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Gluten Free Clementine Cake Recipe

This clementine cake is gluten free, made in the food processor and comes out of the pan like a dream. It couldn’t be easier and it is deliciously moist. The smell of clementines cooking fills the house with a bright, citrusy aroma, which is wonderful this time of the year. Another holiday treat we love right now are these gluten free rum balls.

clementine cake with glaze on cake stand
Clementine Cake

When the mercury drops and you are puttering around the house, this is the perfect baking endeavor.

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This post was originally published in December 2011, the photos and text have been updated.

Clementine Cake

I love a simple cake like this. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never turn down a triple layer coconut cake or a double decker chocolate cake with mocha frosting, but cakes like this are for everyone. They are “homey” and anyone can make them. 

The simplicity of this clementine cake makes it accessible to everyone, no matter your level of kitchen expertise.

slice of clementine cake on blue and white plate
Clementine Cake Slice

This is the kind of cake that you can make for family gatherings, backyard bbq’s or weekend snacking while you’re snuggled in the house during a cold winter weekend.

Because it is an incredibly moist cake, it can last for days without drying out.

Cake doesn’t usually last very long in our house, but if it does in yours, rest assured it’ll still be delicious days after you’ve made it.

Can you freeze clementine cake

Yes. This cake freezes very well, actually. To thaw, place it on the counter loosely covered, or in the refrigerator overnight. Wrap it tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap before freezing to ensure it is well covered. A layer of aluminum foil wouldn’t hurt, either.

What is clementine cake?

In this particular case, it is a cake made from whole clementines. A version of a clementine cake made an appearance in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and apparently, it became all the rage. I’ve been making this cake since 2001, who knew that versions of this cake would pop up everywhere? 

I have a Buttermilk Upside Down Cake that is also made with clementines and it more closely resembles that cake.

How to make clementine cake

The first step in making this clementine cake is to boil the whole clementines. They will cook for a couple of hours. Check on them once in a while to add water to the pot, if necessary.

Then, you’ll preheat the oven, butter and (almond) flour a springform pan and remove any seeds from the clementines (they may not have any seeds).

Break up the fruit in the food processor, then add the remaining ingredients to make the batter. Turn the food processor on and let it run until batter is uniform.

Then pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan and bake. Let the cake cool slightly in pan, then remove to cool completely on wire rack before glazing.

It’s really that easy. Because the cake is made in the food processor, you don’t have multiple bowls to wash and it comes together super fast with almost zero effort.

Clementine Cake with almond flour

This cake is perfect for those with a gluten allergy. Cakes can be tricky for people who are gluten intolerant and when you do find a recipe that fits the bill, they aren’t always great.

This one, I can say with complete and total certainty, is amazing. It is light and citrusy and it’s not overly sweet. If sunshine had a taste, this would be it.

clementine cake on pedestal stand
Whole Cake

Clementine Cake with glaze

A quick glaze made with a little fresh clementine juice and a bit of powdered sugar is all you really need. Sometimes, I just dust the top with powdered sugar and make a pretty pattern on top with a paper doily.

See that crack in the glaze on top? Take it from me, don’t try to move your cake once the glaze has started to set. I let the cake sit on the rack while the glaze was dripping off and I forgot about it. 

The glaze hardened and when I moved it from the rack to the cake stand, the glaze cracked. Be smarter than I was, move your cake when the glaze is still wet.

slices of clementine cake on plates
slices of cake

Boiled Clementine cake

Normally, we don’t use the whole fruit in a recipe. Because clementines have a thin skin and very little pith, we can use the entire fruit. The clementines get boiled and then blitzed in the food processor.

This cake really isn’t much work at all; the processor does all the chopping for you and all you are left with is a little whisking and let’s be honest, that isn’t very taxing at all. I’ve made this recipe without a food processor, but it is so much easier and faster to make it this way.

glazed clementine cake on platter
Glazed Cake

Clementine cake for Christmas

This recipe is a variation of Nigella Lawson’s with a few slight changes, who got her inspiration for this cake from Claudia Roden. I discovered this cake almost two decades ago and I’ve made it every Christmas since.

It is perfect with  coffee or tea, great as a light dessert or pretty much anytime you want a little sweet. I find it gets even better the next day, if you can stand walking past it for 24 hours without cutting yourself a nice, fat slice.

Clementine Cake Essentials:

  • food processor – This is the newer version of the own I own, love & use all the time.
  • springform pan – A great quality, nonstick springform at an excellent price.
  • mixing bowls – Stainless steel mixing bowls are my personal preference. They do not stain and you can use them for EVERYTHING.
  • mixing bowls – You can never have enough whisks. Seriously.
  • almond flour – If you live in an area where this is hard to find, this is a great price! .39/lb (currently)
  • kitchen scale – When baking, using a scale is really helpful. This is a great scale at a great price.

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clementine cake on cake stand with glaze

Did you make this gluten free clementine cake? Tag me @pookspantry on social media! I’d love to see your version!


Make a GLUTEN FREE Meal to go with this cake:

clementine cake with glaze on cake stand

Gluten Free Clementine Cake

Cheryl Bennett
Easy gluten free cake made from whole clementines.
4.80 from 10 votes
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Cuisine American
Servings 10 people
Calories 324 kcal


For the Cake

  • 1 pound clementines 4 - 6 clementines
  • 6 eggs large
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the Glaze

  • 1 /2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp clementine juice
  • 1 tsp clementine zest


  • Put the clementines in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to a boil and cook for 2 hours.  Drain and set aside to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch springform pan. To keep it gluten free, use almond flour for this as well.
  • When clementines are cooled enough to handle, break in half and remove any seeds (if there are any) then put entire fruit into the bowl of your food processor and let it rip until the fruit is reduced to a pulp without any big chunks remaining.
  • Add the eggs to the bowl of the food processor and pulse to combine.  Add vanilla and sugar, then pulse to combine again until batter looks uniform. (about 10 pulses)
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, salt and baking powder. Add to bowl of food processor and run until batter is thoroughly combine and uniform.
  • Pour the cake mixture into prepared pan and bake for an hour. Check cake after 30 - 40 minutes, if it is browning too much, cover with foil to prevent over browning or burning.
  • Pierce with a skewer or knife to check for doneness. (It should come out clean).  If knife or skewer still looks wet, continue baking for another 5 - 10 minutes, check after the first 5 minutes, so you don't over bake it.
  • Remove from oven and leave to cool in the pan. When the cake is cooled enough to handle, remove from pan and finish cooling on wire rack.
  • Mix powdered sugar and juice to form a glaze. Drizzle over the cake and garnish with clementine zest.
    clementine cake with glaze on cake stand


Any thin-skinned citrus fruit such as satsumas, tangerines, clementines, thin-skinned oranges, etc. will work in this recipe.
If you don't want to make a glaze, a simple dusting with powdered sugar is also lovely.


Calories: 324kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 271mgFiber: 3gSugar: 34g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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  1. Where did you get your heirloom eggs? Just wondering if these are our Pete and Gerry’s Heirloom Eggs by chance. If so I’d love to feature your blog in our social media and also to send you some e-coupons. Could you please send me an e-mail? Thanks. I love your beautiful clementine cakes btw. They look delicious!


    Sandra Laflamme
    Social Media Chick

  2. This sounds lovely! Would you comment on other types of citrus you’ve used (or combos!) and how they compared flavor-wise? I want to make this for my son’s birthday in December! Oh also I typically use a 6” layer cake set, would this work well as a layer cake or no because of how you do the icing? Thank you!

    1. Hi Kristin! This cake is DELICIOUS and I seriously recommend making it. I generally stick to the clementines, but I have done a thin-skinned lemon years and years ago. As far as the 6″ layer cakes, you might want to do 1 1/2 or 2x the recipe because the recipe as is won’t make nice fat layers. And, the icing is meant for just a single layer, so you’d have to make a thicker frosting for filling the cake. I hope that helps! 🙂

    1. Hi Sadaf, you can try to remove some of the rind before putting the clementines into the food processor. By taking out some of the rind and pith, that should help you. Don’t tak eall of it out, the cake will not turn out the same, but you can remove some of it.

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