Soft and moist with a sweet juicy flavor, this is one citrus dessert you won’t want to miss! Clementine cake is a must-try for the holidays!

If you need more citrus in your life, you should definitely try my lemon glazed bread, orange cranberry muffins, and orange glaze scones. They’re all wonderfully bright and delicious!

Taking a piece of clementine cake with a gold cake spatula.

Soft and Moist Clementine Cake Recipe

I can’t believe Christmas is just a few days away! If you’re still stuck on what dessert to make, this recipe is for you! Nothing screams “holiday” quite like a homemade cake loaded with amazing citrus or cranberry flavor. This clementine cake in particular is the perfect addition to any holiday dinner. It’s warm, soft, and supremely moist with juicy flavor loaded in each bite. It’s also a great way to use up that bag of Cuties on your counter!

This cake is put together much like an upside-down cake is. It starts with an amazing brown sugar butter glaze that drizzles down once you flip your cake. The moist and tender texture combined with the perfect citrus flavor makes this the ultimate holiday treat. It has such a beautiful presentation your family will be eyeballing it all throughout dinner! It’s definitely worth the wait!

Ingredients for Clementine Cake

This recipe does have a bit of a lengthy ingredient list, but each is necessary for creating the ultimate citrus dessert! This has quickly become a favorite in my family. I know you’ll love how it turns out, too! If you’re looking for individual measurements, they can be found below in the printable recipe card.

  • Butter: Melted butter adds richness, moisture, and helps the batter mix together smoothly.
  • Brown Sugar: For that perfect caramelized sweetness! Brown sugar adds a nice deep sweetness to cakes.
  • Clementines: Thin clementine slices line the bottom of your cake pan to infuse flavor. Once your cake is flipped onto a plate, they also give it a beautiful presentation!
  • Granulated Sugar: Next up, we have white sugar! I add this to sweeten up the whole cake.
  • Clementine Zest: Zest gives your clementine cake its mouthwatering aromatics.
  • Cake Flour: I like using cake flour for its delicate crumb. You can also substitute this for all-purpose or almond flour. Just keep in mind that it will alter the texture of your cake slightly!
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Skip these crucial ingredients, and your cake will be as hard as a rock.
  • Salt: A little salt is added to balance flavors.

Wet Ingredients

  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk is what makes this cake so moist and tasty! If you don’t have it on hand, it’s super easy to make at home!
  • Fresh Clementine Juice: Clementine juice will give your cake the most amazing flavor. It makes each bite nice and juicy!
  • Vanilla: Added to sweeten and give your cake a more complex flavor. Use pure vanilla extract for the best results!
  • Vegetable Oil: Another great ingredient to keep your cake moist!
  • Egg Whites: Egg whites make your cake fluffy and delicious.

Making a Tasty Clementine Cake

Making clementine cake is just as easy as making a boxed cake! In just a few steps of mixing and layering, you’ll have an amazing dessert in the oven! Waiting for it to bake is the hardest part. It smells so good!

  1. Preheat Oven, Arrange Clementine Slices: First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease one 8 inch round cake with nonstick cooking spray. Next, pour the melted butter into the pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Arrange the sliced clementines over the butter and sugar. Set aside while the batter is prepared.
  2. Clementine Sugar: In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the zest of the clementines until fragrant.
  3. Whisk Dry Ingredients: Then, in a large bowl, whisk together the clementine sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add in Wet Ingredients: To the same bowl, add the buttermilk, clementine juice, vanilla, and oil and beat with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or a hand mixer just until fully combined.
  5. Prep Egg Whites: In another bowl, whip the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the cake batter to loosen it up, followed by the remaining egg whites. Fold just until no streaks of egg whites remain and the batter is fully combined.
  6. Bake: Next, pour the batter into the cake pan over the sliced clementines. Bake for 30-35 minutes, just until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed on or a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool and Serve: Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate or cake stand. It is best served immediately, but can be wrapped in plastic and stored for up to 3 days at room temperature.
4 pictures of preparing cake batter and adding to pan over clementine slices.

Making a Successful Clementine Cake

Here are a few simple tips to make sure your clementine cake turns out as delicious as possible. It’s going to be a hit this Christmas!

  • Working With Egg Whites: Egg whites can be fickle. You want to be careful with them or they’ll deflate and you won’t get that fluffy effect in your cake. When mixing, only whip until medium peaks form. If you overmix, your egg whites will become clumpy. Also, when adding your egg whites into your cake batter, fold in gently so they don’t collapse. You never want to mix egg whites with a heavy hand.
  • Use Enough Cooking Spray: Be sure to coat the bottom of your pan generously with cooking spray or you’ll have a difficult time sliding your cake out.
  • Allow to Cool: Before you invert your cake, let it cool for at least 10 minutes. This will give it a chance to set and solidify.
  • Make it Nutty: Feel free to add chopped walnuts or pecans to your batter for a boost of texture and nutty flavor!
  • Toppings: You can drizzle your clementine cake with white, milk or dark chocolate, or even caramel to give it some extra indulgence. This cake is also tasty served with a little whipped cream on top for extra moisture.

Top-down view of a full clementine cake.

Storing Leftovers

Clementine cake is great to have as leftovers! I love having a slice for breakfast or throughout the day when I’m craving something sweet. It’s also perfect alongside a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. You’ll love it!

  • At Room Temperature: Store in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap. Your cake will last for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: For that just out of the oven goodness, pop a slice of clementine cake into the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.

A slice of clementine cake on a white plate.

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