Clementine Pound Cake

By • February 2, 2011 • 92 Comments

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Author Notes: When you make this cake, you have to let it cool completely. All the way. It will be tough. You’ll want to cut into the rich goodness immediately. You’ll want to taste the citrus on your tongue, feel a bite of the cake melt in your mouth. But you must be patient. Just trust me on this one. You don’t want a crumbly cake, now do you?

With this dessert, you only need a small piece. It is that rich. And that delicious. A little goes a long way. - SavvyJulie
SavvyJulie

Food52 Review: SavvyJulie showcases both citrus and cardamom by setting them against the backdrop of a pitch-perfect pound cake: the crumb is tender and melting, while the rich brown crust is paper thin and brittle as an eggshell, crunching pleasantly between your teeth. The perfume of the clementine zest and juice permeates the entire cake, and the cardamom (which we recommend you grind fresh) makes the party official. While this would be great with a dollop of ice cream, it certainly doesn't need it. Toasting a slice for breakfast can't be a bad idea. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 10-12

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened, plus more for the pan
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon clementine zest, from about 2 clementines
  • 4 tablespoons clementine juice, from about 2 clementines
  • 1/4 cup milk
  1. Heat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9x5x3? loaf pan.
  2. Cream the butter, olive oil and sugars together until smooth.
  3. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until completely blended.
  4. Stir in 1 cup of the flour, followed by the salt, vanilla, cardamom, clementine zest and juice.
  5. Add the milk and the rest of the flour. Beat until the batter is smooth and consistent, but do not over-beat!
  6. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the edges are browned and just pulling away from the sides of the pan, and a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Run a knife or spatula around the edges of the cake to release it from the pan, and flip onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.
Jump to Comments (92)

Tags: freezes well, potluck, travels well

Comments (92) Questions (4)

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6 days ago liz

I doubled this and put it in a Bundt pan. Was that a mistake? It smells good...

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11 days ago julita84

Made this yesterday night, had some friends over, and they all just loved it! It disapearded within 30 minutes. Served it with mint tea...will definitely be doing it again soon, as it is clementine season!

Christening_119

6 months ago kxr173

Made this recipe tonight to serve sliced w\summer berries & whipped cream. It's light & moist, looks beautiful, smells great & overall is just wonderful! I didn't have oranges on hand but luckily I had orange olive oil & King Arthur Flour's 'fior di Sicilia' extract (used 1/2 tsp.- try this stuff if you haven't already in your baking!) Those substitutions worked perfectly. The citrus flavor came through & thankfully, the lack of extra liquid from the oranges didn't affect the texture or taste of the cake. The cardamom was that thing which made them go "hmmm.... yum!" Thanks for a most delightful pound cake recipe @savvyjulie!

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11 months ago SKaito

Made this today in my new convection oven and it is delicious! Love the cardamon and orange zest/juice flavors. While baking, the wonderful aroma filled the house. Dairy congests my sinuses so I used coconut-almond milk, which was fine. Used regular orange [we eat a lot so have it on hand]. And used vanilla extract made by a friend. Covered the top at 1hr. since it was golden brown [rack was 2nd from bottom]. This recipe is a keeper. One question about why the to top of the cake flakes so, it's kind of crunchy flakey. Why flakey top? Otherwise, love this recipe.

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11 months ago SavvyJulie

The crunchy/flaky top is largely due to the brown sugar and olive oil in the recipe. Glad you enjoyed!

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about 1 year ago lolaphong

Trying this cake and noticed there is no leavening agent???
Is this correct?

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about 1 year ago cookbookchick

Yes, the recipe is correct. I have made it exactly as written. It's delicious!

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about 1 year ago cookbookchick

It's more like a pound cake than a leavened cake.

Stringio

about 1 year ago msigur

I'd love to send this as part of a Christmas gift. Any idea how long this cake will retain its freshness?

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over 1 year ago farida kee

I have lots of lemon--can I use lemon instead of clementine

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over 1 year ago cookbookchick

Sure, why not? Any citrus would be delicious.

Anglecakesurpriseweb

over 1 year ago seaandcake

This was incredibly easy to make! I used Valencia oranges instead of clementines because it's all I could find. I also went easy on the cardamom and added more vanilla. It smells like a 50/50 bar!

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over 1 year ago Simone Horn de Petit

Thanks a lot cookbookchick, will try this recipe, I'm sure my family loves it.

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over 1 year ago cookbookchick

You're welcome!

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over 1 year ago cookbookchick

So 1 1/2 sticks would be 6 ounces or 170 g.

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over 1 year ago cookbookchick

Hi Simone! American butter comes in four "sticks" to a pound. One stick weighs 4 ounces or about 114 g. btw, I have made this cake several times -- delicious!

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over 1 year ago Simone Horn de Petit

I'm really love this page but need some help. How much are 1 1/2
sticks butter in weight (g or kg or pound :-)
) please. Thanks.

Lemons

almost 2 years ago Renata Lira

HELP! I made this cake and loved the flavor but not the look. I ve made it twice, followed directions exactly, even took Antonia James advice for the extra long creaming method (or "shampooed cat" consistency), but it always goes up very fast and the deflates to a hole in the center. Is ti because Im cooking at an altitude of 7 thousand ft over sea level? Is the temperature of my oven to high? Does anyone now what Im doing wrong and how can I correct this problem? The taste is amazing anyway but I also want it to look nice...

Me

almost 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Hi renataliralarios! I bake a LOT at around 7 thousand feet above sea level, and it definitely sounds to me like that's the issue. If you bake something exactly the way it's outlined for sea level, it typically will overrise and collapse under it's own weight. Which is exactly what happened to you. When I'm using chemical leaveners like baking soda or baking powder, I typically cut it in half. It looks to me like the rise in this cake is coming from the air being whipped into the butter, and the eggs (the whites, actually). For you, the extra long creaming method getting to the shampooed cat consistency is what is likely the problem. I would try this again and not cream it extra long. Just get it smooth - not fluffy. There are others here who are bigger baking experts than I, but I do have a lot of experience with high altitude baking. Also, was it dry? That can happen at high altitude too.

Me

almost 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

In fact, you've motivated me to make it tomorrow. I've had Julie's cake on my list of things to make for too long. I'm at about 6800 feet, and will let you know how it goes for me, and we can compare notes :-)

Lemons

almost 2 years ago Renata Lira

Great TheWimpyVegetarian! I look forward to hearing from you!

Me

almost 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Hi Renata Lira, I made it, and it was amazing. It rose and held. So I'm guessing too much creaming at our high altitude was the issue. I just mixed until the it was smooth, and then added the eggs one at a time, etc. And it's perfect. Such an incredibly delicious cake. Great job Julie!!!

Lemons

almost 2 years ago Renata Lira

Thanks for the advice TheWimpyVegetarian! Im trying it again today! Just one last question: ¿Did you mix by hand, with a mixer, or a combination of both?

Me

almost 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I mixed with my Kitchen Aide standing mixer using the paddle attachment. Once it was completely smooth, I beat it on high for about 30 seconds and stopped. Then added the eggs one by one according to the directions. I also used extra large eggs, as I always do when baking at high altitude, to compensate for the drier air here. The other change I made was to cut the flour back by 2 tablespoons for the same reason. It makes for a nice moist cake. #dessertforbreakfast I'd love to hear here how it goes for you.

Phoenix

almost 3 years ago Phoenix Helix

I made this cake over the weekend. Delicious! I followed AntoniaJames advice for traditional poundcake's extra-long creaming method. I also reduced the cardamom by 1/2. The result was a tall, moist cake with a beautiful crumb and a perfect balance of flavors. Thank you so much! Like tinabeans, my cake was done in an hour, so I recommend everyone check the cake early.

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almost 3 years ago tinabeans

excellent flavors. i skipped the cardamom because we didn't have any, but it still tasted great. very nutty and citrusy. also, i baked this for only 1:05 and it got really hard and crunchy around the edges, which is something i rather like but i realize isn't standard for poundcake :D

thanks for the lovely cake.

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Made this yesterday for a dinner party last night - and just love love loved it. Easy and perfect flavors. Thanks so much for a great recipe!!

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Oh, I meant to add that I made a strawberry conserve to go with it and it was a wonderful combination.

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over 3 years ago Rivka

Cake's in the own now. I havent licked this much batter in years - divine! Planning to serve with fresh strawberry compote. Very excited.

Sangak1

over 3 years ago Golab

Made this last weekend! It literally disappeared off the plate in minutes. I took your advice and spent a good deal of time on the creaming process and it came out beautifully. Thanks so much SavvyJulie! Will be making this again & again ...

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over 3 years ago Robin Donovan

This bread is delicious. It was hard to wait for it to completely cool, but well worth the wait!!

Sugar.board

almost 4 years ago thebreukelenlife

omg - this cake disappeared in like 2 seconds in the office this morning. Delicious!

Sugar.board

almost 4 years ago thebreukelenlife

Made this cake this morning and added in a blood orange. The smell was a great way to wake up. Looking forward to having that first slice tonight!

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almost 4 years ago jnewberry

Awk! I just put the cake in the oven and realized I forgot the olive oil. Wondering how serious a mistake this will turn out to be...

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almost 4 years ago lillianrossc

Pound cake is in the oven, and my apartment couldn't smell better. It's going to be a good night.

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almost 4 years ago cookbookchick

I made the cake with McCormick's ground cardamom and did not have that problem. I baked it ahead so it wasn't eaten until it was two days old -- then and even a couple of days later, the clementine flavor was dominant. Funny you should mention a glaze, though -- I was thinking as I ate a piece last night that the cake, while delicious, would be even better with a glaze. Next time!

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Wondering if anyone else has made this, and then eaten it after three days. I made it on Friday for a dinner party on Saturday. (Glazed it with a light blueberry syrup from raw pack blueberries I'd put up last summer, which I reduced then brightened with some Meyer lemon zest). I put aside two slices for our dessert last night. The cardamom was overwhelming in those last two pieces. You could not taste the clementines, and you could not taste the cake. All you could taste was the cardamom. I understand that the author of this recipe used ground cardamom (i.e., already-ground when purchased), and I used cardamom seeds that I had removed from pods, then crushed fairly fine using my mortar and pestle (but didn't grind them in an electric mill). Could that be the difference? Is there something about cardamom that makes it intensify over time? I'll post this to foodpickle as well. I'm interested in knowing whether the food52 testers had the same issue. I suppose it could also be the type of cardamom I bought (at an Indian grocer, which looked exactly like all of the other green cardamom pods I've ever bought). Also, I only used 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom, measuring after I crushed it, because I kow from other uses that a little goes a long way. Help!! ;o)

Junechamp

almost 4 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I have not made this cake yet, but I do use quite a bit of cardamom in baking. Since I always grind mine from fresh, I reduce the amount I add to baked goods by about one-half. The freshly ground is much more potent than the stuff that comes already ground. I can only imagine that the freshly crushed would be also.

Phoenix

almost 4 years ago Phoenix Helix

This same thing happened to me when I made aargesi's cardamom cranberry coffee cake. The flavors were well-balanced on the first two days, but by day 4, the cardamom was very strong. I think this is a spice that intensifies over time.

Bad_girl

almost 4 years ago alamesa

I made this on Sunday, but added more clementine juice for added zing. Unfortunately, I had to used sweetened ground vanilla as it's all I could find locally here in Spain but the vanilla flavour still came through nicely. I love vanilla so I used 2 teaspoons. I bought what little was left into the office and everybody enjoyed it.

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almost 4 years ago skooj

Thanks, Julie!. I will beat more between eggs to incorporate more air. The cake is still wonderful, albeit very low to the ground!

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almost 4 years ago Michelle Meeks

I've tried and tried to make poundcake with no luck. However!!!! This is the perfect recipe because it turned out beautifully! I only had whole wheat flour and it has this beautiful color to it. I also had a smaller size pan so I had to cook it a bit longer but overall it is EXCELLENT!!! Thanks for the recipe and congrats on the W I N!!

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almost 4 years ago skooj

I just made the cake and it is delicious. However, it is only a couple of inches high. I notice all my other poundcakes call for baking powder, but this one did not. Not an omission, is it? Did I do something wrong since the cake is so "low". The picture of your cake looks much higher. I did use the right size pan. Thanks!

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

No, there is no baking powder or baking soda in the cake. Did you cream the butter, oil and sugar together before adding the rest of the ingredients?

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

The key to making any pound cake turn out, regardless of whether it has a chemical leavener, is to beat the butter and sugar for a good long time, until they are practically white and almost look like frosting, at the outset. Then add the eggs one at a time, and beat very, very well between each egg addition. (I almost never use an electric mixer when making cakes and cookies. I do for pound cakes for this reason.) A well-made pound cake takes a long time to prepare, before putting it in the oven. Olive oil also makes baked goods much more dense. ;o)

Junechamp

almost 4 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

@AntoniaJames: I call the consistency needed for the creamed butter and sugar "fluffy as a shampooed cat!"

Phoenix

almost 4 years ago Phoenix Helix

Love that tip, Antonia!

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almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Me, too, AJ! I wish there were a "like" button on people's answers!

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Awww shucks, you guys, you're way too nice. ChefJune, that's hilarious! (Not sure I've ever met a cat who'd allow you to shampoo it, but I love the image!!) ;o)

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over 1 year ago Tanvi

I am going to try this cake tonight after work. I dont have a standing mixer yet but going to get one soon. However i will borrow a hand held twin propeller mixer for this recipe since have seen again and again the stress on the creaming process. I was looking for this exact answer to see why this reciipe doesnt call for leavening agents! I am excited about this and getting a standing mixer soon :)

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almost 4 years ago TXDjinn

This sounds great and I'm looking forward to trying it - when you say a stick and half of butter, how many tablespoons is that? I'm also assuming you mean sweet butter

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

12 tablespoons!

Junechamp

almost 4 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I LOVE pound cke. Will be making this one while Clementines are still in the market.

Congrats on the win.

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almost 4 years ago AEC

Sounds terrific! I have some wonderful Cara Cara oranges I want to try here. Can't wait!

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almost 4 years ago marytarry

Congrats! on your win! I've made this twice so far to rave reviews. Absolutely delicious, so moist and such a great aroma. Thanks again for sharing your recipe

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

I'm so glad you like it!

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almost 4 years ago ShoeboxKitchen

We just made this but substituted lemons and grated nutmeg for the clementines and cardamom. It turned out great - thanks so much for the recipe, and CONGRATS!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

congrats, SavvyJulie! this looks really great.

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almost 4 years ago singing_baker

Just made this and it is delicious! So much for losing those winter pounds this week haha. Hope you win!

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almost 4 years ago Lizthechef

Congratulations! I'm going to try this with Meyer lemons...

Lobster_001

almost 4 years ago nannydeb

Congratulations! I hope to make this soon!

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almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congrats! This recipe definitely deserves a place in the book. Cheers!

Chris_in_oslo

almost 4 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

Last summer, we were in Sweden and a friend gave us a wonderful cardamom cake that I've been trying to duplicate. Hers did not have the citrus, but your description, "It is that rich," makes me think that your recipe might be a good replacement for what I've been looking for. But still, do you mind saying--what do you think is the role of the citrus in your recipe? Did you always have it there? Do you think it's what makes the cake, or are there other versions you like as well?

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

I developed this cake recipe specifically with the clementine flavors in mind. However, I think you could easily replace it with some vanilla and additional cardamom if you want to focus purely on the spice. Let me know if you try it!

Chris_in_oslo

almost 4 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

Wow! I had just printed out your recipe to start to experiment with when I saw that congratulations are in order! A great win.

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almost 4 years ago Mr_Vittles

I am always looking for uses for Clementines and this sounds like a perfect way to use them.

Claire

almost 4 years ago midnitechef

Congrats on being chosen as a finalist :) I'll be checking out the blog!

Tomatew

almost 4 years ago lcampillo

Just out of the oven and delicious. This one is a keeper!

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

So glad to hear you enjoyed it! You just made my morning!

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almost 4 years ago TiggyBee

Congrats on your beautiful pound cake!! Looks so delish!

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

I hope you like it -- let me know what you think!

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almost 4 years ago marytarry

This sounds so good! that I'm making it right now! Congrats on being a finalist, this turned into such a big category contest!

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

How did it turn out??

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

Thank you so much for your congratulations. It is such an honor to be chosen as a finalist!

Bike2

almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

Congrats on being a finalist. Your recipe sounds delicious. I missed it before.

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

What a great cake! Congrats on the EP and on being a finalist!

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almost 4 years ago Tiger Rose

This looks like a wonderful recipe! Could you make it with Meyer Lemons, do you think? Instead of clementines?

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

I don't see why not!

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almost 4 years ago Then Heather Said

the meyer lemons sound like a great addition/substitution!! YUM!

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almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congrats! This cake sounds really, really good. I would probably need to leave the house to not give into temptation while waiting for it to cool!

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

I took the dog out for a walk to keep from cutting into the cake too soon :)

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almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Good idea - work off some of the calories you'll be enjoying later & not ruin the beautiful cake!

Phoenix

almost 4 years ago Phoenix Helix

Congratulations on your nomination! As a side note, I just visited your blog, and as a quinoa lover myself, I was excited to see so many grain recipes. I'll be trying many of them, as well as this delicious-looking cake.

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almost 4 years ago SavvyJulie

Quinoa is one of my all-time favorites. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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almost 4 years ago Table9

I never saw this one! So excited about it...truly love pound cake! Cannot wait to try it. The crust looks divine.

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almost 4 years ago Sadassa_Ulna

Mmmmm this sounds fantastic, congratulations!

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almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

How did I miss this? I LOVE everything about it! Congratulations on being a finalist!

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almost 4 years ago Bevi

Congrats!

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almost 4 years ago gingerroot

Congrats on being a finalist! This sounds lovely and I bet it smells wonderful.

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almost 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This sounds so good! Congrats on being a finalist!

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almost 4 years ago healthierkitchen

congrats, savvyjulie!

Lobster_001

almost 4 years ago nannydeb

This sounds delicious! I missed it the first time around. Congrats!