As I’m sure you guys know by now, I’m back in Portland.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of unpacking boxes, random moving-related errands, and wrangling with contractors and property management companies on the phone. I was hoping to be more settled by this point (I’m still on an air mattress and my back is killin’ me ????????????), but I’d grossly underestimated the amount of damages left by the previous tenants and the monster task that is moving across the country in general. But despite all these inconveniences, it still feels good to be home.
In many ways, Portland has changed so much but also changed so little. The skyline, especially on the eastern side of the river, is taller and newer, and there are new traffic flows on my tried and trusty bicycle routes that I now have to learn to navigate. The scrawny teen in the house across the street now has an impressively bushy afraux (a fake afro, get it? I’m trying to make this term happen), and I was especially devastated to find out that the corgis next door have passed away.
But early in the mornings, when most of the city is still asleep, I wake up early (I’m on my own twilight time zone somewhere between Pacific and Eastern time) and jump on my bicycle. Riding the empty streets, it feels like nothing has really changed. The houses are still quaint, the greenery is still overgrown and lush, and despite some new construction, most of my trusty standbys are still there: the vaguely snotty New Seasons on SE 21st, the dependable Fred Meyer’s on Hawthorne, and the family-owned hardware store on SE 37th. And of course, my Portland friends are still here, too. Although the specifics might be different — one friend lives in a new neighborhood, another has a new job, a couple are in the process of buying a house — it still feels the same when we get together over a good meal to laugh and joke and gossip like we did many years ago.
All in all, it feels good to be home.
This is another one of those baking recipes I made while still in New York to get rid of the random ingredients we had lying around before our big move. In this case, it was a handful of clementines and half a bag of almond flour. After looking through my extensive cookbook collection, I saw this recipe for clementine and almond cake from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem and was sold. The almond meal adds a nice hearty flavor that works wonderfully with the slightly woody citrusy flavor of the clementines. Enjoy!
- I baked this pan in a mini 7 1/2-inch bundt pan that I bought in Porto, Portugal; it looks like they sell 7-inch Kugelhopf pans on Amazon that could also do the job. But overall, I wouldn’t really recommend baking it in the bundt. There wasn’t enough batter to fill out the pan and it sorta looks stunted or something. Stick with Yotam’s 9 1/2-inch springform pan method instead.
- In a pinch, you can also use real oranges instead of clementines — the cake will probably taste a little tangier, but it’ll still be delicious. I promise.
Clementine and Almond Syrup Bundt Cake
For the Almond Cake
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- fresh zest from 4 medium clementines
- 2 1/2 cups almond meal
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Clementine Syrup
- 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed clementine juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- a pinch of kosher salt
For the Clementine Almond Glaze
- 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed clementine juice
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Prepare a 7 1/2-inch bundt pan or a 9 1/2-inch springform pan by spraying generously with cooking spray and dusting with flour; set aside.
- In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, and fresh zest from 4 medium clementines. Beat on low speed to combine everything well, but don't incorporate too much air just yet! Add half the almond meal (around 1 1/4 cups) and continue mixing until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the mixer back on to its slowest setting and add 5 large eggs one at a time, only adding the next egg when the first is fully incorporated. Add the remaining almond meal, 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and beat on low speed until completely smooth.
- Use a rubber spatula to transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs.
- When the cake is almost done, make the syrup. Combine 1/2 cup clementine juice, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and a pinch of kosher salt in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, let boil for 1 minute, and remove from heat.
- As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place it on a wire rack and use a pastry brush to brush it with the boiling syrup, making sure the syrup soaks all the way in. Leave the cake to cool down completely in the pan before turning it out completely.
- When the cake is completely cooled, make the glaze. Combine 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed clementine juice, and 1 teaspoon almond extract in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Use immediately by pouring on top of the cake.
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