This post has special meaning for my entire family. Six months ago my father-in-law was very sick and though we didn’t really talk about it, there was a chance he wouldn’t be here right now. Luckily, he was a perfect candidate for a special heart study; this surgical procedure saved his life. We are all very thankful.
About ten days ago we celebrated his birthday!
Because this was such a special day, I wanted to make something different and unique rather than a traditional birthday cake with a heavy buttercream icing.
Looking through my archives, I found this recipe for a glazed lemon cake by Chef Nathan Coulon in Cooking Light. I decided this would be a perfect candidate for substituting clementine for the lemon, just what I was looking for.
I made a few additional changes by substituting low-fat sour cream for the buttermilk and some of the white flour with white whole wheat flour. Incidentally, this was the first time I tried King Arthur Flour’s white whole wheat and i must say I was pleased, as I always seem to be with their products. The next time I will try replacing more of the white flour. I also cut the number of whole eggs, replacing one of them with two egg whites. Because the sour cream is thicker than buttermilk I upped the juice to add a little more moisture and since clementines have a more subtle flavor than lemon I thought it might need a little extra umph.
I was also inspired by this beautifully simple recipe for candied clementines by Brian Samuels, the mastermind behind the beautiful blog, athoughtforfood. When they were done and I popped one in my mouth there was such a wonderful burst of flavor I almost couldn’t believe it, I had to stop before I ate them all.
You can get the recipe here. I used these beauties as a garnish on my cake. They’re also great with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce (as Brian mentioned) and with my favorite Chobani yogurt, and in oatmeal and in a cup of tea…okay you get the picture.
I tweaked the glaze a bit too, substituting clementine rind and juice, of course. I also increased the amount of juice to get a stronger clementine flavor and added a bit more powdered sugar to get the consistency I wanted.
I was going to put a whole bunch of the candied clementines on top of the cake but I was afraid that it would get soggy by the time I got the cake to my in-laws house and we had dessert. I also needed to take pictures of it before I left but next time, there will be a strategically mounded bunch of these gems on top of this cake. Hmm, I wonder about adding them between the two layers…what do yo think?
Here is my Celebration Clementine Cake, enjoy!
Adapted from Nathan’s Lemon Cake in Cooking Light
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated cane sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 cup low-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons finely grated clementine rind
3 tablespoons clementine juice
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon clementine rind
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons clementine juice
Candied Clementines (recipe here)
1. Preheat 350 degrees.
2. Coat two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the parchment with cooking spray. Dust with flour and set aside.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
5. Add eggs and egg whites one at a time, beating after each addition.
6. Alternating adding the flour and sour cream to the sugar mixture, ending with the flour.
7. Add the clementine rind and juice, mix well.
8. Pour batter into prepared pans. Rap pans on countertop once to remove air bubbles.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 32 minutes or unit a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
10. Cool in the pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To Prepare Glaze
Combine the powdered sugar, butter, rind and juice in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
Store the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve. When ready, top with candied clementines if desired.