Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Clementine Honey Cake: The cake for winter

Clementines are a Christmas tradition of mine. When I was a child, there would always be a crate of clementines sitting under our stockings on Christmas morning. It was a Christmas-only treat, one I delightfully associated with The Days of the Wells Fargo Wagon bringing citrus to parts of the country that did not grow it. Of course, I grew up in the 90s, so this was not my reality, but the clementines were a sweet, child-friendly upgrade to the watery, hard-to-peel oranges that my father packed for lunch a few days a week. And I wanted to pretend I was from The Olden Times of Yesteryear.

I was genuinely sad when "Cutie" clementines became A Thing and suddenly, they were everywhere, no longer special. Luckily, (uhhh) they are still prohibitively expensive to make it onto our weekly shopping list, but they do still make it under our Christmas tree (now, Hosea's stocking).

As a child, I would devour my Christmas clementines by Boxing Day. While the temptation is still there, I also have a more mature palate than I used to and I find myself wanting to celebrate these little jewels in ways other than Straight-Down-The-Gullet. Cake is for mature palates, yes?

I imagined this cake after Christmas, with our wealth of clementines sitting around begging to be  turned into something delicious. I made the cake when we had a pile of these tiny orange orbs sitting in our new house, after a desperate attempt to Buy Anything The Toddler Will Eat
It is a good cake for winter, which might even mean that clementines get bought in January now. It is a great everyday cake... particularly for days when you should be doing something else. Like working. Or cleaning. Or calling your phone company. This recipe has a whole cup of whole wheat flour in it, which means that this gets to qualify as nutritive cooking, rather than frivolous baking. It's a necessity.

Cake Ingredients:

*3 clementines
*6 tbsp butter
*3/4c honey
*1 tbsp vanilla
*1 large egg
*1/4 c milk

*1 c white flour
*1 c whole wheat flour
*1/4 tsp salt
*2.5 tsp baking powder

**optional: powdered sugar

Whipped cream ingredients:

*1 clementine
*8 oz whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While it is preheating, put the butter in an oven safe mixing bowl and set inside the oven to melt. Meanwhile, grease a 9" cake pan.

Once butter is melted, remove from the oven and immediately (before allowing to cool) zest the 3 clementines into the butter. Do not touch the bowl, which will be hot. Obviously. Because I obviously didn't do that. Obviously.

Add the honey and beat. Once cool enough to touch, add the egg and beat.

Juice 2 of the clementines into a measuring cup. It should equal ~1/4c. If it falls too short, juice the third clementine. If it's close enough, peel the third clementine and feed it to the whiny people around you who are impatiently awaiting cake.

add enough milk to equal 1/2c and beat into the butter/honey mixture along with the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Then, slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing until the batter is smooth.

 Pour batter into greased cake pan and bake for 30-45min, or until a toothpick comes out clean

While baking, pour the whipping cream into a metal bowl and zest the final clementine into it. Refrigerate the bowl.

When done, allow the cake to cool completely. Dust lightly with powdered sugar, if desired. Beat the cream until whipped and top each slice with a generous dollop. Proceed to kick everyone else out of the house and eat the entire thing yourself.