Friday, April 11, 2008

A Cake for Company

Since I knew they were comin' I baked a cake.
And because they were coming from across the country (and, in the case of one of them, from across a lot of years) I wanted it to be wonderful. When I want wonderful, I frequently turn to Nigella.

Nigella Lawson's Clementine Cake
from "How to Eat"
4-5 clementines, about 1 pound total weight)
[Margin Note: Since clementines' brief season had passed, I used tangerines. Nigella notes that you also can use an equal weight of oranges]
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 + 1/3 cups ground almonds
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

Put the clementines in a pot with cold water to cover; bring to the boil and cook for two hours. Drain, and, when cool, cut each fruit in half and remove the seeds.
Then chop everything finely -- skins,pith, fruit -- in the processor (or by hand, of course).

Preheat the overn to 375-degrees F. Butter and line an 8-inch springform pan. [M.N.: I buttered but did not line. I should have lined.]
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the sugar, almonds and baking powder. Mix well, adding the chopped clementines. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for an hour, when a skewer will come out clean; you'll probably have to cover the cake with foil after about 40 minutes to stop the top burning. [M.N.: My cake was done in a little over 50 minutes. Start skewer-testing early.]
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack -- but in the pan -- until cake is completely cold. I think this is better a day after it's made, but I don't complain about eating it any time.[M.N.: I think it's a *lot* better the day after it's made, which inspires me to get it done ahead, saving both prep and clean-up time the day of a dinner party.]

Nigella calls this "the easiest cake I know." Hmmm. I think Sylvia Vaughn Thompson's Fresh Ginger Cake might be easier -- it's certainly quicker -- but I'll concede that the clementine cake is even more delicious. Almost as delicious as spending a long food-and-wine-filled evening with old and new friends.

Postscript:Why no photo of the unmolded cake? Because I sent it to the living room but stayed behind in the kitchen for a few minutes to brew coffee. My plan was to join everyone, take a quick photo and then give each of them a thin, thin slice (it's a very rich cake)accompanied by a dab of lightly sweetened whipped cream and a big spoonful of raspberries.
There were eight of us. This cake easily serves 10-12. Coffee in press-filter carafes takes only a moment to make, but by the time I rejoined the party, Someone had whacked it into eight big pieces and served all but mine.
I try -- in this day of moderate eating and controlled sugar consumption -- not to force feed a guest a horse-choking-size piece of cake. No one, however, complained. And there were no leftovers.


lmc said...

it sounds and looks delicious and no doubt your guests are still talking about the wonderful evening!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Obviously your guests felt very at! ;-)

EAT! said...

I too write Margin Notes. what a great way to remember what I have actually cooked from my cookbooks and if I liked the recipe. This cake is going on my dessert menu for this week.

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