Sunday, 15 March 2015

St Clement's Cakes - gluten free (with dairy free/fatless sponge)

I seem to be having a serious citrus binge at the moment. A week or so back, I made an amazingly moist Orange & Raspberry Swirl Bundt cake which was just delicious. And we seem to be munching wonderfully sweet blood oranges by the case-load..... There is some seriously gorgeous citrus fruit around at the moment and we need to make the most of it.

There is something quite addictive about a good citrus sponge. The zing you get alongside the sweetness. The versatility of its marrying with creamy, dreamy toppings and fillings. The slight bitterness from the use of zest.......

The name St Clement's appears to have its history in the popular children's nursery rhyme which we sang as kids : 'oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clements' or so it goes..... The rhyme which follows through references to the bells of several churches in the vicinity of the City of London is alarmingly sinister, with reference to death and head-chopping.......... Although it has been difficult to find any clarity about the origins or meaning of the lyrics.

Either way, the combination of oranges and lemons together is sublime. Sweet orange contrasting with zippy lemon. In a sponge? A heavenly partnership!

And even better......... This particular one is fatless. The sponge that is! The vanilla butter cream (frosting) certainly is not...... but it can be made dairy free if you need it that way and is totally delicious against the citrus tang.

Made with lots of ground almonds and sweetened with natural honey and a little brown sugar, this cake is moist with a nutty, slightly coarse bite.

I used Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Australian Macademia Blossom Honey....... A rich, glossy, clear honey with slightly floral notes which adds an extra something special against the orange and lemon flavours.  The sponges are topped with a drizzle of orange glaze (made with blood orange juice) and a sprinkle of lightly toasted crunchy walnuts for extra texture and depth.

You could make it as a single large sandwich cake (8 inch), but I made cute individual ones using my Lakeland mini sandwich tin. It's a perfect sponge for Mother's Day, but with it's light fruitiness, full of spring freshness, it would be ideal for Easter and fitting for any tea time table.

I am sharing my St Clement's cakes with the following challenges this month :

Treat Petite with Cakeyboi (and The Baking Explorer), who's theme is 'Mum'.

The Biscuit Barrel challenge with The Lass in the Apron (for Laura at I'd Much Rather Bake Than...). March's theme is 'Herbs & Flowers'. The macademia blossom honey I used in this cake gives some wonderful floral undertones which sit well against the citrus.

Alphabakes with The More Than Occasional Baker (and Caroline Makes). This month's letter is 'S'....... for St Clement's, Spring and Sandwich!

Cook, Blog, Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.

Foodie Friday with Casa Costello.

Tasty Tuesdays with Honest Mum.

Thanks to Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi, who directed me to her blog after I posted this. For anyone who wants to know the history of the nursery rhyme 'Oranges & Lemons', Emma has a mountain of information having spent what looks like eons investigating it and visiting all the churches! I'm truly impressed with her diligence. Excitingly, I also learnt from her that there is something called 'Oranges & Lemons Day'....... yes really! It takes place every year in London on the third Thursday in March........ which means this year it is this week (19th March 2015)! A timely post indeed......

St Clement's Cakes (makes 12 individual sandwich cakes)


St Clement's sponge
95g ground almonds
110g gluten free plain flour mix (I used mix A from this post)
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
pinch salt
2 large eggs - separated
90 ml honey
65g soft light brown sugar
zest 1 large orange
zest ½ a lemon
juice from ½ a large orange
juice 1 lemon
½ teaspoon orange extract

Vanilla Butter Cream
80g butter (or dairy-free spread) softened
250g icing sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons almond milk (or alternative)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Orange Glaze
juice half an orange
approx 5 tablespoons icing sugar

To decorate :
3 walnuts - chopped and lightly toasted
zest from 1 lemon and 1 orange


  1. Lightly grease or base line a mini sandwich cake tin.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  3. Mix together the almonds, flour, baking powder and salt making sure any lumps are broken down. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with the honey, sugar and zest until pale and thick.
  5. Add the juices and orange extract and whisk again.
  6. In a separate very clean bowl with a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the egg yolk mix and beat together with a wooden/silicone spoon until well combined.
  8. Add and very gently fold in the egg whites trying to maintain as much air as possible.
  9. Gently spoon the mixture into the tin's individual cake holes as evenly and smoothly as possible (but do not squash down the tops).
  10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  11. Take out of the oven and remove to a wire rack to cool completely (right side up).
  12. Whilst the sponge is cooling, make the butter-icing : Beat the butter until soft and smooth and then gradually add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk to make a light, spreadable buttercream. 
  13. Cut the sponges in half to make mini layers and spread a good spoonful of buttercream on each to make a sandwich.
  14. To make the glaze, mix the icing sugar with the orange juice and heat gently either in the microwave or in a small saucepan, stirring frequently until the icing sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool (stirring occasionally) until thick enough to drizzle.
  15. Sprinkle and decorate with toasted walnuts and zest.
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  1. These look so amazing and delicious! I can already taste them (I still haven't eaten yet) so this is definitely making me drool!
    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.<3

    Vegetarian Courtesy

  2. These sound super tasty! (For the origins of the rhyme see here I made it my mission to visit all the churches a few years ago!)

    1. Wow! Thanks Emma. That was a truly epic set of posts I just checked out on your blog. I have updated my post to include a link to yours!

  3. Beautiful cakes, Kate. Citrus and almond is always an irresistible combination for me, and I love the sound of that honey! Thanks for linking these up with the Biscuit Barrel.

  4. These look so good, bring on the spring as the fruity flavours sound very springlike.

    1. Thanks Lucy. Bring on the Spring for sure. I've had enough of the cold!

  5. Oh I believe you that the citrus taste is addictive and these cakes must be very aromatic too. They look really good and even better gluten free. I hope you are having a good week x

  6. I am also mad for citrus at the moment – it's those blood oranges, I can't get enough of them! These little cakes look absolutely amazing – right up my street! Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

    1. Thanks Lucy. The citrus is particularly good this year. Extra sweet!

  7. Sylvia is quite taken with Oranges and Lemons lately and I am trying to remember how we used to do actions when we sang it as a kid - the chopping off the head at the end is quite disturbing - will check out the london kiwi post - and love your little cakes - they are gorgeous

    1. Thanks Johanna. It's strange how when you are a kid, you just sing these songs without any real consideration of how sinister the lyrics are...... then when you get older you question the adult judgement for letting you sing them all those years ago! Oranges & Lemons is particularly disturbing.... the 'chopping' as I recall is running through a tunnel of hands which come down and catch a child between them!!!!

  8. Perfect for Mother's Day - Kate - thanks for entering them into Treat Petite. I'd love one with a cuppa just now :)

  9. Citrus bakes are my favourite well joint favourite with a good chocolate cake. I love that you made these into individual portions and the buttercream and glaze looks really tempting. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.


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