Citrus season is upon us again with plenty of options to choose from. Satsuma oranges are available at most farmers markets along with Meyer lemons. I snagged a couple of bags of both of them impulsively at the Monterey Market in Berkeley last weekend. The original intention was to treat them like preserved lemons, but in the process of researching if anyone else had done that, I came across Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake. I liked the way it used the whole fruit and nuts as the basis and decided to use the satsumas this way.
As usual, I tweaked the recipe a little. I used a full pound and a half of satsumas, replaced the almonds with pan-toasted hazelnuts and added a teaspoon of vanilla to the batter. After the cake was out of the oven and cooling, I wanted to find a way to, for lack of a better phrase, ice the cake. I made a quick syrup by boiling the juice and zest of a Meyer lemon with 1 cup of sugar. After using a skewer to poke several holes through out the cake, I poured the hot syrup over the cake and let it soak in over night.
One note. Do not ignore the fruit during boiling and make sure they’re constantly covered in water. My first attempt resulted in several wasted oranges when I got distracted and came back to a blackened dry mess in a pot that practically needed a sand blaster to get clean again.
Despite that, I dropped the cake off in the break room at work and came back at lunch to find the plate empty except for a post-it note that said “Thanks!!” The empty plate was all I needed to see to know it was a success. The post-it note was just overkill.