The Secret Life of Clementine Cupcakes


If you had the pleasure of seeing Mitty over the holidays like I did (two thumbs up!), you know that a certain Clementine Cake features prominently throughout, made by the one and only Shirley MacLaine, no less.  I had never heard of it, so of course I had to look it up as soon as I got home and I discovered that it's a real thing - who knew?  I found the same basic recipe repeated over and over online, involving ground almonds and boiling and candying the wintry clementines.  Here's one from Nigella Lawson:


4 to 5 clementines (about 1 pound total weight)
6 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/3 cups ground almonds
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder


Put the clementines in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to the boil, and cook for 2 hours. Drain and, when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the seeds. Then finely chop the skins, pith, and fruit in the processor (or by hand, of course).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter and line an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almonds, and baking powder. Mix well, adding the chopped clementines. I don't like using the processor for this, and frankly, you can't balk at a little light stirring.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, when a skewer will come out clean; you'll probably have to cover the cake with foil after about 40 minutes to stop the top from burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, in the pan on a rack. When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan. I think this is better a day after it's made, but I don't complain about eating it anytime.
You can slightly Anglicize it, too, by adding a glaze made of confectioners' sugar mixed to a paste with lemon juice and a little water.
I don't know about you, but we always have extra clementines at my house in the winter, so I plan on trying this recipe myself soon, but in cupcake form (once again, if I still had my cupcakery, I would definitely feature a Mitty Clementine cupcake - someone please make this!) and maybe I'll post my results here. 

In the meantime, here are some clementine cupcakes I found online.  There's even a cupcakery called The Clementine Cupcake Company - no, they do not appear to carry a clementine flavored cupcake on their menu :(.