Clementines are the fruit of Christmas. Every year, I dig through my stocking to discover a juicy clementine, a walnut in its shell and a 20 pence coin. Nothing brings me more joy than the stocking opening ritual and the certainty of a clementine waiting for me at the bottom.

Citrus fruit really comes into its own during the festive period. Fresh juicy oranges, grapefruits, clementines, satsumas and mandarins. Whether you’re warming up some mulled wine with oranges and cinnamon, or making a rich dark chocolate and clementine cake, citrus fruit makes everything taste more festive.

Now that the Christmas lights are glowing around the city and advent is around the corner, I baked the first seasonal cake of Christmas. Nigella’s clementine cake recipe is as simple as possible. I opted for ground pistachios to replace almonds for their bright colour and intense flavour.

The most satisfying aspect of this cake is boiling and blitzing the clementines. By boiling the clementines for two hours, they soften to a point that even the skin can be blitzed. The end result is a sweet clementine puree that is folded through the rest of the mixture. The intense sweet smell that fills the kitchen as the clementines are boiling is powerful. You can almost taste the fruit through the scent alone.

Whilst this cake may be simple to make, it’s beautiful to look at and has a sweet yet sharp flavour. It’s the best cake to help build up some Christmas excitement.


The Recipe (Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s clementine cake recipe)

3 clementines + juice and zest of 1 for the top
6 eggs
225g golden caster sugar
150g ground pistachios + 50g extra for the top
100g ground almonds
1 tsp. baking powder

– Place the clementines in a pan with cold water. Bring to the boil and let them boil for two hours.
– Meanwhile, grease and line a 21cm round tin and pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees.
– Once the clementines have boiled, remove them from the pan and leave to cool a little.
– Cut in half and remove any pips. Place in a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth puree.
– In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, ground nuts and baking powder. Mix in the clementine puree.
– Once everything is combined, pour into the tin and bake for one hour. Check after 30 minutes and if it looks like it’s turning too brown, place some foil on top. My cake was ready after 40 minutes so check every 10 minutes after the half way mark.
– Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool.
– Whilst the cake is cooling, prick it all over and squeeze the juice of a clementine on top.
– Sprinkle with the remaining pistachios and the zest of the clementine.