Serves 12  | Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus cooling  | Cooking time: 2–2 ½  hours

 

This is my alternative to a Christmas cake. It’s really stunning, with beautiful jewel-like pomegranate seeds that look like rubies. This is a very moist cake and uses whole fruits to ensure it is packed with festive flavours… it also happens to be gluten and dairy free!

 

4 clementines or satsumas, unpeeled

1 cinnamon stick

oil, for greasing

6 large eggs

225g (8oz) light muscovado sugar

1 tsp gluten-free baking powder

300g (10 ½ oz) ground almonds

 

For the syrup

1 pomegranate, halved

25g (1oz) light muscovado sugar

1 tsp orange blossom extract

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

To decorate

3 tbsp apricot glaze (see Tip below)

icing sugar, for dusting

 

Put the clementines or satsumas and cinnamon stick into a

medium saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 1–1½  hours,

then drain the fruit and remove the cinnamon stick. Leave to

cool for 30 minutes, then halve the cooked fruit and discard the

pips. Put the fruit, including the peel, into a blender or food

processor and blend to a purée. Set aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas mark 4.

Grease a 23cm (9in) diameter, 9cm (3 ½ in) deep cake tin and line

with baking paper. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the eggs

and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely

simmering water for about 5 minutes until pale and mousse-like.

Take the bowl off the heat and add the baking powder, ground

almonds and the fruit pure. Fold in gently but thoroughly.

 

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven

for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C

(fan 140°C)/325°F/gas mark 3 and bake for a further 30 minutes,

or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to

a cooling rack to cool completely.

 

To make the syrup, squeeze the pomegranate halves to extract

the juice, reserving the seeds, then pour the juice into a small

saucepan. Add the sugar and bring to the boil, then simmer for

2 minutes. Leave to cool slightly (the liquid should still be warm),

then stir in the orange blossom extract and vanilla paste.

Using a pastry brush, ‘soak’ the cake with the warm

pomegranate syrup and leave in the tin until completely cold.

 

Remove the cold cake from the tin and place on a serving plate.

Brush the apricot glaze all over the cake, including the sides.

Just before serving, scatter the reserved pomegranate seeds over

the top of the cake and dust with icing sugar.

 

Tip~To achieve a professional, glossy finish on cakes and tarts,

use apricot glaze. To make the glaze, put some apricot jam into a

small saucepan and gently warm through, then press through a

fine sieve to remove any lumps. Using a pastry brush, brush the

warm glaze over the finished cake or tart and leave to cool.

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