This cake is ideal to ease the winter blues. As well as being suitable for coeliacs for the diet season, and everyone is skint: there are some really good offers on the last season clementines, mandarins, satsumas or basically any kind of small orange citrus fruit you are able to buy at your local grocers. Make sure that you have a loose-bottom based cake tin, an electric whisk to hand (first time we tried this, we used 2 forks and it didn’t go quite as light as we thought was possible!). It is also helpful if you have a magimix, but not the end of the world if you don’t.

12 seedless clementines, satsumas or tangerines
450g/16oz caster sugar
200g/7oz butter, softened plus a little for greasing
the grated zest of 1 lemon
3 medium sized eggs, separated
300g/10oz ground almonds
100g/4oz polenta or semolina (we prefer polenta)
150ml pot of natural yogurt

Method

Melt 250g of the sugar in a small pan with 330ml of boiling water, bring to the boil and reduce the heat to simmer.

Thinly slice five of the fruits horizontally, including rind but the ends are not needed. Add the slices to the pan with the sugar and water. Cover and simmer until the skin of the fruit is tender – this will take about 20 minutes.

Grease and base line a 25cm/10″ loose bottomed tin.

Using a draining spoon, remove the fruit slices from the pan when tender, and arrange over the base of the cake tin. Try and get them as close together as you can or even overlapping as this will end up being the top of the cake.

Grate the zest from the seven remaining fruits and put to one side.

Squeeze the juice from four fruits and stir into the syrup. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until thick. Allow to cool on the side

Mix the remaining 200g sugar with the softened butter, lemon zest and the set aside zest. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time.

Peel the three remaining fruits, removing as much pith as possible, and whiz in a food processor until pulpy (if you are a student or not an owner of a magimix, just cut up as finely as possible)

Add the fruit pulp to the cake mixture with the almonds, polenta and yogurt. Then whisk the egg whites until stiff and gently fold in to the mixture. Try and keep as much air to keep the mixture light as there is no flour to help it rise.

Add the some of the syrup & all zest to the mixture.

Carefully spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and place into a pre-heated oven 160ºC Fan oven, 170ºC Conventional oven, Gas 4.

Bake until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour, when the cake will be golden brown and risen. Cool the cake in the tin.

To serve: Invert the cake on to a serving plate, spoon over some of the syrup to glaze the fruit slices. Serve with cream, ice-cream or crème fraiche and the remaining syrup, but be careful not to be too generous as it will go too sticky and gooey – unless you want it like that!