The proverbial two birds and a stone: wheat-free and baby-friendly cake

Spiced clementine, almond and ginger cake

Here’s another recipe from Sainsbury’s Little Ones, which is one of my favourite sites for recipes that all three of us enjoy and are relatively easy and cheap to do. As I was browsing through, looking for something that Andrew would like to eat as a snack, I came across this one, and noticed, by looking down the list of ingredients (it wasn’t particularly advertised), that it was in fact wheat-free too. My mum-in-law is wheat intolerant, so I’ve been on the look out for recipes that she can eat too, and I’ve ended up killing two birds with one stone by baking this recipe (don’t worry, no feathery friends were harmed in the making of this cake!)

I hardly need to point out these days that I adapted it slightly – a little less sugar, and only two thirds of what the original recipe said, mainly because I only bought that amount of almonds. It’s the almonds that replace the flour to make it wheat-free, and they also make it lovely and moist, if a little fragile. It rose surprisingly well; I know a common problem with wheat-free stuff is it can be a bit brick-like! I think the key thing was whisking the eggs for as long as the recipe says, as this really made the mixture increase a lot in volume. The flavours are specific to this time of year, and although I’d never thought of boiling and liquidizing clementines to put in a cake, it works really well and gives such a lovely fruity flavour – a great way to sneak fruit in without a fussy toddler knowing! (Not that I have that problem with Andrew… yet!)


  • butter, for greasing
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • 8 (about 400g) clementines, whole and unpeeled
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g sugar
  • 3cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 200g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder

    Ingredients for the cake


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Grease a 22cm springform cake tin and line with baking parchment.

    Greased and lined springform cake tin - it turned out to be a bit small (I do have bigger ones, but it's a long and unimportant story), hence the extra 'muffins' you see below!
  • Wash the clementines and put in a pan. Cover with water and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 1 hour, adding water to make sure the pan doesn’t go dry. Drain and allow to cool.

    Clementines simmering
  • Quarter the clementines and discard any pips.

    Boiled and cooled clementines cut into quarters and de-pipped (not that there were many pips)
  • Place in a blender, still in their skins, and purée until smooth.

    Clementine puree
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric hand whisk in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 6-7 mins.

    Sugar and eggs whisked for about 6 minutes - the mixture increased A LOT in size!
  • Fold in the clementine purée, ginger, cinnamon, almonds and baking powder.

    Dry ingredients and clementine puree folded into mixture
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and cook in the centre of the oven for 1-1 ½ hours. Check if the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow to cool in the tin before removing.

    Big cake and two small muffins just out of the oven
  • Dust with icing sugar.

    Finished cakes dusted with icing sugar

This went down really well with Andrew and Tom, though his mum isn’t here to let me know what she thinks. I’d love to hear if you have any tasty wheat-free recipes, as it’s an area of baking that I haven’t really ventured into much at all.

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