Clementine Cakes with Dark Chocolate Glaze
Consider these clementine cakes my apology for throwing that heaping pile of indulgent deliciousness in your direction last week. When I tell you that these mini cakes are guilt-free, I mean they are completely guilt free. They also happen to be gluten-free, refined sugar-free and flour-free (ok, flourless but I was on a roll there!). Did I forget to mention that they are also packed with protein and fiber? I know, it’s too good to be true.
These mini beauties are adapted from a recipe made famous by the Domestic Goddess herself, Nigella. As strange as it sounds, you puree whole clementines (after boiling the heck out of them!), mix that with ground almonds, a couple other baking staples and you have the most incredibly moist, flavorful mini cakes around. Dip them in dark chocolate (packed with antioxidants!) and you have all the indulgence without the waistline impact. Like I said: Guilt. Free.
I’ve been intrigued by this recipe for years. Pureed whole clementines? Well, that just sounds too weird to possibly work. Truthfully, I was anticipating a disaster. I’m so relieved to report that the results were anything but disastrous. Moist, flavorful, sweet and so darn cute!
A couple notes before you head into the kitchen with your crate of clementine cuties: Be sure that you boil your clementines for at least two hours to eliminate any potential bitterness. Be careful to avoid using any clementines that may have cracked during the boiling process. These clementines will likely be waterlogged and may result in a soggy cake. I boiled three extra clementines to account for any that may crack.
The dark chocolate glaze is simply melted dark chocolate combined with heavy cream. If the calories in the cream are giving you a panic attack, just drizzle the melted chocolate over the cakes. Problem solved.
Also, the original recipe called for a full sized springform pan as the cake tends to stick to the edges of the pan. To solve that problem, I used a mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms. Be sure to grease the pan or spray with non-stick spray before using to prevent the cakes from sticking.
For my chocolate lovers out there, try adding a 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa to the batter for a little double chocolate goodness! Oh, you know that I’m already coming up with excuses to make a double chocolate batch.
From a purely technical standpoint, the texture of these cakes is closer to that of a muffin than a traditional cake. In my personal opinion, that simply increases the utility of this recipe. Make it for brunch. Serve it for dessert. Have a couple as an afternoon snack. This recipe is the multi-tasker of the baking world. Go forth and enjoy guilt-free baked goods!
Clementine Cakes with Dark Chocolate Glaze
Yield: 11-12 mini cakes
1/2 pound (3-4) clementines
1 1/3 cup almond meal*
1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 oz. quality dark chocolate, 70% cocao
1/3 cup heavy cream
Chopped almonds, for topping (optional)
- Fill a large pot with cold water, enough to cover the clementines. Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly and cook the clementines for 2 hours at a gentle boil. Be careful to reduce the heat when needed to avoid the water from boiling over.
- After 2 hours, remove clementines from water, drain and let cool. Once cool, cut the clementines in half to remove any seeds. Place entire clementines (rind and all) in a food processor, blender or a large bowl using an immersion blender. Blend until fruit is pureed.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a mini-cheesecake pan or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs until pale and fluffy. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, almond meal and baking powder. Stir until combined. Add the pureed clementines. Stir to combine.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool before attempting to remove from the pan.
- While cakes are cooling, break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat proof bowl. Using a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour over the chocolate and let stand for a minute until the chocolate begins to melt. Using a small rubber spatula, blend the chocolate and cream using a small circular motion until smooth and fully combined.
- Once cakes are cool, run a knife around the edge of each cake and remove from pan. Dip the top of each cake in the chocolate mixture and sprinkle with chopped almonds, if using. Let chocolate cool before serving the cakes.
* You can purchase almond meal at Trader Joe's and similar natural food stores. Alternatively, grind raw almonds in a food processor until sandy. Be careful to stop blending before it turns to almond butter!