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
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.