Clementine Christmas Cake

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Recipe & pictures have been updated! Hope you enjoy this one as much as we do.

The smell of clementines & oranges always bring me right back to the exponential excitement of Christmas morning. My mother makes an orange & lemon bundt cake at Christmas time that is literally the stuff of dreams. I should perhaps also share her recipe, because it’s honestly one of the best cakes I’ve tried…[AND let’s just say I’ve tried a lot of cakes.] The ever still present history nerd in me did some research into how oranges started becoming associated with Christmas to start with. As expected, there were varying accounts. But one of the most credible ones is centered around life in the Great Depression.

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Our grandparents grew up in a time where to find an orange or clementine as a stocking stuffer was a luxury, like an absolute treat. Growing up, I was obsessed with all & any books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She also reported finding an orange in her stocking at Christmas; & her account precedes the Great Depression. We are talking pioneer times here, folks. So for argument’s sake, someone (somewhere) thought finding this delicious fruit in the middle of winter down the toe of your stocking was a grand idea. Gives us all perspective. A clementine nowadays may be considered a lame stocking stuffer by some.

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I must say, I did not grow up with the tradition of stuffed stockings, but I somehow also ended eating orange cake every Christmas morning. I would wake up the smell of freshly brewed coffee, hot cacao, coffee cake, eggs & her freshly baked bundt. I am going to be spending Christmas in Toronto this year; (for the first time as a mother of two), & I want to start cementing my own Christmas morning traditions. I still haven’t decided on our full breakfast menu, but these delicious satsuma oranges I’ve been finding and baking with will definitely make an appearance in the form of this cake. It’s a deliciously sweet orange that becomes available at winter time & I just love them!

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I became intrigued with this cake which is adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe for 2 simple reasons: (1) it is gluten-free (2) I’ve never quite seen oranges go into a cake the way Nigella suggests we prepare them; which is boiling them for 2 hours and using up all of the orange: peel, flesh, everything! I, of course, had to “healthify” the recipe & do some subbing. Bye bye white sugar and hello pure maple syrup or unrefined raw cane sugar. I also used gluten free baking powder to maintain it entirely gluten free. I added almond & vanilla extract the second time around because these little drops go a long way with flavor.


And finally, I reduced the amount of almond flour ever so slightly, so that the cake is the perfect marriage between a pudding & a cake. It’s dense, rich, and all BUT crumbly. It holds up so well as you’re cutting it. Mine’s been in the fridge for 3 days and it gets better every day because the flavors have fully set in. Am not even kidding, this is the perfect make-ahead dessert, I suggest you bake it 2 days before Christmas & keep it in your fridge. FYI- it has no oil or butter of any kind- if you can believe that! It holds up well because it has 6 eggs. That will do it! Oh and it’s easy peasy: 2 hours to boil the oranges and 10 mins to prep & throw it into the oven. Completely fuss free & beyond delicious. A.K.A. must try this for Christmas! 😉

Clementine Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
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Note: it takes 2 hours alone to boil the clementines in water so they can go into the cake. Active prep time is LESS than 20 mins. Super minimal.


  • 2 cups of almond flour (or almond meal)
  • 6 eggs (love pasture-raised)
  • 4-5 oranges or clementines
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder (I use gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or 1 cup of raw cane unrefined sugar, non-paleo option)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract (optional)

To decorate:

  • fresh rosemary sprigs
  • arrowroot flour or icing sugar for dusting
  • clementines, oranges & any citrus fruit as cake toppers


  1. Cover the oranges or clementines in a stock pot with cold water & bring to a boil. Cook for 2 hours on medium heat. Drain & allow them to cool.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375F and butter or grease a springform pan. I also like to dust the bottom & sides with a little arrowroot flour to prevent it from sticking.
  3. Crack & beat all 6 eggs well, slowly add vanilla & almond extracts, raw cane sugar & whisk well.
  4. Take the cooled oranges or clementines & slice them in half to remove any seeds. Throw them into your food processor & pulse for about 30 seconds. Incorporate fruit pulp to egg mixture and mix well.
  5. In a big bowl, combine the almond flour & the GF baking powder, whisk well.
  6. Slowly incorporate wet ingredients into the large dry ingredients bowl (almond flour & baking powder) whisking as you go.
  7. Once you’ve got a nicely even cake batter, throw it into the springform pan.
  8. Bake for about 50 mins always checking at the 40 min mark.
  9. When the cake recedes from the edges into the center & turns golden brown, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, its ready to come out of the oven!
  10. Set aside to cool & enjoy. Keeps wonderfully well in the fridge! It’s a great make-ahead cake.

I love to decorate this cake with rosemary sprigs dusted with icing sugar or  arrowroot flour for that organic, “snowy pine look.” I decorated with clementines & satsuma oranges & it looks stunning using so little & without an icing or sugary glaze.

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake

Recipe in Spanish, continue below…

Pastel de Mandarinas con Harina de Almendras


  • 2 tazas de harina de almendras
  • 4-5 naranjas o mandarinas
  • 6 huevos
  • 1 cucharadita de de extracto de vainilla (opcional)
  • 1 cucharadita de extracto de almendra (opcional)
  • 1 taza de azúcar morena de cana sin refinar, o 1/2 taza de jarabe puro de maple (queda mejor con azúcar)
  • 1 cucharadita de polvo para hornear sin gluten

Para decorar:

  • Romero fresco
  • Azúcar en polvo o harina de arrurruz
  • Fruta fresca: naranjas, mandarinas, toronjas, etc Se ven lindas con tallo y hojas!


  1. Poner las mandarinas en una olla y llenar con agua fría hasta casi cubrirlas completamente con agua. Van a flotar. Poner en fuego alto para que hierva. Una vez ha hervido, poner en fuego lento-medio por 2 horas. Luego se sacan y se dejan enfriar.
  2. Encender el horno a 375 y engrasar el molde (parte inferior y lados) para pastel. Use una tortera con resorte que hace muy fácil retirar los lados y mantener la parte de abajo y el pastel intacto. Le pongo mantequilla y un poco de harina sobre la mantequilla para que no se pegue el pastel.
  3. En un plato hondo, se mezclan los huevos, azúcar y extracto de vainilla o de almendras hasta obtener una mezcla consistente.
  4. En un plato hondo bastante grande, se mezcla la harina y el polvo para hornear muy bien.
  5. Se sacan las mandarinas de la olla y se dejan enfriar. Una vez hayan enfriado, se cortan a la mitad (linea horizontal) y se sacan las semillas. O se puede usar mandarina o naranja sin semillas.
  6. Se mete la fruta dentro del procesador de comida o licuadora y se le da “pulse” por 20-30 segundos. Se deshacen con mucha facilidad.
  7. Se mezcla la fruta con la mezcla del huevo y azúcar hasta conseguir una pasta uniforme.
  8. Se incorpora la mezcla de huevo, azúcar y fruta a los ingredientes secos, poco a poco y mezclando muy bien.
  9. Se hornea por 50 minutos, pero siempre hay que chequearlo al minuto 40. Se puede probar con un cuchillo o un palillo grande y ver si al meterlo al centro del pastel, sale limpio.
  10. Se deja enfriar y se puede decorar con hojas de romero fresco, y le puse polvo de arrurruz o azúcar en polvo para darle ese toque de “pinos nevados”. Incluso se puede usar fruta fresca para decorarlo sin necesidad de cortarla o confitarla. Que lo disfruten!
  11. Sabe mejor al día siguiente! Lo he tenido en la refri por 3 días y cada día sabe mejor pues los sabores se han asentado.



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