Before we get to today’s recipe for gluten-free grain-free Double Chocolate Clementine Cake, first, a Key West mention. The photo below is the view from our favorite seats here in Key West: Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill, & Brewery (update: now under new ownership and called First Flight).
Housed in the original home of Pan American Airlines, it’s the ultimate spot for Happy Hour. I sooo love Banyan trees!
Now … let’s talk cake. For years, I’ve wanted to try Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake.
For one thing, it’s a flourless cake. You all know how I seriously love flourless recipes (and, along the same lines, crustless pies).
Nigella’s Clementine Cake is also a recipe made with ground raw almonds (or purchased high-quality almond flour), and I’ve really enjoyed using almond flour of late (like in My First Raw Pie). But, most importantly, this particular recipe has always intrigued me.
Why? The main reason is that for this recipe, you boil and simmer the Clementines—whole!—for two hours and then you add the Clementines—again, whole (less any seeds, of course)—to the cake batter.
Fascinating, huh? Each holiday season, I’ve always purchased the Clementines, but each year I run out of time with my baking schedule or the Clementines simply get eaten … and, in the end, the cake does not get made.
I decided that this year would be the year that I actually followed through and made this cake. I did not want to make Nigella’s original recipe, the basic Clementine cake, though.
I love almond flour for baking and I enjoy orange-infused baked goods, but adding chocolate to the mix, specifically, to the cake itself, was definitely one of my requirements.
Topping with a glaze—a chocolate glaze, to be specific—would be another requirement. Hence, the name: Double-Chocolate Clementine Cake.
The timing was especially right this year to not only make the cake, but also to share it with others.
Actually, that was my third requirement … as I didn’t want to get stuck home alone with such an irresistible cake. Mr. GFE rarely indulges in sweets. Sigh.
We had a cousins’ party to attend one evening and I knew I’d be attending a friend’s open house the following day. I was also sure my co-workers would enjoy this double chocolate-orange treat.
Yes, this one cake would provide enough servings for all three events as one can be very happy with a small piece of it. It’s a lovely chocolate-orange cake.
The cake itself is wonderfully dense and not too sweet. The glaze provides just enough of a cocoa-sugary taste and that somewhat silky, somewhat crumbly texture.
This cake would be a great addition to a tea party spread, too.
Got Clementines? Got almonds (or high-quality almond flour)? Then give it a go. You won’t be disappointed.
Update: Here’s Diane’s (The Whole Gang) input from her impressive experience making the cake using her Vitamix:
“OK you’re in for a treat. I used my Vitamix Pro 500 to make the Clementine ingredient a 5-min task instead of 2 hours. It has a setting for soup that blends and cooks the ingredients into a creamy smooth clementine mix. I added 1/4 cup of orange juice just to make sure there was enough liquid to get it going. I thought it looked so amazing I tasted it. It was very, very tart and bitter but when baked in the cake, amazing. I even made the glaze in the Vitamix and poured the warm chocolate over the cake. My springform pan was a little smaller than called for so I had extra and I made cupcakes. I’m just so impressed with the amazing texture of this recipe.”
Flourless Double Chocolate Clementine Cake
If you love the chocolate-orange flavor combination, you will be over the moon with this divine flourless Double Chocolate Clementine Cake!
- 5 clementines
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 1/3 cups Honeyville blanched almond flour (or finely ground raw almonds, NOT Bob's Red Mill almond flour)
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (regular is fine)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch salt
Cake Batter Instructions
- Scrub clementines and rinse well. Place clementines in a pot with enough cold water to cover them. Bring water to a boil, and cook at a simmer for 2 hours. Drain. When cool enough, pull apart, and remove any seeds. (My clementines had no seeds whatsoever.) Add to food processor or blender and finely chop fruit, peel, and all. (I used my blender for this step and it worked fine.)
- Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.
- Grease and line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
- Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almond flour, and baking powder. Mix well, adding the chopped clementines.
- Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cover the cake with foil after about 40 minutes to prevent the top from burning. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan.
- Once cake has cooled, remove from pan. Prepare glaze as shown below and pour/spoon over cake.
- In small saucepan, combine water and powdered sugar until smooth. Sift cocoa over sugar mixture; blend well. Stir in olive oil and salt. Warm glaze over low heat, stirring constantly, until just warm to the touch. Drizzle glaze over top of cake. Allow to set 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson.
This is definitely a cake that improves after a day or two when the flavors all meld together, but it's delightfully moist and flavorful from Day One. If the glaze should harden before you finish preparing it and adding to cake, add a little more water and warm to spreading consistency. The glaze recipe is from another wonderful gluten-free, dairy-free cake here at gfe: Mediterranean Chocolate Cake.
Enjoy all … we are! There’s a Life is Good store here in Key West.
I am weak for their shirts. All the messages are great.
Of course, there are Life Is Crap shirts across the way on Duval. Nope, I won’t be buying those.
Originally published December 29, 2009; updated December 3, 2022.
I’m speechless. Its gorgeous. Yum. Key west looks great too =D.
Hey, Lauren–Thanks so much, dear! The cake turned out very well. Key West is so much fun. 😉
Alisa - Frugal Foodie says
Oh yum! You really outdid yourself Shirley!
Hey there, Alisa– 🙂 Thanks! Nothing hard to this recipe … you just have to plan for time for the Clementines to cook. A great way to get one’s Vitamin C, huh? 😉
Oh my…..I can’t even begin to imagine how this cake tastes! I have a box of clementines, so I may just give it a try. 🙂
Hope you are enjoying vacation!
Hi Kim–I hope you give it a try and let us know. The chocolate-orange combo is very nice, and it’s just cool to make a cake using the whole Clementines.
Last full day of vacation before we fly back tomorrow … just in time before it gets too crazy here on New Year’s Eve. 😉 We’ve had a lot of fun … family time and couple time while Son was off with newfound friends.
This looks so good and we LOVE clementines. I tried to hit the printer friendly buttton, but for some reason, it took me to an error page. Oh well, cut and paste worked well too. Thanks for sharing your recipe!
BTW, we made the Pomerdoodle ice cream for Christmas and it was a big hit! We made it with coconut milk (since we are also dairy free), doubled the Pom Wonderful juice, cut the sugar in half and added a Tablespoon of Orange Liquor to keep it soft. It turned out really good.
Hi Christina–Thanks for alerting me to the print issue. My boo boo in the code I manually enter. Fixed now. 🙂 Will look forward to you sharing your version if you give this cake a try.
Appreciate the input on the POMerdoodle ice cream. I love using coconut milk in ice cream and halving the sugar, upping the POM, and adding orange liqueur all sound like great modifications. Will give your version a try soon myself!
Shirley, this is sinful. It is beautiful and I know it tastes like chocolate. That is the biggest compliment since I love chocolate. I can tell you that translates to “the best.”
Hey Chaya–I gotta agree with your sentiments on chocolate being “the best.” 😉 For me, if this cake didn’t have the thin chocolate glaze, it would not have enough chocolate. With the glaze, it’s just right. 🙂
Katrina (gluten free gidget) says
I tried to make one of these with Red Mill Almond Meal…. it was a sad sad disaster! Thanks for warning your readers! 😉
Katrina–Oh no … I’m sorry that you had that experience with Bob’s Red Mill. (Personally, I’m not a fan of Bob’s Red Mill products for a number of reasons.) The Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour works beautifully in this recipe and all others I’ve tried. It’s pricey, but a 5-lb bag (stored in my refrigerator) has lasted for a long time. It’s definitely been worth the slightly higher price for the quality and outstanding raw and baked goods that it’s allowed me to make. I got free shipping on my order and they always run specials. 🙂
Yikes! All I have is Bob’s Red Mill. what was the nature of your disaster?
Cheryl Linck says
Yes! That’s all I have as well. Was hoping to make a flourless chocolate clementine cake today, and I’m 40 miles from the nearest store with more than two inches of fresh snow.
I to am wondering why Bob’s Red Mill almond flour SO bad 🙁
Shirley Braden says
Cheryl–I doubt that either Katrina or Bliss is still following these comments after leaving them so long ago. Bob’s Red Mill almond “flour” at the time was really almond meal. It was not ground finely enough to be considered true almond flour. With it, you would not have ended up with a beautiful cake like you see in my photos. I’ve heard that their current product is ground a bit finer these days (and has a label to reflect that fact). However, I have not used it so I can’t compare it to the very finely ground almond flours that I use. Finely ground almond flours are the secret to successful grain-free baking. You could also possibly try running their flour through your food processor a bit to get a finer product but I can’t guarantee what your results will be. I do understand why you don’t want to head to the store of course! If you decide to be bold and give BRM a go in this recipe, please let us know your results. Fingers crossed.
Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free says
I have 5 pounds of clementines at home…I’ve been thinking about what I should make with them. A variation on this would be so much fun. Thanks for linking up to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!
Hi Amy–I’m so glad you said that. I’d love for you to make an even healthier version of this Clementine cake. I’ll have to give it another go if you do. As it is, this cake has oranges, almond flour, and cocoa—no gluten, no grains, no dairy—but, I know you can modify the sweetening portion and make a version that will make it an option for others who are striving to eat even better. 🙂
I’ve always wanted to go to Key West. I’ll get there one day. And nice combo with the chocolate and orange. Love it!!
And with all the “frees” in the name of this cake, I’ll be looking forward to a calorie free version next! : ) Happy New Year to you Shirley! All the best to you in 2010!
Hey Anali–I bet you will make it to Key West and I know there will be much that you will enjoy when you do. 🙂 Thanks re: the cake … it’s hard to go wrong when you start with a Nigella recipe. 😉 But, hmmm, on the calorie free … as cakes go though, with almond flour and oranges, it’s definitely a healthier version that most! You can easily leave off the glaze to reduce the calories, too.
Thanks so very much for the New Year wishes! I’m wishing the same for you, my dear. Hoping you are having a lovely celebration in Quincy (or thereabouts)!
[email protected] says
This sounds wonderful!! Happy New Year and thanks for linking to TMTT.
Hi Lisa–Thanks! It really is quite delicious. Now that we are home from vacation, I can’t wait to catch up with the TMTT entries and all my other happy blog reading.
Thanks so much for the New Year wishes! Happy 2010 to you as well! I just love new beginnings. 🙂
A friend made a clementine cake for me once. It was very good and much like a pound cake. It wasn’t chocolate, though. This looks delicious.
Hi Linda–Ah, you have Clementine cake experience. 😉 How sweet that your friend made a Clementine cake for you. I think you’d really like the chocolate version—an enhanced pound cake, you might say.
Thanks! I look forward to catching up with the other What can I eat? entries tomorrow. 🙂
Chocolate cake + key West = Heaven!
Happy New year.
Just as an FYI:
H.Peter–LOL Thanks! I had some other fabulous desserts in Key West … yum.
Okay, I do feel badly now that you shared your local weather report. That’s why you will only see me visiting Calgary in the summer time. 😉 Wow. I’m amazed you aren’t all frozen popsicles. I was feeling a bit of shock from the cold here after being in Key West for a week, but wow, I do feel badly for you.
Happy 2010 to you, too! Almost there …
Please stop at my other blog
Hi Chaya–Congrats again for your Sugar Doll award! And, thanks so very much for honoring me with the award as well. I truly appreciate the honor and, especially, your sweet words. Finally, although I don’t know most of the bloggers whom you bestowed the award upon, I do know Amy and Lauren and it’s a great privilege to be in the same category as these wonderful ladies. 🙂 I look forward to visiting the other blogs that you’ve given the award, too. It’s always fun to discover terrific new blogs!
Hey Shirley! Looks like fun in the key west there. Wish I could join you! That is one dynamite cake you’ve made. You can’t go wrong with chocolate and oranges. Merry-late Christmas and Happy New Years!
Hi Chelsey–It was a lot of fun, but back home now. That’s good, too. 🙂 I like orange, but yes, the chocolate with the oranges was a winning combo. 😉 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, my dear! I’m thinking that another Flippin Fast Fridays is coming up at your blog, The Crazy Kitchen—hope I didn’t miss one …
I am sure, everyone here, knows what kind of a person, you are but I have to reiterate that you are the best.
Thanks for those very kind words, on my blog. If everyone wrote thank you’s like that, we would all be in a continual state of happiness.
Ha…you are SO cute and funny…luv that about you! Thank YOU so much for your funny, sweet, and cute comments….YOU know you are appreciated!
Happy and Prosperous Blessings for 2010!
Thanks so much, Pam! You always make me feel very appreciated! I’ll have to buy some more Clementines and make another cake, but I’ll do it for you, dear. 😉
Oh…I can taste it now!
Oh yea…and bring a piece of that cake when you visit next time too….lol!!!
wow! It looks so moist – and it’s one I could easily translate to honey or date sweetened too. I just wanted to thank you for your lovely comments over Christmas, they bought a little tear of gratitude to my eye. I’m very grateful that there are such kind hearted souls as you are, just a click away. Thank you for enriching my day – again! x x x
Hi Naomi–Yes, delightfully moist. I think this cake would be easy to adapt to SCD. I want to make it with honey next time myself. I think the honey would give it a more distinctive flavor and the glaze wouldn’t even be missed (much like the chocolate honey banana walnut cake I made).
Glad to send some kindness back your way, my dear. You’re a gift to us all. it is quite a lovely little network that we have going on!
Carol, Simply...Gluten-free says
Yum! Happy new year to you my dear!
Hi Carol–Thanks on both counts! 2010 … I’m really looking forward to it. We’re on Day 3 already! 🙂
I’ve made that clementine cake before – as written – but yours DEFINITELY takes the cake! (sorry, couldn’t resist.) What a wonderful treat. Chocolate and orange (well, clementine) were made for each other.
Hi, Alta–Too cute … thanks for the compliment! I never tried the original, and not to brag, but somehow I just know I’d like my double-chocolate version better. 😉
Diane-The WHOLE Gang says
I’ve been thinking about this cake for days now and thought for sure I had left a comment. You know for some reason a cake made from almond flour does not seem like a dessert in the way that it’s empty calories. I love all the great nutrients of almond flour. I however love chocolate even more. My plan is to make this for Valentine’s Day, if I can wait that long.
Diane–Your comment made me chuckle because you did exactly the same thing I did once. I had commented on your Facebook post and then wondered why my comment didn’t show up on your blog. That’s what you did, dear. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of it all, isn’t it? I agree re: the almond flour. No carb-induced daze afterwards either … or wanting more and more. The whole low-glycemic thing I guess. Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it. Around here we can only get Clementines for so long though, so that might be a reason to make this earlier. 😉 See … as always, I’m here to help! LOL
that cake slice looks so sinful but so right to bite into! I love it! I hope you had a great NYE!!!
Hey there, Bren!–Thanks so much for stopping by … welcome to gfe officially! 😉 Thanks for the cake kudos. That means a lot coming from the flan queen—another flourless, naturally gluten-free favorite of mine. I’ll make you this cake if you make your Pomegranate Grand Marnier Flan for me … deal? Seriously. 🙂
We had a quiet NYE. We had just gotten back from Key West, but NYEE was rocking while we were still there! Hope you had a fun NYE. Happy 2010, Bren!
noble pig says
Oh lovely and Happy New Year!!
Thanks so much, Cathy! All the best to you and Noble Pig and crew for 2010! 🙂
Jenna @ Newlyweds says
OH wow, this recipe and pictures look absolutely amazing. I wonder how I could make this sugar free as well???? Oh my we have so many satsuma’s (very similar to clementines) from our tree that we need to use, perfect excuse right?
Hi Jenna–Welcome to gfe! Thanks for the compliments on my Clementine cake. I was very pleased with it. 🙂 I actually think it would be easy to make it refined sugar free with agave or honey. I haven’t give any thought to the “conversion” yet, but I think I may take this to a function next weekend and I’ll want to make it refined sugar free for that. So, I’ll report back if I do. Of course, if you do some experimenting and make it before then, please let us know, too. Based on my flourless chocolate honey banana walnut cake ingredients, I’m thinking 3/4 cup to 1 cup of agave or honey would work …
Nance in Oregon ;) says
Made this and it has become the Hubs second favorite cake and he is not GF! Had quite a few leftover clementines so cooked them and whirled them and they are in the freezer for future cakes. Love your recipes. You make life not only easy, but very tasty.
Hi, Nance–You have a knack for making my day! Thanks so much for your kind words. 🙂 Great idea on freezing your “processed” Clementines for future cakes! I’m so happy this cake made #2 on your hubby’s list! Of course, I want to know what #1 on his list is … might be a cake I need to make … soon. 😉
Nance in Oregon ;) says
Shirley, good old fashioned oatmeal cake that he calls his ‘Hunting Cake’. Grin. I just KNOW you can make that one GF. 😉 It stays so moist and he can pretend it is ‘healthy’. LOL!
Oatmeal cake! Would never have guessed, Nance. LOL Will have to do some recipe research. I’m always up for a challenge and my gf oats will be in by the end of the week. 🙂 Maybe I can make it a healthier, hunting cake. BTW, I was just reading about the many nutritional benefits of eating oatmeal for gf folks who can eat it.
Karen G says
Made this cake with some small satsuma oranges from my farmer’s (CSA) box and a bag of soon-to-be-expired roasted almonds. I ground the almonds in my food processor after rinsing the salt off them. The recipe turned out GREAT. Just went to Trader Joes to pick up my first package of almond flour. I’m looking forward to the possibilities.
Hi Karen G–Welcome to gfe! Thanks so much for sharing your success—reading your comment is such a great way to start my day. 🙂 I love how you worked with what you had at hand. Another reader had mentioned the satsuma oranges and I had not heard of them before. I hope the almond flour from Trader Joes will work as well. The key is to have really finely ground almond flour. I only have experience with the Honeyville (and grinding my own in the food processor as you did), so please report back and let us know what you think. Enjoy the rest of your clementine cake!
Best to you and thanks again!
So I recently made this because, like you, I was intrigued for quite some time! Unfortunately, I wasn’t so crazy about it (and trust me, it’s rare for me to find a dessert I don’t like!) I found it rather bitter actually. I did cut the recipe in half, and I used 2 large tangerines so maybe the proportions were off. But really, I’m guessing my problem was not adding chocolate – chocolate makes everything better!
Hi Cara–If I’m understanding you correctly, you made Nigella’s original recipe (or a close facsimile). I would expect that it would be a bit bitter without the chocolate to balance it. The sweet factor goes up quite a bit with the chocolate in the cake itself and as topping. A friend had made the original version and didn’t rave over it. She said it was better the next day, which told me it wasn’t too great the first day and not really wonderful even then. Still some people raved, so I had to make it, but also had to add in the chocolate as a little insurance. 😉
P.S. Welcome to gfe! 🙂
Diane-The W.H.O.L.E. Gang says
OK you’re in for a treat. I used my Vitamix Pro 500 to make the Clementine ingredient a 5 min task instead of 2 hours. It has a setting for soup that blends and cooks the ingredients into a creamy smooth clementine mix. I added 1/4 cup of orange juice just to make sure there was enough liquid to get it going. I thought it looked so amazing I tasted it. It was very very tart and bitter but when baked in the cake, amazing. I even made the glaze in the Vitamix and poured the warm chocolate over the cake.
My springform pan was a little smaller than called for so I had extra and I made cup cakes. I’m just so impressed with the amazing texture of this recipe.
So the only problem I see now is I can make this cake so fast I can eat it even faster.
Diane–You’re amazing! That’s an absolutely brilliant idea. 🙂 I know what you mean about the batter tasting bitter, but the resulting cake being amazing. It gets better after a day or two, too. That glaze is the bomb, isn’t it? LOL on the speed of making and eating. Sometimes technology can be a bad thing LOL … just depends on how you look at it! 😉
Thanks so much for coming back and sharing your success! I think I’ll update the post to include your “field modification.” 🙂
Can I use another gluten-free flour as a substitute? We need a gluten-free, dairy-free, tree nut-free dessert to meet all of our family’s allergy needs.
Hi Kristen–Welcome to gfe! 🙂 You can certainly try making this cake with gluten-free all-purpose flour. If so, I’d love to hear how it turns out. It may work just fine. If you use xanthan gum, you might add about a tsp of that as some insurance on the binding factor. Or you could try one of my other chocolate cakes on my blog; e.g., Mediterranean Chocolate Cake, that better fits your family’s specific needs. For a really decadent cake, you could make my flourless chocolate cake using dairy-free chocolate and dairy-free butter.
Hope one of these options works out for you and your family, Kristen! Please report back. 😉
Ok – I’m not familiar with Original Clementine cake, so need to ask for certain… Are PEELED Clementines boiled or do you boil them WHOLE with the peel?? … Recipe doesn’t say to peel or not. From directions, I assume to boil whole with the peel ON.
“Scrub Clementines and rinse well. Place Clementines in a pot with enough cold water to cover them. Bring water to a boil, and cook at a simmer for 2 hours. Drain. When cool enough, pull apart, and remove any seeds.”
Hi Dawn–Welcome to gfe! 🙂 That is right, you don’t peel the Clementines. You boil them whole. I mentioned that in the second paragraph, but I guess I should go back and add that wording in the recipe at that point to be clear. Thanks for the question! I hope you love this cake as much as I do. 😉
Suzanne R says
I’ve made Nigella’s original recipe several times over the years and love it. I also love chocolate, so this looks like a winning combination. Can’t wait to try your recipe.
Shirley Braden says
Hi Susanne–Great to see you here again. 🙂 I really think this double chocolate version of Nigella’s original Clementine cake is so much better because chocolate and orange beats orange alone IMO. 😉 I hope you agree when you taste this cake!