Tired of Pumpkin? Try Spiced Clementine Cake with Rum Soaked Dried Fruit Sauce

To me, Thanksgiving is all about pumpkin pie. Really. I could pass up on just about everything else (exception = mashed potatoes) but I live for pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Growing up my mom and grandmother made three types of pumpkin pie. Did you even know there are three types of pumpkin pie?

But I realize not everyone feels the way I do about pumpkin, so I thought I’d post an autumn inspired dessert, worthy of Thanksgiving, but sans pumpkin. It’s a spiced version of the Clementine Cake I posted in January, with a dried fruit and rum sauce that make this so not Walter Mitty’s mother’s cake. This cake is great because it is gluten-free and can be grain-free with a simple substitution.

It takes about 3 hours to prep and 45 minutes to bake, and needs time to cool completely before serving. I made this one day before I was planning to serve it.

I really enjoyed this recipe and I hope you do too 🙂

For this recipe, you will need:

Rum Sauce and Candied Clementines
3/4 c. dried dark fruit (any mixture of cherries, currants and prunes)
1 1/2 c. spiced rum
2 1/2 c. cane sugar
1/2 c. water
1 T. vanilla extract
3 clementines

Spiced Clementine Cake
1 1/4 c. almond flour
1 c. finely ground corn meal
3/4 c. candied clementine syrup
1 T. vanilla extract
4 clementines
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. allspice
pinch of cardamom
6 large eggs, brought to room temperature

First thing is first. In a small bowl, soak the dried dark fruit in 1 c. of spiced rum. Set aside and allow it to soak for about 2 hours. I used 1/4 c. of dried cherries, 1/4 c. of currants, and 1/4 c. of prunes. You can really use any combination you’d like, but I strongly encourage you to have some cherries in that mix – I think they made the sauce.

Next, if you have not pulled the eggs from the fridge, do so now and let them come to room temperature.

About one hour into the dried fruit soak, you can start making the candied clementine slices. You’ll use these to line the bottom of your spring foam pan.

Thinly slice three clementines (a 2 or 3 setting on a mandolin, or about 1/8″ by hand).



Make sure that you save the ends that you are not candying – set them aside in a bowl. Make sure you’ve got the right amount by laying them out on the bottom of a parchment lined spring foam pan bottom.


Next, you’re going to candy the slices. This makes them soft, soft enough that you can easily eat them (i.e. cut with a fork). In a large saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c. of cane sugar, 1/2 c. of water, and 1/2 c. of rum to a boil until all sugar is dissolved.

Add the slices of clementine to the sugar water and simmer for 30-40 minutes.


Lightly spray the bottom of your parchment lined spring foam pan (9 or 10″).

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, gently remove the slices from the syrup and line the bottom of your parchment lined spring foam pan.


Save the syrup that candied the clementine slices. Add 1 T. of vanilla extract and set aside (should be about 3/4 c.) to cool.


After removing the pithes, quarter 4 clementines and place in a medium bowl with the extra ends and pieces left over from preparing your candied clementine slices.


Cover them with a plate and microwave for 3.5 minutes on high. Next, “mash” the clementines in a food processor.


In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, mix the dry ingredients (almond flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, spices). Note, if you want to make this cake grain-free, simply substitute almond flour for all of the corn meal.

Now, here is where you pause from cake prep and switch gears to rum sauce prep.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small pot, add the dried fruit and rum, 1 T. vanilla extract and 1 c. cane sugar. Bring it to a boil (to cook off the alcohol and dissolve the sugar) and simmer for 15-20 minutes.


The sauce will darken and thicken and the fruit becomes very soft.


Blend in a food processor until smoothish.

Spoon some of the rum sauce onto the bottom of the spring foam pan, over the sliced clementines.


Now that the sauce is done, switch gears back to the cake batter.

The syrup should be cooled. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Via slow drizzle, add the cooled syrup to the eggs, whisking on low speed. Once you’ve added all of the syrup, increase the speed to medium-high until the volume of the mixture has doubled (about 5 minutes).

Switch the whisk to a paddle and add the mashed clementines until combined. Next, add the flour mixture until combined.

Pour the batter into the spring foam pan.


Bake for approximately 45 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).

Cool the cake on a wire rack. Once the cake is mostly cooled (a little warm is okay), transfer it to a serving plate. Drizzle or pipe the remaining rum sauce onto the cake. Be sure to have some drip down the sides of the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.


And enjoy!

– Nicole


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1 Response to Tired of Pumpkin? Try Spiced Clementine Cake with Rum Soaked Dried Fruit Sauce

  1. abitofsalt says:

    I had a friend make this for Thanksgiving and one of the comments she had was that the cake was too rummy. When we talked about the recipe she told me she had used Meyers rum to soak the dried fruit; I recommend using a lighter spiced rum (like Sailor Jerry’s or Captain Morgan) rather than a dark spiced rum (like Meyers). If Meyers is what you have, reduce the amount of rum by half and sub the other half with water.

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