eggs, separated

  • 1¼ cup sugar

  • 2 ⅓ cups (9.2oz) ground almonds

  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

  • zest from one Minneola tangelo

  • 2–3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

  • lemon or lime juice

  1. Peel the oranges and microwave the peels in a closed container for 3–5 minutes, turning occasionally.

  2. Cut the orange segments in half and remove any seeds.

  3. Finely chop the cooked peels and raw fruit in the food processor; you may need to scrape the sides down a few times until it purees everything.

  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (340°F for convection oven).

  5. Butter an 8-inch springform pan
    [8-inch springform pan: Or divide the recipe between two 5- or 6-inch pans to make elegantly smaller cakes.]

  6. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale. Add almonds, the chopped oranges and the ginger. Finally, when the oven is at temperature, add the baking powder.

  7. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold gently into the mixture.

  8. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, when a skewer will come out clean; you’ll probably have to cover the cake with foil after about 30 minutes to stop the top from burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan on a rack.

  9. Make a topping from confectioners' sugar mixed to a paste with lemon or lime juice and the zest. Spread evenly over the top.

  10. When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan.


I’ve adapted this from various recipes I saw online, originally’s Americanization of Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake, which Lawson credits as "more or less Claudia Roden’s orange and almond cake".

I found the original recipe less orangey than I’d hoped—it takes a strong citrus flavor to stand up to all those almonds. I’m not sure whether clementines in Britain are the same as what we get here in the US; it took not 4 or 5, but 6 to 7 to make a pound, and ours practically never have seeds to remove. Perhaps Lawson’s clementines are closer to what we’d call tangerines, which would have imparted a much stronger flavor and fragrance. Cooking the fruit also mystifies me—the peels, yes, but why the flesh?

Not Quite Nigella makes it with blood oranges, dusting with sugar and zest. That’s worth a try, though the blood oranges I’ve so far found here were a pale shadow of what I’ve had in Europe.

I decided to try a stronger-flavored fruit, the Minneola tangelo, plus some extra zest. And since I love ginger, I added some.

Now that I have the orange flavor right, I’ll experiment with a well-ripened banana or two, and perhaps next summer I’ll try a variant using peaches.

Jill Dupleix separates the eggs, folding the whipped whites in last. This sounded like a great way to vary the texture. I’m not sure I notice a difference, but I like the idea enough to keep it.

This cake is very easy to make, a pleasure to serve and worth trying with different oranges or other citrus each time.