Aren’t Clementines supposed to be out of season? My whole life, I have spent Christmases peeling plump wreaths of sweet orange-ness. It is now the end of March, and I feel like a chipmunk-cheeked, cake-baking and -eating fraud.
Wikipedia tells me that the ones I used to make this cake were birthed on the cusp of the season. Spongey, aromatic cake robed in chocolate silk–what a way to go out with a bang.
I didn’t enjoy every minute of making this cake, however. In fact, I almost quit. Yikes, this is starting to sound like whenever I exercise. Or do laundry.
I experience displeasure, I think, because the end doesn’t necessarily seem linear. In fact, the path we take to get there impresses with indirection. Even if those are, at times, the best kind of paths. Shhh.
To begin to make Clementine Cake, for example, one must first boil clementines. For hours. This is not an initiation prank. [Admittedly, I did laundry over the course of this portion of the recipe, which might explain any and all displacement of negative emotion.]
The air was warm orange juice, and the next step: squashing the boiled rounds to remove any seedlings. Then, puree. Peel, pith, fruit. All of it is ground to coral mush. It doesn’t make sense.
We whisk in too many eggs and almond meal. Pour into a well-greased square, and await the poofs of citrus air from the oven. At some point between the delicate rise of the batter with heat and the oozy gloss of chocolate glaze, it pieces together.
Sometimes, timing is irrelevant. The point is where you are now. The getting there got you here. And it wasn’t so bad, now that you’ve arrived (looking back).
In fact, there is unseasonably clementine-d cake waiting for you, if you have a couple hours. Free of gluten. Softer than the lips of someone you’d like to love. Cocoa robes. Raw honey sheen. Cubes of chocolate-draped, citric fluff.
Who says it’s boring to be square.