On a recent trip to San Antonio, I was invited to tea by an old friend.

This friend is an excellent cook so when she served up her newest cake recipe I knew I was in for a treat. And I was not disappointed.
This fragrant cake has a wonderful, light texture and will keep, covered, for at least a week. (But good luck on it lasting that long!)  If need be, oranges may be substituted for the clementines.  An inexpensive and widely available citrus zester is the ideal tool for getting long, even strips of orange zest to garnish the cake. It can be served with a dollop of whipped cream.

3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
scant 2 cups of superfine sugar
grated zest and juice of 4 clementines
2 &1/2 cups ground almonds
5 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour, sifted
pinch salt
long strips of orange zest to garnish

Chocolate Icing (optional)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
5 oz. dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 &1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Cognac

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 9 &1/2 inch spring form pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Place the butter, 1 &1/2 cups of sugar and both zests in a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment and beat on low speed to combine everything well. Do not work the mixture too much. Add half the ground almonds and continue mixing until combined.
 With the machine running, gradually add the eggs, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl a couple of times as you go, until smooth.
Pour the cake batter into the pan and level it with an offset spatula. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes. Check to see if it is ready by inserting a skewer into the center. It should come out a little moist.
When the cake is almost done, place the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and the citrus juices in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. (The juices should measure about 1/2 cup) When the syrup boils, remove from heat.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, brush it with the boiling syrup, making sure all the syrup soaks in. Leave the cake to cool down completely in the pan before you remove it. You can then serve it as is, garnish it with orange zest strips or store it for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
If you wish to ice the cake, I recommend doing it on the day you wish to serve it so the icing is fresh and shiny. Pour the butter, chocolate and honey in a heat proof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water.  Stir until everything is melted then immediately remove from the heat and fold in the Cognac. Pour the icing over the cooled  cake allowing it to dribble naturally down the sides without covering the cake completely. Let the icing set and then garnish the center of the cake with orange zest strips.

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