recipe, sweet, winter

Clementine and Hazelnut Cake with Orange Blossom Buttercream

 Sunshine is one of those things that Canadians never take for granted- especially in the dead of winter when you become hungry for light and to hear the birds sing. To celebrate the return of sunshine, I made a cake (how else would you celebrate?) that welcomes the incoming spring with orange blossom, and says adieu to winter with the last of the clementines.

And what a flavour combination.


I had purchased some smaller spring-form pan, about 6-inches in diameter, in order to make a taller cake with thicker layers. Although it has a longer cooking time, because of the increased thickness, it has a beautifully moist interior, a nice crust, and it retains its moisture for quite a few days.

I flavoured this cake with clementine zest and hazelnut extract: a decadent combination. The subtly allowed me to pair it with a potent orange blossom buttercream. How decadent! Just enough orange blossom to make it flavourful, not overwhelming (eating a cake that tastes like you’ve fallen into a basin of potpourri doesn’t really sound like a grand ol’ time).


I garnished the cake with thin slices of clementines, which you can eat along with the cake, chopped hazelnuts, and a couple dried rose petals for a pop of colour. Beautiful presentation, and so easy to do!

Lesson learned? Even if you don’t have all the gizmos and gadgets of a pastry chef, you can still make a show-stopper.



Clementine and Hazelnut Cake with Orange Blossom Buttercream



  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 tsp hazelnut extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of one clementine
  • 1 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 3-4 tbsp milk or cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two 6-inch spring form pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the milk, egg whites, extracts and orange zest together.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; add in the butter and mix until well combined. Gradually add the milk mixture in 3 increments just until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for at least ten minutes before removing the spring form band and allowing the cake to cool completely on a cooling rack.
    1. note: cooking time will change if using 8-inch cake pans- test doneness at the 20 minute mark
  5. To make the icing, combined the buttercream ingredients together gradually until smooth and desired consistency.
  6. Divide the buttercream evenly onto each cake and layer one over the other. Garnish with sliced clementines and chopped hazelnuts if desired. Decorate with dried rose petals if you have them.

Keep in the fridge until ready to serve- remove about 20 minutes before serving to allow it to return to room temperature. Keeps for up to 3 days, covered and chilled.