Cuties, also known as “sweeties” and officially called clementines, are a favorite citrus snacker of the kiddie crowd. These super-moist, almond meal sandwich cakes are packed with vitamin C, covered in a sweet pineapple glaze and sized to perfection for little fingers and pie-holes.
Yield: Makes 16-20 mini cakes
Cook time: 2 hours
For the cake:
4 cuties/sweeties/clementine oranges (grate and reserve their zest)
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten and at room temperature
2 drops almond extract
1/4 cup almond milk at room temperature
1/2 cup flour
1 cup almonds, ground to a coarse meal
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup fresh diced pineapple
Zest from clementines
1 additional clementine for garnish
Cover clementines with water in a saucepan (until just submerged) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and drain (the water will be lightly flavored and can be saved and added to tea, used to make oatmeal, etc.)
Preheat oven to 350˚. Cream butter and sugar together in a food processor. Add egg, almond extract and almond milk and mix until smooth. Gradually drop in and combine mandarin pieces. Stir flour, almonds, salt, and baking powder together and gradually pulse into wet ingredients.
Lightly butter a square, 8” baking dish and fill with batter. Bake on the middle rack until edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then completely on a rack.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until very smooth. Glaze will retain small bits of zest and pineapple.
Once cool, carefully slice the cake depth-wise through the middle to create two equal-sized square layers. Remove the top half and spread the bottom layer evenly with marmalade. Carefully replace top half and poke cake all over, through both layers, with a skewer. Cut cake into 16-20 small squares.
Place cakes on a piece of foil or wax paper, leaving a little bit of space between each. Pour glaze evenly over top to cover completely. Allow glaze to set at least 30 minutes.
To serve, zest final clementine, peel and section. Place one section atop each baby cake and sprinkle with zest.
Originally published for PK4 Media.