Citrus-flavored and richly textured, Tangerine Almond Cake has a Middle-Eastern pedigree. If you’re at all familiar with Ottolenghi & Tamimi’s Jerusalem, from which this recipe’s adapted, then you just know this cake’s something special. Special enough for your Valentine.
We received two seemingly unrelated holiday gifts last year. A copy of Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem and a box of beautiful organic Satsuma mandarins (tangerines). Most wonderfully, when I first looked at the book it fell open to the photo and recipe for Clementine & Almond Syrup Cake. I got the message. This would be the cake for Paul’s birthday less than a week away.
In both cooking and in life
“Love is not only the most important ingredient; it is the only ingredient that really matters.” Tassajara Bread Book
Not just at Valentine’s Day but throughout the year. Love infuses everything you cook, everything you do, with your heart’s joy and caring. People notice though rarely realize that its love that makes the meal exceptional, memorable. Food made with love goes straight to the heart. As with people, it is the love of the heart that matters most.
Non-dairy, gluten-free and sweetened with honey. . .not this time
The first cake, the one that received the kudos, contained organic butter, sugar and unbleached white flour. The second cake made last week for a dear friend’s birthday was non-dairy, gluten and sugar-free. It came out rather flatter and drier than the original. My mistake may have been making too many substitutions all at once. I topped this second cake with Very Berry Syrup from Fruit-Sweet & Sugar-Free to help hide a number of issues (notice the turned up “nose” in the photo below) and to provide a beautiful contrast of colors and flavors.
And now I’ve run out of time for any more experiments. Especially if I’m to get this most delicious Tangerine Almond Cake recipe to you in time for Valentine’s Day. It’s so worth making.
Though, if you prefer your cakes truly gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free, I’ve got you covered. Prepare my similar Orange & Almond Cake recipe instead.
Clementines, tangerines, satsumas, mandarins
All tangerines are mandarins. All mandarins are not tangerines. Closely related and similar in their small size, sweet taste and easily removed peel, they can be used interchangeably in Tangerine Almond Cake.
Inspired by and lightly adapted from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem.
My husband prefers this cake served with plain yogurt sweetened with a little honey. For a greater contrast of colors and textures, serve Tangerine Almond Cake with either Raspberry Puree or Very Berry Syrup from Fruit-Sweet & Sugar-Free..
Makes one 9 ½-inch cake, 8-12 servings
¾ cup butter, room temperature
1½ cups organic sugar OR ¾ cup light, local honey
Grated zest and juice of 4 tangerines
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2½ cups whole almonds, finely ground
5 large eggs, beaten
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached white flour
Pinch of salt
¼ cup light, local honey for the syrup
1 orange with the peel zested into long strips
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 ½-inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
- Put the butter, 1½ cups sugar OR ¾ cup honey and tangerine and lemon zests in a medium-size bowl. Combine the ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed to avoid beating in much air.
- Add half of the ground almonds, mixing on low speed until just combined.
- Add the beaten eggs gradually. Incorporate them completely before adding more.
- On low speed add the flour, salt and remaining almonds. Mix until smooth.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Level the top of the cake.
- Bake 45-60 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out a little bit moist.
- To make the syrup, combine the tangerine and lemon juice.
- About 5 minutes before the cake is done, place ½ cup of the juice along with the ¼ cup honey in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil then remove from the heat.
- Once you remove the cake from the oven, begin brushing it with the hot syrup. Use all the syrup.
- Remove the cake from the pan once it has cooled to room temperature.
- Serve garnished with the orange zest and a dollop of honey-sweetened yogurt on the side.