Citrus Syrup Almond Cakes

My boyfriend’s family, wonderful people that they are, sent me a lovely package for Christmas full of gorgeous cake goodies.

Awesome parcel of fun

Needless to say, when I saw this bundle of presents I was grinning so wide I’m surprised my lips didn’t do a joker split.

The first recipe I decided to try from the lovely book above was for Citrus Syrup and Almond Cupcakes. The perfect decoration was also available in this parcel of cakegasm.

Happy, happy yellow

The hardest part of this recipe was the waiting two hours for the Clementines to boil and soften before I could make the puree. I can’t stand waiting for baking, so I started to weigh out everything and then tried to start watching ‘The Mentalist’ to take my mind off the lovely citrus scent filling the house. Even then I didn’t manage the whole two hours as the original recipe suggested. 1 hour 15 minutes was around the limit of my patience. But I think this was far too long as the clementines had lost their acidity sure, but they’d also lost a lot of flavour. I think next time around 45 minutes would be better.

I was boiling too vigourously at first

While waiting for the clementines to ‘cook’ you can also start preparing the rind for the syrup. I don’t have the pleasure of owning a zester yet so I used a peeler and then sliced the rind as thinly as possible, which to be perfectly honest, wasn’t all that thinly. But I’m all in favour of cakes that taste brilliant but don’t look too perfect. Why would you ever want to eat a perfect looking cake? If I ever did create such a cake I’d probably have to put it some sort of vacuum time capsule in order to preserve it, and then the whole point of its inherent cakeyness would be lost. Don’t you think?

Anyway remember to scrape off as much of the pith as possible without shredding your rind into a gloopy mess. I just used my fingernails but I suppose you could slowly work away at it with a knife if you liked. No? Like the fingers on approach better? Excellent!

The rest of the recipe was simple.

Puree the boiled fruit and let cool.

Whisk up the eggs and sugar into a lovely fluffy mix, then add the almond powder and puree and whisk until combined.

Try to make sure any large clumps of almond are broken up and mixed into a smooth batter. Large clumps will result in lumpy cake and that doesn’t sound, look or taste very nice.

Because there aren’t any raising agents used in this recipe, apart from the eggs, make sure to fill the cake cases quite fully. I completely forgot to take a picture at this stage, but I left around half a centimetre of space at the top of the cases.

I baked at 165° for 30 minutes, at this point the cakes were cooked but not quite golden enough so a further 5 minutes was needed to achieve a lovely perfectly sunkissed look.

Don't they look gorgeous?

Making the syrup was perfectly simple, I’d only advise making around half the amount of the original recipe if you want just enough for the cupcakes themselves and one or two cheeky taste-testing spoonfuls.

That's a lot of syrup

And now, the simplified recipe:

For the cake

  • 3 clementines
  • 6 eggs
  • 225g ground almonds
  • 225g caster sugar
  1. Cover the clementines with water and simmer for however long you can stand to wait. If the house has caught fire – you’ve waited too long. Don’t forget to top up the water to fully cover the fruit when needed.
  2. Make a puree from the softened clementine flesh, I used a smoothie maker.
  3. Let this puree cool and preheat the oven to 165°.
  4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl until light  and fluffy.
  5. Add the almond and cooled puree and whisk gently to incorporate.
  6. Pour into your happy, happy citrus themed cupcake cases.
  7. Bake at 165° for 30-35 minutes until  a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the tops are nice and golden.

For the syrup (I recommend halving this)

  • 250ml water
  • 350g caster sugar
  • zest of 1 clementine (really you can add as much as you like)
  • 2tbps lemon juice
  1. Add the water and sugar together and dissolve over a medium heat.
  2. Add the lemon juice and zest, and simmer to reduce the syrup until it begins to thicken slightly and you can see a thin layer covering the back of a spoon.
  3. Allow to cool and then slowly slather the cupcakes with this gooey syrup.
  4. Proceed to the scoffing of delicious cake.

The natural light was quickly disappearing by the time I took this photo

Now the only question left is… what do I do with all this leftover syrup?

The syrup will return...

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