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Aren’t clementines like the best thing ever? Peeling requires so little effort, and yet it reveals so much delicious juicy flavor. It’s hard to restrain yourself, and even buying a 5 pound box doesn’t seem to make them stick around for long. I had plans to work on this cake and twice, when I was ready to begin, the clementines were all gone! That required an extra trip to town, and another 5 pound box. What a pity, huh?
Which brings up the question of what to do with those little boxes, once they are empty. It seems like they should be able to serve some useful purpose. Something besides kindling for fires in the wood stove out in the shop, which is where they always seem to end up around here. [ha – I just searched on Pinterest for “clementine crates” – apparently, I am not the only one who thinks they should not go to waste!]
But, back to the cake, now that I have a fresh supply of clementines. This recipe was inspired by Larry’s grandmother, who often made a cake that included a whole orange, ground up, peels and all. I think that modern oranges must have more bitterness in the peels though, because when I tried her recipe, it was not as good as I remembered hers being. I kind of put the idea on the back burner, until it occurred to me to try clementines. The skin on a clementine is very thin, and not nearly as bitter as an orange – it seemed I had found the [very tasty] answer.I decided since the topping mixture, and then the clementines, had to be ground up in the food processor anyway, that I would find a way to do all of the mixing in the processor. I mean, once you haul that big old thing out, who wants to mess with the stand mixer and another big thing to wash? Not me, and I bet not you either. Just for kicks I mixed one up in the mixer, and it wasn’t one bit better than the one done all in the processor. So save yourself a little dishwashing.
Clementine Crunch Cake
- Crunch Topping
- 3 ounces toasted walnuts or pecans
- 2 ounces soft butter
- 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- The Cake
- 2 clementines washed and cut into eights
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups buttermilk well shaken
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350º. Prepare a 10 cup bundt pan, by buttering very generously and dusting with flour, knocking out any excess flour.
- Measure the topping ingredients into the bowl of the food processor - pulse until the nuts are chopped in medium pieces and the other ingredients well combine. Distribute half of this mixture into the bundt pan, and reserve the remainder in a small bowl.
- In the same bowl of the food processor [no need to wash it out], finely grind the clementines.
- One at a time, add the sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk, pulse after each addition, until completely incorporated.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until incorporated. Don't overmix - this will probably take about about 6 to 8 pulses.
- Scrape half of the batter over the topping in the bundt pan.
- Distribute the second half of the topping ingredients over the batter.
- Finally, scrape in the remainder of the batter, and smooth out evenly.
- Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then invert onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or room temperature. You can top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or some whipped cream, if you like.
The cake is moist and luscious, having a nicely prominent orange flavor, with some lovely undertones from the nuts and cinnamon – and, as promised in the name of the recipe – some crunch!