Clementine and Spice Cake

Clementines are abundant in winter and make an excellent citrussy cake for a cold day. The buttercream frosting is enhanced with clementine juice and dried zest.

Oranges are a perfectly suitable substitute if that’s what you have to hand.

Serves: up to 24

For the cake:

  • 280g gluten-free flour
  • 130g golden caster sugar
  • 5 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 6 large eggs, separated (they should total 360g-380g when weighed in their shells)
  • 4 clementines, zest of all 4 and 3 tablespoons juice
  • 125ml (120g if weighing) vegetable oil
  • 160ml / 160g water
  • Butter, to grease tin

For the buttercream frosting:

  • 4 clementines, zest of all 4 and 3 tablespoons juice
  • 125g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 250g icing sugar – sift, if required, after measuring
  • Splash of full-fat milk (or cream) – optional


  • A standard traybake pan 9 1/2″ x 12″ (24cm x 30cm)
  • Baking/parchment paper to line tin
  • 3 large mixing bowls
  • Electric mixer (hand-held or stand)
  • Spatula
  • Oven-safe plate
  • Cooling rack


  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (160 C fan-assisted). Grease your tin and line the bottom and sides with baking paper. Get 3 mixing bowls ready.
  2. In the first bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices with a fork.
  3. In the second bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, starting at low speed and gradually increasing to high speed.
  4. In the third bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the clementine juice, zest, oil, and water until doubled in volume and fluffy; again, start at low speed and gradually increase to high speed. (No need to clean the beaters from whisking the whites.)
  5. Add the yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together with a spatula until fully combined and smooth.
  6. Add one-third of the egg whites, folding briskly, to loosen the mixture. Then add the rest of the whites and fold carefully until no white lumps or streaks remain.
  7. Pour the batter into your prepared tin and smooth the top with the spatula. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, turning halfway through for even baking, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin on a cooling rack (GF cakes can be too delicate to turn out of the tin while still hot).

Buttercream frosting:

  1. When the cake has baked, turn the oven off. Spread the clementine zest on an oven-safe plate, breaking up any clumps, and put in the oven for 30 minutes to dry out as the oven cools.
  2. With the mixer on low, whip up the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, beating continuously on low speed. Once all in, scrape down the bowl really well, add the clementine juice, and continue beating on medium speed another minute or so. If it seems too stiff for you, add more juice or a splash of full-fat milk (or cream) and continue beating.
  3. Spread over the cooled cake, and sprinkle over the dried clementine zest to decorate.

Layer Cake Option
You could also use a deep-sided, round cake tin 9″ – 10″ / 24cm – 26cm diameter, and make a layer cake.
If doing this, you’ll want to increase the buttercream ingredients to have enough for the middle as well as the top and sides. I’d suggest 200g butter and 400g icing sugar, and 3 more tablespoons of the clementine juice.
If you’re as unsteady as I am at slicing a cake horizontally, you could also use two shallower tins and bake the layers separately. Smooth a slight depression in the centre of the cake that will be the bottom layer – this will help it to rise more evenly.


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