Winter is most definitely not my favorite time of year. Correction. It is probably my least favorite time of year in terms of the season. Night falls early, the air and ground are cold, and the landscape is either brown or hibernating. I love being outside and enjoying the fresh air, trees, and the beautiful flowers. I love the laughter of my children while swinging in our backyard or running free at a park, and that doesn’t happen as often when it’s cold outside. After a while I start to feel cabin fever coming on. Instead of dwelling on the lost beauty of fall or counting the days until spring finally arrives, this year I want to surround myself with loved ones and focus on the good that happens in my home.
Though winter may feel as if it drags, it seems shorter when I am reminded of how many of my favorite things take place within these few months. During the winter months of November, December and January I have the opportunity to enjoy so much: celebrating my favorite holiday, listening to my favorite seasonal music, spending time with family during visits, cooking and baking some of my favorite recipes, sharing joy and peace with others during the holiday season, giving (and receiving, I won’t lie!) gifts and greeting a brand New Year at the door. The more I think about it, the bigger the list gets.
Another favorite that is brought to mind when thinking about food during this time of year is the Clementine, a beautiful and tasty fruit to cherish during the cold winter months when most of my favorite produce is long out of season. Without competition from the delicious summer berries or the crisp fall apples, winter gives this citrus a much deserved chance to shine.
This year I have combined two of my winter favorites into one fantastic dessert: holiday baking and the Clementine, typically in season from November through January. It isn’t often that you see the Clementine highlighted in its own dessert, but why shouldn’t it be? They’re sweet and juicy, easy to peel and separate, full of that delicate citrus flavor, and perfect for snacking. Not to mention high in vitamin C, something our bodies could use a little extra of this time of year.
This cake shows off the popular winter fruit in its spicy cake batter, creamy citrus cheese topping, and in the garnish. Clementine Spice Cake is beautiful to look at and will surely be a hit at your holiday table with its moist and delicious taste.
Though the world around may be covered in frost or snow, warm your home and soul with this delicious Clementine Spice Cake. It is sure to brighten your winter. Even more so if you share it with the people you love.
Clementine Spice Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup molasses
1 cup fresh squeezed Clementine juice
zest of 2 Clementine
Creamy Citrus Cheese Topping:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 Clementine
2 Clementine, peeled and sliced into rounds
whole cloves, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars in a medium-large bowl. Beat for 2-3 minutes, until butter and sugar is creamy and combined. Scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed.
Add the eggs and vanilla, beating for 1 minute. Stir in the molasses, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed.
Add half of the flour, stirring to combine, followed by half of the Clementine juice. Repeat using remaining amounts. Stir in the zest.
Spray a spring form pan with spray oil to grease. Pour cake batter in pan, set aside.
Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and Clementine zest. Pour cream cheese mixture over top of cake batter. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top, leaving a half inch border.
Lay slices of Clementine a top the cake, studding the center of each slice with a whole clove. Bake cake at 350 degrees F for 50-65 minutes, or until cake is set. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove outer ring of spring form pan and cool an additional 25 minutes.
Katie Goodman believes that part of the goodness in life is sharing good food with friends and family. She’s a SAHM determined to make family meal time a priority while providing a variety of healthy and delicious food choices. Katie also blogs at www.goodlifeeats.com, where she shares what she finds good in the kitchen and in life.
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