How to make a refreshing and delicious clementine cake

Clementine cake with almonds and clementine creme diplomat is a scrumptious treat that probably just about qualifies as one of your five-a-day. Well, maybe.

This delicious cake ‘offers a welcome taste of fresh citrus flavour in our winter months,’ says chef Melanie Johnson. Here’s how it’s made.


For the cake

  • 400g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 600g caster sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tbspn vanilla-bean paste
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 2 clementines, zest of

For the clementine syrup

  • 3 clementines, juice of
  • 100ml water
  • 50g caster sugar

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For the crème diplomate

  • 3 tbspn custard powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbspn caster sugar
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 3 clementines, zest of
  • 1 clementine, juice of
  • 3tbspn lemon curd
  • 400ml double cream, whipped

For the garnish

  • 50g toasted flaked almonds
  • 1 clementine

©Melanie Johnson/Country Life


Preheat your oven to 180˚C/ 350˚F/gas mark 4. Grease a 10in loose-bottomed cake tin with butter and add a circle of parchment in the base.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, continue to beat, then add the almonds, self-raising flour and clementine zest. If the mixture looks a little thick, add a splash of milk. Divide the mixture between two 8in loose-bottomed tins and bake for about 45–50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

To make the syrup, gently heat the clementine juice in a small pan with the water and sugar to dissolve the sugar before turning up the heat and simmering for a few minutes until the mixture has a syrupy consistency. Set aside.

To prepare the crème diplomate, add the custard powder to a large bowl and whisk in the eggs and sugar. Heat the milk in a saucepan until near boiling and then pour a little into the bowl of custard. Whisk well, then pour everything back into the saucepan. Whisk again over the heat until the custard really thickens. If any lumps form, keep whisking until they disappear. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Add the clementine zest, juice and lemon curd and mix well. Finally, fold the whipped cream into the custard and chill until ready to use.

 Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely on wire racks. When ready, slice them in half so you have four layers. Spread each layer with the chilled filling, build the four-layered cake and finish with more crème diplomat on top.

Decorate with slices of fresh clementine and a scattering of fresh almonds. I add a few clementine leaves for extra colour.