Updated: Jun 4
St. Catherine of Siena is the patroness of Italy, saint, mystic, and doctor of the Church. She entered the Dominican order at just 16 years old and her great faith led her to become a spiritual guide for many prominent people, including the pope during the Avignon Papacy. When I initially read that I was incredibly intrigued, I didn't grow up around many priests other than our parish priest, and I had never actually known a sister until college. So when I heard her story, I couldn't get enough of her strong character and deep faith.
As a mystic she had the "gift of tears" and a "mystical marriage to Christ". She is also known as an incorruptible saint meaning that parts of her body have never decayed. When I visited Siena, Italy I saw her head and thumb, I really didn't expect this reaction out of myself but I couldn't help but cry. A holy woman that I chose to be my spiritual role model and intercessor was right in front of me.
The first image was taken by the Traveling Catholic, the second and admittedly very low quality photo of St. Catherine of Siena's head in Siena, Italy was taken by yours truly. 😂
Same photo credit to follow for images of her incorruptible thumb.
Every year we gather in the kitchen to celebrate her by making Clementine Cake. When I shared this on social media many people were surprised to read this connection but it actually makes for the perfect opportunity to talk about her spiritual strength over a slice of cake. In a letter to Pope Urban VI, she writes about her experience in boiling oranges as an analogy for the spiritual sweetness of Christ. A key, and rather long, process to making Clementine Cake is boiling oranges! If you have never had it, I'm telling you right now that it is amazing.
Damp! Dense! Aromatic!
Prep Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Yields: 8-10 Slices
6 large eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
2¼ cups almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
Begin by washing your clementines and throwing them whole into a small pot of water. Bring the water to a boil with the lid partially on for 2 hours.
Note: Keep an eye on the water level and replenish as needed to avoid burning the clementines.
After 2 hours you can drain the water and allow the clementines time to cool. Once you can handle them, cut off the pedicel, or the ends.
Making the cake mix goes pretty quickly, so you can preheat your oven now to 375 degrees.
Slice them in half and remove the pip, or the central core.
Toss them whole, including the skin, into a food processor.
Pulse the food processor until the clementines are completely blended into a liquid with fine parts.
Crack 6 eggs into the clementine mixture and pulse the food processor until both ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Now you can add everything else into the food processor at once.
Put 2 1/4 cup almond flour with 1 tsp baking powder into a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Then pour this gradually into the clementine mixture while the food processor is on low.
Then I sprinkled in 1 cup coconut sugar.
And last but not least, pour in 1 tsp nutmeg.
Blend everything together until your clementine cake mixture looks like this.
Pour into an 8" springform tin cake pan.
Bake for a total of 50 minutes, after the first 30 minutes take the cake out and cover it with foil so that the top doesn't burn. Then put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
You can test to see if your cake is ready by putting a toothpick or skewer in the side, if it comes out clean it is finished.
Some years we have eaten this cake as is with some cool whip and other years we have made a simple glaze with confectioner's sugar, water, and clementine juice. Either way, this cake does not disappoint!
I'm coming back to this post a couple of years later to offer some updated photos of our delicious cake. Hope you are enjoying it! :)
Happy Feast Day, St. Catherine! Use this prayer to add on to your Catholic prayer before meals. Prayer for the Gifts of Saint Catherine of Siena
God of Wisdom you made our sister Catherine burn with divine love in contemplating the Lord’s passion and in serving your Church. With the help of her prayers may your people, united in the mystery of Christ, rejoice forever in the revelation of his glory, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen. Did you make this recipe? If so I would love to see it, drop a picture in the comment or send it to me on social media Facebook @HisGirlSunday or Instagram @steffani_hisgirlsunday. For more resources on building Catholic tradition, check out the blog section of my website or follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see what Catholic things I am doing to make our day to day life more joyful.