Recipe: Clementine cake

I have become obsessed with the weather this weekend. We’re due snow at some point tonight and I’ve been finding myself watching every forecast I can catch with an intensity normally reserved for a particularly dramatic episode of Hollyoaks*. If I admitted how many times I’ve checked the weather map online you might think I have a slight problem.

Clementine cake

I’ve never been a fan of snow, being the clumsy sort that only has to see anything remotely slippery to fall over. This is in stark contrast to Izzy who is so beside herself with the thought of snow, snowmen and snowball fights that she’s in danger of combusting. Quite what would happen if she knew there was a sledge in the boot of the car I’m not sure…

Walking though our local market on Saturday I was surrounded by people talking about their plans to stock up on bread and milk “just in case”. I have the required extra milk, more from a sense of duty rather than actually thinking I won’t be able to get to the village shop, but was more worried at the realisation that there was no cake in the house. The thought of dealing with snow with no cake is not a comfortable thought.

I caught a display of clementines out of the corner of my eye, still with their leaves attached and grabbed a bag thinking that a Clementine cake would be just the thing. Moist buttery sponge, drenched with a Clementine syrup and sprinkled with sugar.

Clementine cake slices

I thought I had a recipe for Clementine cake but it turned out I didn’t. Not wanting to turn on the laptop for fear of finding myself anxiously scanning the weather forecast again, I adapted a recipe for lemon drizzle from a book I often find myself turning to – Chocolate and Baking, general editor Gina Steer. It’s one of those books that is rammed with recipes from a broad general category, nothing new or earth shattering but always with a few gems that turn out perfectly each time. And it gave me a good base to work from.

The flavour from the clementines is relatively subtle, you know it’s there but it doesn’t jump and down demanding attention. The moistness of the sponge is highlighted by the crunch of the sugar topping, giving a pleasant contrast. The sugar topping isn’t strictly necessary, this cake is on the sweet side already with the syrup so if you aren’t the slightly greedy, sweet toothed person that we all seem to be then you may want to cut it into 24 squares instead.

So come on snow, I’m ready for you with my milk and cake. There’s only one slight problem, there’s only one slice left…

Clementine cake

*Yes, I am a 32 year old that still watches programmes aimed at teenagers. I’ve watched it from the start, some *cough* 16 years ago.

Clementine cake

Yield: 12 fingers or 24 squares

A moist buttery cake drenched with a Clementine syrup and with a crunchy sugary topping.


  • 170g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 5 clementines, 3 for the cake and 2 for the syrup
  • 50g granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 170 fan and line a 8 inch by 8 inch square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Cream the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, with a spoonful of flour each time to stop it from splitting, mixing well with each addition.
  3. Mix in the rest of the flour and add the juice and zest of 3 of the clementines, stirring well.
  4. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Once out of the oven make the syrup by adding the juice of the remaining 2 clementines and the granulated sugar to a small saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved (if you rub a small amount between your fingers you shouldn’t be able to feel any grains) and then boil for 3-4 minutes until the liquid thickens and becomes syrupy.
  6. Poke holes all over the surface of your cake, I use a kebab skewer for this and then pour the syrup all over. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and leave to cool in the tin.
  7. Once cool cut in to fingers or squares.

I’m linking this up to Tea Time Treats run by Karen (this month’s host) and Kate, where the theme is citrus.

I’m also sending this over to One Ingredient run by Laura (this months host) and Nazima, where the theme is oranges.

And finally I’m also linking up to Credit Crunch Munch, a new challenge co-hosted by Helen and Camilla as my bag of 10 clementines cost me the grand total of one whole pound.

*Post edited because I wasn’t paying attention and should have linked up to various other places and didn’t first time round.

  • @Lavender and Lovage

    Wow! Sian, that is a stunning cake, and my kind if cake as I adore clementines, and I must say your photos are gorgeous too! What a really wonderful entry into tea time treats, thanks so much for this inspired citrus cake……and I hope the snow stays away! Karen

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you very much Karen! Unfortunately the snow came, not much this morning but we’re due for a rather large amount amount overnight, more baking required!

  • Rita cooks Italian

    Hi Sian! I’m looking for a cake recipe too in order to survive the cold weather….I like the idea of using clementines as an alternative to lemon! I need to bake now….

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Ah, cake is usually the answer to cold weather! Let me know what you end up baking!

  • Ren Behan

    Gorgeousness, lovely photos and cake, of course. I love the clementines with leaves, they look so pretty. We have snow already – this is a good one for the kids to get involved in. Hope you enjoy the snow!

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Thanks Ren. It’s funny how those little leaves take them from a normal fruit to one that’s so pretty isn’t it.

  • Mostly Yummy

    Oh my word this looks amazing!
    P.S. I’m 35 and I still watch Hollyoaks too ;-)

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you lovely, mainly for admitting to being a Hollyoaks fan too ;-)

  • Polly

    Is a clementine the same as a mandarin?

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Pretty much yes, they’re from the same family. As far as I’m aware (and I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong!) mandarins have seeds whereas clementines don’t and they also tend to be slighter sweeter.

  • Angie

    The cake looks indeed smooth and moist. I love it.

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you!

  • Katie

    Mmmmm this looks wonderful Sian, and the way you describe it just makes me want to plunge straight into a lovely thick wedge washed down with a cuppa :)

    I’m a huge fan of watching shows aimed at teens – i was hooked on hollyoaks for years and am
    Obsessed with Friday Download,

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you Katie! It’s rapidly become a firm favourite here and I’ve already had demands for more.

      I have to admit that I think some of the best shows are those that are aimed at teens!

  • Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    I love this post, and your photography here is simple beautiful. Well done on creating something so delicious from a simple bargain bag of clementines. They are so much prettier with the leaves still on them and I have a few that need using up in the fruit bowl. If I’m honest, I don’t want snow as my teaching job takes me all over Surrey and I hate having to drive in snow!!!
    Thanks for entering One Ingredient xxx

    • Fishfingers for tea

      Thank you Laura! I hope you didn’t get too much snow and won’t get dumped on in the next day or so!

  • Camilla

    Thank you so much for entering #CreditCrunchMunch I didn’t want to let this super frugal cake slip through the net and it’s also one of your five a day too surely:-) I think if people wanted a more intense flavour they could grate some zest into the mix like I did in my Clementine Cookies recently.

    • Fishfingers for tea

      You’re welcome Camilla, I think #CreditCrunchMunch is a great idea. Anything that helps show you can still make some really tasty things on a budget can only be a good thing!

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