Pâtisserie / Recipe

Cake week-end au citron, confit de clémentines à la vanille

[Lemon weekend cake, clementine confit]

Originally published on January 29, 2010

This is a cake I’ve made so many times over the years that I could make it with my eyes closed.

I remember the first time I posted about it. It was early 2010, and a thin mantle of snow had fallen overnight, just enough to cover the ground.

I had just started working as a commis pastry chef at the Capital, a small boutique hotel that would become the road map of my seven years in London. Yes, many of the chefs I consider my mentors and friends have – at one point or another – worked in the kitchen where I did my very first service.

This reminds me that I’ll have to tell you, one day, about the time where I traveled across town – from Islington to Mayfair – on a vegetable delivery van to meet Chavot for an interview, leaving loaves of sourdough proofing in the kitchen above John Salt, and came back just in time to bake them before dinner service.

But… this cake. A gâteau de voyage [a travel cake]. It doesn’t translate well, but the name alone suffices to evoke the soft lull of a holiday; the carefully wrapped slice, eaten on the night train; the afternoons at the beach; perhaps even, the long drive through the Massif Central.
All gâteaux de voyage have the particularity to keep well at room temperature over a week or so. And this weekend cake is no exception, with both butter and crème fraiche to keep it moist, I find that it tastes even better the next day.

It starts by whisking the eggs and sugar, with just a pinch of salt. The flours gets folded in. Then a third of the batter is mixed with the fats, then delicately folded back into the remaining batter.
Although, I now often make it by adding the fats to the eggs, then folding in the flour.

For the sake of staying true to my original recipe, I will leave the former method – as written in 2010, but know that both work fine, the latter leading to a slightly denser crumb, which I like when having cakes with tea or more accurately – and dare I say it – I love when dipping a slice in piping hot tea.
Please, tell me you also give in to this ritual or am I the only one?

And although, I can never resist it unadorned, I am rather fond of serving it with a generous spoonful of clementine confit and a dollop of crème fraiche.
There is something about the suave softness of the compote against the gentle bite of the cake.
Sometimes I even make it with tea – finely milled to a powder – folded into the batter. Other times, I leave it plain, perhaps with a touch of vanilla or orange blossom water, and we eat it with softly whipped cream and warmed raspberries.

Yes, more than a recipe this really is blueprint and should be used as such.

Just a quick note on baking temperatures: while I often bake this loaf cake at 175°C for approximately 45 minutes, I can only remind you of my favourite method for baking loaf cakes.
5 minutes at 200°C/fan 180°C, 10 minutes at 180°C/fan 170°C, and around 25 minutes at 170°C/fan 160°C.

Cake weekend au citron, confit de clémentines à la vanille

Makes one loaf cake.

For the clementines confit
350 g clementines, around 3 to 4
200 g caster sugar
half a vanilla pod
100 g water
20 g cornflour diluted in 40 g cold water

For the lemon weekend cake
4 eggs
250 g caster sugar
zest from 2 organic lemons
200 g plain flour
one tsp baking powder
150 g creme fraiche
50 g butter, melted

softened butter, extra for piping

To serve
a generous dollop of crème fraiche for each serving

Make the clementine confit: bring a large pan of water to the boil. Plunge the clementines in it and simmer for 3 minutes. Sieve, placing the fruits in an ice-cold water bath as you do so. Repeat one more time. Then chill the clementines until cold enough to handle.
Slice finely, and place in a pan along with the sugar, vanilla pod and seeds, and water.
Simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced and almost candied. Then vigorously fold in the cornflour mixture. Allow to boil for a couple of minutes, and transfer to a bowl.
The confit will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Make the cake batter: preheat the oven to 175°C/fan 155°C; butter and flour a loaf tin.
Place the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and salt in a bowl, and whisk until thick and doubled in size.
In an another bowl, mix the flour and baking powder, and fold into the egg mixture.
Pour a third of the batter onto the cream and melted butter, mix well, and transfer back to the main batter mix, gently folding in as you do so.
Pour into the prepared tin. If you want an even crack in the center of your loaf cake, pipe a thin line of softened butter across the batter; and bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool down 20-30 minutes before unmoulding.
If not eating right away, place into an airtight container and keep at room temperature.

Place a slice of cake cut in half lengthwise in a plate. Top with both a spoonful of confit and a dollop of crème fraiche.


  • maia
    January 29, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    This cake looks perfect for my weekeend sweet dose!

  • ilaria
    January 29, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    mmmm give ma anything with lemon (and cream) any day…. 🙂

  • Dacia
    January 29, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    That looks beautiful and delicious! Thanks for the butter tip and good luck on your cookbook!

  • heather
    January 29, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    delicate, sweet, whimsical. love it. will bake soon. thanks for the tips and the lovely story! best with the cookbook.

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:36 PM

      Thanks Heather. I’m happy you like it. And those three first words feel just perfect for it!

  • Helen (grabyourfork)
    January 29, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    How exciting that you will be writing a pastry book! This lemon weekend cake looks fantastic – and a handy tip too about creating a neatly cracked loaf top 🙂

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:36 PM

      Aaaaw thak you Helen. Glad you like the tip. It’s most definitely one of my favourites.

  • deb
    January 29, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    I would line be first in line to buy your cookbook. I love the way you make the fanciest pastries accessible for a home cook but also apply your extensive knowledge to making things like loaf cakes even better, all in your sweet, friendly voice. Good luck!

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:37 PM

      Thank you Deb. Your thoughts mean a lot. x

  • Mimi
    January 29, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    What a lovely cake. I love anything citrus. Great tip on creating the beautiful cracked top. Good luck with the cookbook, I’ll be waiting to buy it.

  • katie
    January 29, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    The tip about the line of butter is wonderful, thank you! If you put out a book I will definitely want to read it, Good luck!

  • il ramaiolo
    January 29, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    “hello! I’ve been waiting for! Good luck to all!” federica

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:37 PM

      Thank you Federica. Your words make my heart a little warmer.

  • Edd
    January 29, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    What a great tip with the butter will definitely give it a try. Good luck with the book I would be very interested to read it

  • Sarah
    January 30, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    OOO looks delicious! I’ve been wanting to make a lemon cake so this might have to be the one I make. Also..beautiful blue eggs!!!

  • Linda
    January 30, 2010 at 5:30 AM

    Please write a pastry book! 🙂

  • Lucie
    January 30, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Bravo! Your cake weekend looks phenomenally simple, and that’s often what makes the most memorable desserts! I love (x10000) lemon pound cakes–your blog in general is amazing! Best of luck with the book, I’m sure it could only turn out to be a success 🙂

  • cathy
    January 30, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    i love the butter tip… can’t wait to try it!
    and i think you technically already have written a book – foodbeam! your pastries weave perfectly with your words and your style of photography.
    but i hope one day i can also get a glimpse of the new cookbook you’re starting! add me to the queue please 🙂

  • miuccia
    January 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Fanny! I’ll be waiting your book as a new J. K. Rowling book!!and I’m not overreacting!I love the way you blend poetry, patisserie in glamour-coated recipes. In Italy to wish good luck we say “in bocca al lupo” ^.^

  • Aïda
    January 30, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    Je dois avouer que c’est vraiment magnifique malgré que je sois pas là pour t’aider à choisir les meilleures photos…:)

  • jessica
    January 30, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    What a delicious and lovely recipe! I have an abundance of clementines and lemons and this suits my bill perfectly! I am so glad I discovered your site…

  • Christine
    January 30, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    Congratulations! You will absolutely have my business. And your self assessment is perfect. Good luck!

  • U.D.
    January 30, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    Hi Fanny, I don’t normally post comments but I wanted to wish you luck with the book. I’ve had more success (and fun) learning about patisserie from your site than from all my cookbooks. All the best 🙂

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:38 PM

      How lovely of you to comment. Thank you!

  • John
    January 31, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    I would definitely buy your book when you get published! 🙂 I love your work. Lol.

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:38 PM

      Thank you. It means a lot.

  • CookingTata
    January 31, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    thank you for this cake! your secret of the line of butter on the top is interesting: I’ll try it. Barbara

  • Parigote
    January 31, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    Sans hésiter, je dévorerai un livre foodbeam ! Mais quel travail cela demande, j’espère que tu pourras mener ce projet à bien.
    Et ce cake, juste magnifique !

  • zera
    January 31, 2010 at 11:43 PM

    What a loevly cake, made it first thing today, the confit is fantastic.
    Please work less and post more here 😉
    Oh, by the way, you were aksing for music recently, do you know the xx? If not go down to roughtrade records and listen to their album. Good kitchen music but also good walking through big city with camera and headphones music.

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:38 PM

      Thank you Zera for the kind words and the music recommendation. I can’t wait to check the xx.

  • Esther
    February 1, 2010 at 5:20 AM

    Hey Fanny, how exactly do you shoot those amazing falling snow photos? I’ve tried and tried but I can’t seem to be getting it right. Any help?

  • Stumped
    February 1, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Hi fanny,
    i know this isn’t a SOS cake rescue site but looking at the perfect crumb of your perfect cake, i’m just tempted to ask if you’ve ever encountered (no, of course you haven’t, what am i thinking), if you know why cakes would have a stodgy, almost unbaked spot in the middle. I’ve never had this problem before but the last three cakes i made all had this problem. Somewhere in the lower third of the cake would be this dense wet layer. It’s really strange and i don’t know what’s wrong. The oven’s still the same one and i use reliable recipes.
    Is it due to a lumpy, undermixed batter??? I’m staring at your beautiful orange cake and it seems to be mocking me!!
    otherwise congrats on the book, if it’s aything as cute as your blog, it’ll be a hit!

  • GuyaB
    February 1, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    If you’ll write a book, i’ll buy it for sure!
    I love your blog, your photos and your recipe!
    A fan from Italy!

  • Alex
    February 1, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    Thanks for the tip for achieving a perfect cracked top, I have never come across this!
    I too, would love any book you had written. Get cracking!

  • ElodieVeryPetit
    February 1, 2010 at 9:23 PM

    Humm, tes photos sont superbes, ca a vraiment l’air top ! j’adore

  • Le citron
    February 1, 2010 at 11:00 PM

    …Oh… ce cake !!!!
    Tout cela me laisse rêveuse !!!

  • joey
    February 2, 2010 at 2:04 AM

    lovely looking cake and lovely sounding day off…good luck with the book!

  • Katie
    February 2, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    Oh this sounds fabulous. Sweet yet simple and it looks so moist. Thanks for the tip about the line of butter, I’m interested to try this now.
    I too love cake with a bit of yoghurt and fruit

  • Dan Lepard
    February 3, 2010 at 12:08 AM

    What a great tip for getting that magnificent peaked crust on the top of the loaf cake. Best wishes from London!
    p.s. beautiful photography too.

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:39 PM

      Thank you Dan. I’m sure you’ll put the butter line trick to good use!

  • Shannon @ bakeandbloom.com
    February 3, 2010 at 2:27 AM

    Best wishes with the book, I have always enjoyed your recipes, writing & photography.
    That’s an excellent tip for the top of the loaf, I will keep it in mind next time I make a maderia cake

  • my spatula
    February 4, 2010 at 1:18 AM

    i can’t decide which is more beautiful…the shots of the falling snow or this lemon loaf. i’m smitten!

  • Jacque
    February 5, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    Oooh, lovely post! It sounds like a perfect day. Nice cake too 🙂

  • sooishi
    February 6, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    je ne dirais qu’une seule chose:
    oh oui!

  • pity
    February 6, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    what a lovely cake ,and a very useful tip, i will use it next time, lovely blog and photos, will be back, cheers

  • […] Here’s the recipe from foodbeam! […]

  • Suzanne
    February 9, 2010 at 7:48 AM

    lemon cake is my favorite dessert — your recipe and pictures look scrumptious!

  • Lucie
    February 9, 2010 at 11:08 PM

    just hearing you say you want to write a cookbook makes me want to set up my publishing house and publish it! I don’t know you in person but I can feel you’re indeed refreshing, sophisticated and fun!
    I will bake this cake as soon as my flu and work allow me to!

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:39 PM

      Aaaaaw that’s so sweet of you Lucie. Thanks for being my favourite person in the world! You always make me happy. x

  • Amélie
    February 17, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    Je l’ai fait ce matin. Exquis! D’ordinaire je ne suis pas très “cake” car je les trouve soit trop secs, soit trop “beurrus”. Là, c’était à la fois léger, moelleux et ni sec ni gras. Comme à chaque fois que je teste l’une de vos recettes, tout le monde a adoré. Merci.

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:40 PM

      Merci de m’avoir laisse ce petit mot pour me faire savoir que vous aviez aime ce cake autant que nous! xx

  • Annie
    February 19, 2010 at 6:52 AM

    your picture are so amazing — i want to dive into this cake!

  • Caroline Hancox
    February 19, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Hi, I just wanted to say that after discovering your lovely blog the other day I made this cake for my dads birthday last night. It looks like the prettiest cake I have ever made, I didn’t get the butter line quite right but it was my first time!! I haven’t tried it yet but if it tastes as good as it looks, it’l be yum! Thank you for the recipe, my dad’ll be really pleased i’m sure

    • fanny
      March 14, 2019 at 10:40 PM

      You’re so very welcome Caroline. It can be quite tricky to get the piping right. I remember my first time with a piping bag, and trust me, it wasn’t a prertty sight.

  • Marjorie
    February 28, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Thank you for this recipe Fanny ! I baked this cake this morning (I quartered the recipe because I just have a tiny oven and a tiny loaf tin in my tiny Parisian-student “kitchen”) and it was really good. Actually, my boyfriend who dislikes lemon ate two slices and found it wonderful (until I told him with what it was made – sheesh). I will definitely make it again when I am at my parents, in a “real” oven, and for people who will really appreciate this moist and flavorful weekend lemon cake …

  • adrienne
    March 2, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    I just discovered your site!!!
    Please subscribe me to your newsletter?
    Thank you so much.

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    May 8, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    […] Peel and slice the apple grossly. Hide these slices right under the surface of the cake mix. Avoid the very center so that the cake can crack there. For the perfect crack trick here. […]

  • Ann Jebaratnam
    July 22, 2010 at 2:40 AM

    Hi Fanny,
    My aunt and I made a Lemon-Orange Loaf recently, but now you’ve made me want to try your cake. I love citrus cakes and already have 2 (yours included) which I want to try. Thanks for this. Your website is beautiful and my favourite thing here is the Fondant au Chocolat, which I have made a couple of times. Happy baking darling!

  • Ann Jebaratnam
    September 3, 2010 at 2:35 AM

    I’ve finally made this cake. Looks different from yours, but go look at my blog under Gateau au Citron Verte! I loved it. Very simple, country cake. The best kind I think. 🙂

  • […] Fanny has a lot of unequivocally good tips and tricks for this ideal weekend cake. […]

  • Patricia Petersen Lamha
    May 22, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    just made this cake, and its so nhammi and fluffly. love it! thank you so much! i’m also an aspiring pastry chef like you were at the beggining. you’re great!

  • erna.dyanty
    June 29, 2011 at 4:59 AM

    a perfect cake for my pop-my-new-oven-cherry weekend. lovelehhhhhh


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