Clementine Cake

At first I was afraid, I was petrified...when I learned of Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake, via the singing praises of her many fans.
To me, the idea of combining five, whole clementines with almond flour, seemed like a recipe for disaster.

The many hurrays (with only a few harrumphs) garnered by this cake over the years, finally convinced me to try it.

It was, with Open Arms, that I followed the lead of two culinary giants, Nigella Lawson, and Pierre Hermé, to create a festival of flavors in one dessert, lovingly concocted for the Wind Beneath my Wings.

Nigella’s book, How to Eat, describes this cake as "an easy to make, wonderfully-damp and aromatic flourless cake."
Hey, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.

The First Time I baked this cake, it turned out rather boring, unlike its lovely creator. Suspecting error on my part, I tried baking the cake again.
Surely a glug of Grand Marnier, a drape of chocolate ganache, and a supporting cast of delicately-crisp orange tuiles would be Almost Paradise.

Well, sadly, the cake never lived up to its superlatives. It was heavy, with a soggy texture, and it still lacked in flavor. A Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Btw, the reason I'm not including the recipe is because friends don't let other friends waste a perfectly good clementine. Not to mention, the recipe is all over the internet.

On the other hand, the Orange Tuiles from My Boo, Pierre Hermé, were light, citrus-y confections.

Only downside, the tuiles spread too much in the oven. And what started out as heart-shaped tuiles, emerged from the oven resembling the state of Mis . . . Mississip . . . Texas.

So, I had this brain flash to spread the tuile batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the tuiles as they came out of the oven.
Success! But I had to work quickly, while the tuiles were HOT! Ouch. Let me tell you, it was More Than a Feeling.

But, I Will Survive...

This experience was just a minute failure. And, for the record, I still love Nigella and Pierre. And I Would Do Anything For Love. But I Won't Do That . . .again.

The silver lining? This whimsical frog prince. He started with about 4 ounces of tinted marzipan. The body weighed almost 3 ounces, which left enough marzipan for the legs, feet and eyes.

Shape the largest piece into an oval for the body. Then gently roll the neck as shown, and prop the head on a sponge roller, for about 1 hour, to help maintain that pose.
Divide remaining marzipan (2 for the hind legs, 2 for the webbed feet, 2 for the front legs, and 2 for the eyes). Roll the two largest pieces into 2-inch long sausages, for the hind legs. Fold in half as pictured. Make the webbed feet, and front legs with the leftover marzipan.
With a wooden skewer, mark the nostrils. Attach all the pieces with edible glue made from Gum Arabic and a few drops of water. A mixture of powdered egg whites and water will work as well.

The crown was just a thin strip of gum paste, wrapped around my index finger, ends overlapped and glued. Painted gold using Gold Petal Dust, and a few drops of clear alcohol (gin, vodka, tequila), or lemon extract.

May your Valentine's Day be filled with chocolate, and favorite love songs.


  1. This is a work of art, Marysol! you have really taken Nigella's cake to a whole new - and extremely beautiful - level.

  2. That is such a magnificent cake! A work of art. and I love this cute frog! You are very talented!

    Happy Valentines Day!



  3. I've made the cake just once. The texture does take some getting used to... It is an interesting cake to make. Of course, mine didn't look quite so lovely as yours, and I also lacked the prince in frog's clothing... (still do).

    Beautiful, Sol!

  4. Your cake and tuiles are exactly you.
    Beautiful.What patience this took..but what results..the tuiles hearts are extraordinary surrounding the cake..and M.Grenouille:) You're really really really talented..And the message w/ the typewriter..? Is that yours with the letters? It is an object of affection here.

  5. Well, it LOOKS wonderful...It must be doggy recipe week, cause I tried a bomb too. Thought it was me..first batch fed the birds..second wasn't much better...it will probably be seconds for our feathered friends..

    You are such an artist! We have something in common..no, not talent, those cookie cutters! LOL
    Happy ♥ Day to you and yours!!

  6. That tuiled cake is a WORK OF ART and belongs at an exhibition!the tuiles are beautiful. Id like to try making them some day...and the frog ...what can I say ...just my type!! nice green and cute!! ~ a prince charming..

    awesome job Marysol! so awesome.....wish I could work with you or watch you work..id learn so much from you. (^^)

  7. Everything you do is a work of art, Marisol! Too bad it didn't taste as good as it looks but your post was not only visually appealing but put a smile on my face with your humor and song titles.

    I love that froggy!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  8. Thank you kind souls!

    I know I placed high expectations on this cake, but I love fresh Clementines so much, that I thought this recipe would actually take the delicious fruit to a much-higher level.

    Monique, don't you just love old typewriters?
    This one still works great, even the ribbon is intact. But the red message I originally typed on it, didn't show up well enough in the photo. So I cheated, and printed it out, using a much larger font to make it easier to read.

    Kathleen, it sucks to waste time and ingredients on a recipe destined for doom. But it happens to all of us from time to time. And, at least in your case, the birds were happy [G]

    Zurin, you're very kind. But I've learned much from you as well. From unusual ingredients, to amazing dishes, and even gadgets I didn't even know existed.
    You know, if all of us here got together, we could probably solve the World's woes in a weekend...over lunch.

    Susan, I kissed that princely little frog, and nothing happened. So I ate him! And it was good.

    Have a very happy Valentine's Day my sweet friends!

  9. Honestly, that frog prince is the best... if only we could all have them and they would turn to handsome beauties with a kiss... happy Valentines!!!

  10. Wow, very impressive. Well done!

  11. Marysol

    I am in total admiration of your talent and artistry! Believe me, Nigella has got nothing on you! You are more creative, I think! You need to blog more to our enjoyment! Ciao and happy valentines!

  12. The cake looks beautiful Sol even if it didn't live up to your expectations.

    But as a confirmed marzipan lover, I'll take the frog prince. He's lovely.

    ¡Feliz Dia de San Valentín!


  13. I love the many lyrics thrown into this post :)! And that frog is so cute, I would give him a little kiss to see if he'd turn into a prince ;). The cake is so lovely, the idea of combining clementines and almond flour does sound rather intimidating!

    Have a sweet Valentine's! :)

  14. Sol, my Funny Valentine, we have been waiting For the Longest Time for a post, the Way yay ting is Hardest Part! and this was worth the wait! what a fabulous post! You'll have everyone singing Sugar Sugar in no time!

    The whole cake is fabulous, but your frog has so much personality in the how to pics. Fantastic!

    Happy Valentine's Day, hope you are treated like the Queen you are by your Princes and Princess!

  15. What a cute prince! Gorgeous cake!
    Happy Valentines Day!

  16. Dear Monique, I think so too. XO

    Taste of Beirut, you're pretty wonderful!
    And, I know blogging as infrequently as I do is, without question, blog suicide.
    I agree, I seriously need to work on that.

    Hi LPR! I tried kissing the frog, and nothing happened, but it was delicious.

    Thank you Zenchef!

    Sharon, marzipan made everything worthwhile [G]. ¡Espero que tu y Wolf hayan celebrado San Valentín! Son mis deseos que haya sido un día maravilloso para ambos!

    Dear Sophie, I've had the 80's song, A Total Eclipse of the Heart stuck in my head all weekend long.
    Who wants to give me a ride back to the 21st century?

    Oh Nooo! Carol, now my brain's gonna be preoccupied with 2 more thoughts, your song and your unholy chocolate cake!
    I hope you enjoyed a delicious V-day, my friend!

    Chriesi, I'm willing to bet you made one of your fantastic desserts as well!
    I can't wait to do my rounds, and see what you've all been up to!

    Thank you my sweets!

  17. I would be skeptical too, but your design is amazing! I love the heart tuiles all around, and of course your masterful frog. I practically shrieked when I saw it. Fortunately, no one is here.

  18. Anonymous16/2/10

    Hi, Marysol. I really enjoyed your absolutely perfect photography, as ever. This looks like a tempting recipe from Nigella - if not one of her more complicated ones. I'd need to overcome my fear of working with marzipan first!

    I thought you might enjoy the following on "Total Eclipse of the Heart", for a good laugh:


    Keep on bakin',


  19. You never fail to amaze me and make me smile - what a cute little froggy and gorgeous cake and the day I would ever attempt anything like that (never mind even looking up the recipe that you say is all over the internet, LOL) is the day you know what froze over - but it sure makes a pretty picture! I'd eat those tuiles, however, with pleasure.

  20. Nice writing weaving in all the song titles :) I love how you hand crafted the frog. This clementine cake is a work of art :)

  21. Jessica, the froggy went to a better place. Yum.

    Dan, thank you! I will check out your link.

    Annie! If you didn't mind an amorphous blob of orange tuiles, you'd love these.

    NC, I think the proper song title to end this entry would've have been "Crying" by Roy Orbison.
    Not really; I had a wonderful Valentine's Day, and hope you all did too!

    Thank you everyone!

  22. Another masterpiece, dear Marysol ... sorry the cake was not what you had expected (I would have been happy to help you polish it off)! Your frog is adorable and so handsome (want one for my daughter that when kissed, turns into a prince). *hugs*

  23. Joey, my sweet friend, thanks for the offer to help polish off the cake. But trust me, neither one of us would've been happy. But I'd still love you for trying.

    Btw, if you find a froggy prince for your daughter, could you see if he has a brother for mine?

    Bigger hugs aimed in your direction.

  24. Your posts are hilarious, amiga:) The lyrics in there? I'm still laughing out loud:)) So sorry your cake didn't turn out well. Clearly some recipes are overrated. But hey, your tuiles are so beautiful and that cute little froggy? Too cute to eat:)

  25. WOW!! these cakes are over the top gorgeous.

  26. Awwww...what a beautiful cake, but you always manage to bring Sexyback, Sol!

  27. Your cake is stunning! So sad that it turned out to be not so great on the inside. I love your froggy, too. And the photos - ah, sigh - so beautiful.

  28. The cake was forgettable, unlike a good love song.
    I reckon I'll never shake the lyrics out of my head, but I'm okay with that.

    Thank you guys!

  29. A work of art! Wouldn't bare to eat it. Very special cake design!

  30. I love clementines too, been eating them like they're going out of style.

    Your cake ~ incredibly lovely. The frog ~ pure delight.

  31. Thank you Alberta!

    Vintage, the prices for clementines seem to be climbing, but we're still eating them by the case. It's an addiction I embrace.
    Btw, it's good to see you!

  32. Marysol, you are so talented!! :)
    I was struggling this morning to do simple rabbit ears for my daughter lunchbox...

  33. I love ur blogs!