Clementine Spice Cake

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By Katie Goodman

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
2 eggs
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
1 egg
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.

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Reader Comments:


I have found in the past making birthday cakes, if you turn your cakes out on sheet pan and freeze them for a few hours. When you put the room temperature icing on them the icing will spread better.Also to prepare pans grease and cut wax paper to fit pans and pour cake in.When they bake they will come out of pans easier and have a flat top to put icing on.I can't wait to bake this cake,my Mom use to buy a spice bar cake with raisins in it,and vanilla icing on top at Piggly-Wiggly when I was a little girl.I hope this comes close.

By debby on February 10, 2011

Taga_luto glad you enjoyed the cake. Sorry you had trouble spreading the topping. Next time you might try spraying the spatula with spray cooking oil, such as PAM. I didn’t have any trouble, but greasing a spatula should help.

By Katie @ goodLife {eats} on December 08, 2009

Hi, thank you for the inspiration. I baked a cake similar to this yesterday. I made the cake out of a cake mix. I used a yellow cake mix and added the spices and molasses and of course the clementine juice.

I had a problem w/ the cheese toppings. I probably didn’t have the right consistency coz i couldn’t spread it on top of the batter as per your instructions. Everytime i tried spreading it out, the cake batter goes w/ it. So i opted to half bake the cake then added the cheese toppings. In that way it was easy to spread the toppings. Overall it was really good and moist. I’m posting my version at my blog <a href=“” rel=“nofollow”></a>.
Again..thank you for the inspiration. I love your shot of the cake.

By Taga_luto on December 07, 2009

Wow! It’s gorgeous.  Can’t wait to try it!

By Lizz on December 02, 2009

Liza - I really did just roughly spread the cream cheese topping over the top. Then when it bakes the batter from the cake kind of bubbles up underneath. smile

By Katie @ goodLife {eats} on December 02, 2009

How were you able to achieve the beautiful pattern of cake patches and frosting? You couldn’t have just spread the frosting evenly over the top.  Would love to try if you can share the trick!

By Liza on December 01, 2009

Katie, you are always a huge inspiration.  Beautiful spice cake.  Love the cream cheese clementine combo.  Who would have thought?  I love unique flavor twists and combos.  Great job!  I hope you get through the winter months swiftly with a big grin smile

By marla {Family Fresh Cooking} on December 01, 2009

katie, what a lovely article. (ps - don’t ever move away from new mexico if you hate the winter, you softy! wink )

that cake looks FABULOUS. and I’ve never thought of cooking with clementines, what a wonderful idea.

thanks for a great post!

By jane maynard {thisweekfordinner} on November 30, 2009

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm