Local Flavor: Whole Clementine Cake
NOTE: For a more subtle almond flavor, you can reduce the amount of almond extract in the batter to 1/2 teaspoon and in the whipped cream to 1/8 teaspoon.
For the cake:
- Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the pan
- 4 clementines, unpeeled and quartered (9 1/2 ounces)
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups (349g) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups (325g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the whipped cream:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Pinch kosher salt
- Zest from 1 clementine (about 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon almonds, roasted, salted, and chopped
Preheat the oven:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set it aside.
Puree the clementines:
Place the clementines, oil, and milk into a food processor set with a blade attachment. Puree until completely smooth with just a few tiny pieces of zest visible. It should look like you zested the clementine with a rasp grater.
The batter comes together in the food processor. I used a 14-cup food processor, and it didn’t overflow. Don’t use anything smaller than a 9-cup food processor.
Add the remaining wet ingredients:
Add the sugar and process until just combined. Add the eggs, almond extract, and vanilla extract, and pulse 5 to 6 times until just combined.
Add the dry ingredients:
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and pulse until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed.
Bake the cake:
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and gently tap the pan 3 times on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until the outer edges of the cake are golden brown, have slightly pulled away from the sides, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 55 minutes to 1 hour.
Cool the cake:
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely for about 2 hours. Place the wire rack on top of the pan and gently invert the cake onto it. Flip a cake stand or serving platter on the cake and gently invert it so that the cake sits on the platter right side-up.
Make the whipped cream:
Just before serving, combine the heavy cream, sugar, almond extract, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy and medium-stiff peaks have formed, 2 to 3 minutes. It should be soft, hold its shape pretty well, and the tip of the peak should curl over itself when the beater is lifted.
Decorate the cake:
When the cake is completely cooled, spoon the whipped cream in the center of the cake and use the back of the spoon to spread it over the top, creating swoops and leaving about a 1-inch border. Sprinkle with the clementine zest and the almonds.
The cake can stay on the counter for up to 3 days without the whipped cream on top. Tightly wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and then again in foil. To refrigerate it, brush the top of the cake with simple syrup, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil, and refrigerate for up to 1 week.