Saturday, January 05, 2013

bizcocho de clementina y harina de maiz

There's no way to put it nicely: winter sucks. But one thing that always manages to make my January just a little brighter is when I spy those famously sunny bags of sweet, juicy clementines in the markets. They're so popular I reckon, because in addition to packing a sugary citrus punch in winter's dead center, they're also easy to transport and peel. I end up eating clementines like candy.

Unfortunately, you can only buy clementines here by the bag. And as luck would have it, I ended up with a huge bag of not-so-sweet fruit. But when life gives me not-so-sweet clementines, I make cake. And I try to make it even better by giving the recipe a cute Spanish name: "Bizcocho de Clementina y Harina de Maiz,"aka humble "Clementine Cornmeal Cake." It's by no means an authentic bizcocho – it's much denser, but still, it sounds much better in Spanish, no? [I love the word bizcocho; I can't stop saying it.]

Another ingredient that makes this cake special – and more quintessentially Spanish and anti-winter – is  strong, fruity extra-virgin olive oil. The nice folks at Colavita sent me some olive oils to review and of those that I sampled, I decided that their Argentinian fruity extra-virgin would work best here: it provided an assertive gravitas contrasted with the lightness of the clementines. Very yin/yang. I'll post my review later in the week along with a special, fun contest of the Iron Chef variety.

This bizcocho is a moist, dense treat that would pair nicely with a cup of Earl Grey tea. It also makes a nice dessert, slightly warmed and topped with a dollop of vegan whipped cream or yogurt, served with a shot of Cointreau to sip on. It's shamefully easy to throw together--no mixer required – and of course you can substitute oranges, lemons or even limes for the clemmies. 

Watch for the giveaway contest and review in a few days. And start thinking about how to use olive oil in dessert. [Yes, that was a, big hint to get your creative juices flowing.]

Bizcocho de Clementina y Harina de Maiz [Vegan Clementine-Cornmeal Cake]

Makes one cake; serves 9-18, depending on how you cut it [I cut it into 18 pequeno squares]

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square pan or cake pan.
2. Mix wet ingredients thoroughly in a medium bowl:

  • About 3 clementines, peeled and diced. Remove any visible rinds or fibers [Leftovers are chef's reward]
  • 1 T clementine zest
  • 1/3 cup fruity extra--virgin olive oil [I recommend Colavita Argentinian fruity EVOO]
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract [substitute lemon or vanilla]
  • 1 T Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • 1/3 cup vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 T ground flax seed + 3 T water [egg substitute]

3. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • A healthy 1/4 tsp salt

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. .Mix until moistened then spread into the pan.

5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and a tester comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

All done!

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Nikki said...

Warm cake on a cold day. Looks delicious.

rubber cowgirl said...

What a great idea! I always end up composting way to many uneaten clementines. Plus, I like cornbread a lot.

Vada said...

I love clementines but have quit buying them because more often than not they are sour. It didn't used to be that way, but I have had more bad than good bags in the past two years. Maybe this will give me the courage to try again since I will still have a way to use them if they are bad.

urban vegan said...

Was relieved to hear it wasn't just me. When clemmies are good, they are very, very good. When they are bad, don't compost. Besides baking, you can also add to smoothies, make jam, and cook with sugar to spiff up.

urban vegan said...

Between your comment and rubber cowgirl's, i'm beginning to think there's a clemmie conspiracy. I've also had my share of sour ones. But the good ones are so incredibly sweet that I keep gambling and hoping I hit the citrus lottery.

Hannah said...

You are definitely speaking my language here. Citrus fruits are the only things that get me through winter! I can't get through snow days without a big bowl of oranges, clementines, or tangerines on the counter, sort of like a safety reserve. This cake sounds like the perfect treat to keep the blues at bay.

Joey said...

I like fruit best when it comes in the form of a cake! Never heard of this bad boy, but I'm pretty sure I'd like a big old slice of that with a cup of tea. You know you're on the right track when you're adding in some booze into your cake mix! Bizcocho, I salute you!

Millie said...

muy rico....yum.

Andrea said...

I'll bet even the sour ones would be dynamite in this cake. I can almost taste it — love the texture. I may have to mix up a GF version of this tonight!

Johanna said...

It's in the oven now.

Johanna said...

okay, i spooned out a taste before it was cool!!! OMG! i'm going to have to make this at work when i have time. folks will flip.

urban vegan said...

Yay! So glad you liked it. I snarfed this cake up a little more quickly than I'd like to admit. said...

I love clementines but I've never tried to bake with them, I usually just scoff the lot straight from the bag as soon as I get home from the store! You cake looks delicious though, I'll have to give it a whirl sometime.