Walter Mitty Clementine Cake

Ok so I work for the studio that made The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  So right upfront you’d think I’d be biased towards the film.   Well working for Fox has nothing to do with it.  I really love every second and every frame of this movie.  To quote Sophia Grace, it is SOOOO good.    The cast, the acting, set design, cinematography, dialogue, etc etc etc are great.   The story is wonderful and inspiring.

One of the through-lines in the film is this cake.    At the beginning of the story, Walter’s sister Odessa delivers him one on his birthday.  His favorite.  Made by his mother (the wonderful Shirley MacLaine).   Later in the story the cake comes up again relating to Sean Penn’s character (who is perfectly cast), Sean O’Connell who is the impetus for Walter to go on an adventure.   Walter takes this cake with him.

This really is a unique cake.   It’s flourless, gluten free and has whole Clementines in it.  Skin and all.   It’s super easy to make and is delicious.  Based on the Nigella Lawson recipe.

Clementine Cake


  • 375 grams clementines (approximately 5 small)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup (225 grams) white sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups (250 grams) ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Butter and line an 8 or 9 inch springform pan with parchment.
  2. Poke each clementine 3 or 4 times with a knife.   Put the clementines in a bowl with a microwave safe cover or plastic wrap.  Cook on high for 3-4 minutes. Cool slightly then dump the clementines (whole) in a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. In large bowl beat eggs and sugar until light colored and doubled in volume (about 5 minutes)
  4. Add in chopped clementines and mix well.  Then add ground almonds and baking power and mix until combined.
  5. Pour mixture into pan and bake for about 45 minutes (when a skewer will come out clean).
  6. Cool in the pan on a rack.   Once cake is cold, remove from pan and pull off any parchment.
  7. Glaze and add candied clementines to decorate.


  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 cup clementine juice
  1. Mix everything in a bowl adjusting clementine juice and sugar to make a loose but thick glaze


  • 3 clementines
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
    1. Slice clementines very thinly.
    2. Put sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat.   Stir until sugar is dissolved.
    3. Add clementine slices and simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes.
    4. Pull clementines from sugar mixture and place on parchment or silpat until cool.

Clementine Cake

90 Responses to “Walter Mitty Clementine Cake”

  1. Janine Gaines says:

    Was just flicking through the channels and came across Walter Mitty. I’ve never seen the movie, but from these comments I must next time it comes on. I’m dying to try this cake. I have a daughter that is allergic to nuts, is there an alternative to the recipe?

    • cathymerenda says:

      Firstly, you really need to see the film. It’s fantastic and inspiring and beautiful and the music is incredible. As far as an alternate to almond meal, you could use wheat flour but the cake will not be as moist. But it should work.

  2. […] I try to minimize food waste.  So my tip is to either use the almond pulp by throwing it into smoothies or mixing it into your oatmeal — or use it for baking!  All you have to do is spread it out on a baking sheet and dehydrate it on low heat until dry.  If desired, you can blend the dehydrated almond meal in the blender before using it for baking.  Try using it in this delicious Walter Mitty Clementine Cake recipe! […]

  3. […] used this recipe from Cathy Merenda (who, it turns out, actually works at the studio that made the film, so I think this is about as […]

  4. Brian says:

    After seeing the movie I had to make this cake. Maded it for our weekly family supper and it was GREAT!!

  5. cptn Dan Gerald says:

    Cathy, moved by your words/work, regarding this film. Your so right, Sean Penn was perfecto, as were the others. Cathy, igniting my passion for the visual, you’ve succeeded! Inspired by your poetic post…Great ethereal link, as well, with the Goldwyn’s, Sr to Jr. Steve and, I on our way to Trader’s tomorrow for the almond flour, gonna make this recipe for our dock mate Stephanie. We three are seeing Birdman tomorrow, in Berkeley. Carlos Castaneda would say “our lives are not our own”. Thanks again, Dan & Steve+pack aboard the Noble Vei-Benicia CA

  6. Clymentine says:

    Anyone tried to glaze cake with cream cheese instead of sugar?

  7. […] So, I looked around online for a recipe – and there are a lot of clementine cakes recipes out there. Here’s one of the wonderful things about clementine cake – without altering the recipe at all it’s gluten-free. Amazing!!! This type of orange cake has roots in Mediterranean cultures, including Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and Sephardic Jew. It is a surprisingly moist and simply delicious cake. I’ve based this recipe on a combination of two recipes that I found – Clementine Cake by Nigella Lawson and Walter Mitty Clementine Cake by Cathy Merenda. […]

  8. Lara Chapman says:

    I think there is a typo in the glaze as it calls for “1/2 cup clementine juice” when it probably should have said “juice from 1/2 a clementine”.

  9. Natalie Esquivel says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. Walter Mitty is my son’s favorite movie and we feel as inspired by it and as fond of it as you are. We decided to look and see if there was a recipe for the cake so that we could start a New Year’s tradition of making this cake to remind us of the movie, the character and the message.
    We were thrilled to find your connection and recipe!
    Thanks again for taking the time.

  10. Robin says:

    Hi! I saw the movie ( And loved it), and it reminded me that I had printed it out about 10 years ago, after seeing Nigella Lawson on Good Morning America…but had forgotten all about it without actually making it!
    So I actually found my original recipe but wanted to ask if it could be made without the peels since they’re not organic (since I think it’d be a little healthier). I do have some organic orange peel I can add. Would that work, and if so, do you think I should boil the clementines for less than 2 hours?

    • cathymerenda says:

      I wouln’t make it without peel. You could substitute orange peel but part of the flavor and texture of the cake is from the peel. I’m sure you can boil for an hour and it would work. Just remember to drain well.

  11. Clementine says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I adore Secret Life and thought Ben Stiller did such an excellent job, the whole thing has such a good feel to it and it’s lovely to hear it was like that on set too. I’ve been thinking about that Clementine Cake for months and I’m stoked its GF and movie authentic!

  12. Eddie Renz says:

    Okay, this may sound like a silly question, but do you leave the peel on the clementines and then put them in the microwave and then blend them peel and all? That boggles my mind a little bit so I am just asking for clarification. Thanks!

  13. Is there any way that one could use a mixer or blender rather than a food processor? Thanks!! I am a huge fan of this movie (I have memorized every line) and I, myself and a photographer so I can relate. I have been looking for a recipe for this cake forever, and I finally found the perfect one!! I look forward to making this cake!

  14. Jennifer says:

    I LOVE that you had first hand experience with this movie. It is so incredibly wonderful!!! And I LOVE IT that you’ve provided this simple and beautiful recipe! I just told my hubs today that I want to buy this movie so I can have this sweet inspiration whenever I need! And the cake when I need it too!
    Peace, love, and bright blessings to you!!!

  15. Mary says:

    This is how you spell Shirley MacLaine. Is it too late?

  16. tina says:

    Does anyone know if you can substitute mandarin oranges? I’ve never seen a clementine up here in BC, Canada. At least where I am at! Really want to make this!


  18. Nydia Shipman says:

    Hello Cathy!
    So, my almost 3 year old is obsessed with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. We watch it almost every night. Her birthday is Nov 1 and my husband and I thought it would be cool to give her a Walter Mitty themed birthday. We don’t really believe in parties for super little kids so we aren’t having a blowout but we will be having our parents and siblings over. We would love to do the cake and are trying to think of other special things to do that day. My daughter is a sporty girl so a skateboard and remote control helicopter are just some of the ideas we have but I would love to pick your brain. If you would be so kind as to respond here or e-mail me directly I would REALLY love it!
    Thanks and wonderful blog!

    • cathymerenda says:

      Since the essence of the film is about Walter getting out of his comfort zone and finding himself you could do a scavenger hunt just for her. Each found clue would have a gift and another clue to get to the next clue. Just an idea! Oh and the cake would make a great birthday cake!

      • Nydia Shipman says:

        Cathy! That’s an amazing idea!!!! I love it. Thank you so much. I am excited about the cake – not sure I can hold off until November to make it. I didn’t realize it is flour free. Now I love the idea of it even more because I try to be gluten free as much as I can. Thanks again for your input – I love your blog!!!

  19. SS says:

    Can I use mandarine oranges since clementines aren’t in season yet

  20. […] out if there was such a thing. Turns out, not only there is, but there is even a Walter Mitty Clementine cake.  It’s easy to make and even gluten-free because it’s made with almond flour. It […]

  21. Renie says:

    This cake was delicious but a tad too sweet. I didn’t have a springform so I used an 8″ round cake pan and the middle was slightly underdone but the top was brown. The almond cake itself was super delicious but next time I will reduce the sugar or substitute milk for the juice in the icing to contrast the flavors and cut the sweetness. Other than cloyingly sweet, it’s a great recipe that would accompany coffee or tea well!

  22. Julie Baguley says:

    This is most certainly a hit! It was really fun to make as well. I just recently purchased a vitamix, so the preparation was significantly cut down. Thank you for the wonderful recipe, I will be using it for a long time.

  23. Albatross says:

    I love this movie. The fun part was having the movie come out when we already had a trip planned to Iceland. The second fun part was watching the movie on the in-flight entertainment on the way to Iceland. Now I just got the DVD for Father’s Day. I love the extras. The only thing I would have liked would have been a director’s commentary track.

    Thanks for the recipe I’ll have to try it!

  24. Robin says:

    the cake sounds really awesome – will have to try. must say tho i much prefer the original movie.. Danny Kaye will always be Walter Mitty to me.

  25. Nita says:

    This cake was delicious!!! I only used 1 cup of sugar and it was plenty sweet! I think I’ll beat use 3/4 cup next time though. It was an awesome treat for my family to dig in after just watching the movie too!! Smelled so good in my kitchen as well! :)

  26. Selah Guerrero says:

    Hello, loved the movie and I seriously want to try this cake! Only problem is that clementines are no longer in season :( Can I substitute tangerines for the clementines?

  27. fidalgoman says:

    I didn’t see the movie in the theaters but have watched the DVD half a dozen times so far. I agree it was cast well and all the characters fit their rolls.

    Really great movie IMHO and the humor was fantastic.

    By the way I found this website via Clementine Cake.

  28. […] cake, that got him through Afghanistan and joined the dots when he was in Greenland. This Clementine Cake from Cathy Merenda looks delish, […]

  29. […] cake, that got him through Afghanistan and joined the dots when he was in Greenland. This Clementine Cake from Cathy Merenda looks delish, […]

  30. Kristin says:

    Made the cake today and it was fabulous! Thank you :). We love the movie and have an abundance of tangerines on our tree!

    Thanks for the Trader Joe’s tip. Almond Meal was $12 at Whole Foods versus $5 at TJ’s.

  31. […] Ground Control to Clementine Cake […]

  32. […] meal) cake based on Nigella Lawson’s recipe. Read more about this cake and the movie from Cathy Merenda’s blog, who worked in the Walter Mitty studio.  Given that this cake is a no-grain sweet treat, my […]

  33. Finn says:

    This looks lovely, but I have a couple of questions about the almonds. I apologize in advance for being dense. First, the recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups ground almonds, so the almonds should measure that amount after being ground…any idea how many almonds that is (3 cups, 4 cups?)? Second, are these raw, skinned almonds?

    • cathymerenda says:

      Hi – I actually purchased almond meal (at Trader Joes) so I don’t know how many cups of almonds it takes. I do know that they are raw, UN-skinned almonds. – Cathy

    • Chris says:

      Just made this and it was the best cake I’ve ever baked! It took two 6 oz bags of slivered almonds, ground, to reach 2 1/4 cups. I might try to cut back on the sugar a little just to push the calories down- because I could not stop eating it!!

  34. […] J’ai découvert ce gâteau dans le film “Le vie rêvée de Walter Mitty” (qui, cela dit en passant m’a bien plu, en particulier pour les paysages Islandais qui donnent vraiment envie de faire ses bagages et de partir à l’aventure) et j’ai donc décidé de me mettre aux fourneaux pour tenter de reproduire le fameux gâteau de la maman de Walter. J’ai donc cherché une recette sur internet et je l’ai trouvée ici : […]

  35. Cafe Beach says:

    Love love love the movie! Its adorable with the sweetest ending ever! And the cake, of course we have to make the cake! And its flourless…for those of us on GF diets! Thank you so much for the movie, for the cake. Cafe Beach

  36. ZeBlackRider says:


    Thanks again for your very good recipe, I’ve made it 5 times (exactly the same number of times I’ve watched the movie for now) ^_^
    My colleagues have appreciate the cake.

    I’ve proposed your recipe on this french site :

    I will tell you when it will be published.

    Personally, I made the cake without the glaze, because it’s too sweet.

  37. Christy says:

    I completely adored the movie (saw it 7 times in the theater, a record for me) and was really curious about this cake and excited to find a recipe that didn’t seem too complicated… I actually have made it twice now; the first time it was good, but not fantastic, and I realized that it was because I was using somewhat bitter clementines. I made it a second time a week later with sweeter ones and it came out beautifully. I actually couldn’t believe how good it was. The fact that it’s gluten free is a huge bonus, too! Thanks so much for posting this recipe!

  38. john doe says:

    I absolutely loved the movie and the minute I finished watching I started digging the web searching for a recipe for this cake I never heard of before. I just made it and I must say I’m astounded how quick, simple and full of flavor it is. Thank you!

  39. Ralph says:

    Saw a newspaper (Stamford (CT) Advocate) on this cake and thought I’d give it a try since we had plenty of Clementines. Very simple to make. Smelled and tasted delicious, especially with the glaze. Thanks for sharing.

    Question: The original recipe calls for simmering the clementines in hot water for 2 hours (you microwave it). What’s the purpose of doing that?

  40. ZeBlackRider says:

    Thanks for the recipe.
    Unfortunately, I had not enough sugar for the glaze :-(
    But I will do the cake another time, because it’s so good ^_^

  41. margaret says:

    I made this with flour and 2 tsp almond extract and it came out too heavy. I made it a 2nd time just as directed and much better. Tastes like marmalade. thanks for sharing this recipe i loved the movie.

  42. Hatchi says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I saw the movie, loved it, and needed to try the cake. I was mainly worried that the movie had hyped it up too much, but it was so perfect! It was made even better since I was able to share it with my gluten-free parents!

  43. Lexlex says:

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty captured my heart almost immediately. My husband and I saw it on New Years Day and could not have imagined a better movie to set the tone for a great new year. It’s a fantastic film on its own but the amazing soundtrack just sets it over the top. Walter Mitty has quickly made its way into my top 10 favorite movies of all time.

    Also, my hubby’s been asking me to bake him clementine cake ever since so we’ll see; it’s in the oven right now.

  44. Tess says:

    I saw the movie today. I was hesitant to go because I adore the Danny Kaye version, but my sister recommended it, so I went. I love it. It is charming, fun, and uplifting. Not to mention adventurous, brave and creative. Bravo to everyone involved in making it.

  45. Viki says:

    I just saw the film last night and LOVED it – I was also curious about trying out the cake, which I have never heard of before seeing the movie. Since I have a tree in the backyard, it seems like a great way to utilize the fruit. The candied slices on top are a delight! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  46. Rachel says:

    Do you know if I can substitute the ground almonds for cake flour?

    • cathymerenda says:

      I haven’t tried it but I would use 3 eggs, 2 teaspoons of baking powder and add 1/2 cup of butter.

      • margaret says:

        I tried this method too, but added more water as the batter was too thick. I liked this one the best as it tasted more like tangerine bread.

  47. Anne says:

    Can you be more specific about now you made the glaze? I tried mixing it together but gotta e with clumps of butter floating in it. The cake is delicious, though – and thank you for the microwave tip. I’d never have made it if I had to boil them for two hours!

    • Anne says:

      Oops – meant “got a glaze” not “gotta e”!

    • cathymerenda says:

      The butter has to be real soft, not melted. You can mix with a spoon or if you want you can use a mixer. This is just basic butter cream but with less butter and more liquid!

  48. […] will see. Currently feeling it out. But, I won’t make any decisions, until after I make the Walter Mitty Clementine Cake I have been dreaming […]

  49. Sara Marie says:

    any suggestions on what to do with the clementines if you don’t have a microwave? I live overseas and don’t know anybody who has a microwave ;-) thanks!! so excited to make this cake!!!

    • cathymerenda says:

      The original recipe calls for the clementines to be boiled in water for 2 hours, then cool and dry them. I don’t normally cook with a microwave oven but in this case the cake is less “wet” but the boiling technique works!

  50. Stephani says:

    I just watched the movie for the second time! It really is THAT good. And that cameis such a constant theme, I have to try it. From Iceland to Afghanistan, Clementine cake looks like a winner!

  51. Lauren says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! My daughter and I saw the movie last night and loved every minute of it. My daughter is 15 and she said the movie inspired her to seek out an adventure. It inspired me to want to encourage her towards adventure and to bake this cake. We eat clementines by the pound this time of year and are so grateful for another way to enjoy them! Cheers!

  52. Steven says:

    My wife and I saw eh movie on New Year’s Eve, and the Cake caught my attention I think it’s perfect. My wife is leaving town for the day tomorrow and this is just the right project for my 4 year old and me to make for her. She is a gluten free eater, can’t wait!! Thanks again!

  53. maria says:

    i just saw the movie and came right home to look for this recipe just to find out that i have eaten it before. this is very popular in Spain. it is made slightly different without the frosting but with candied oranges and cherries, and the taste of sugar is not overwhelming.

    loved the movie, love the cake. will try this version. thanks

  54. […] Also, it introduced me to a delectable dessert called a Clementine Cake.  I found a recipe on this site.  Very sweet and citrusy (I think that word is made up, it also looks misspelled which is odd […]

  55. Scott H says:

    I had to google ‘clementine cake’ after watching Walter Mitty last night and craving it ever since I saw it on screen! I will be using this recipe in the very near future and give it a try. The pictures looks amazing! Thanks.

  56. Carol H says:

    Hi Cathy, Do you peel the clementines (that go into the cake) or do you process the peel and all? Thanks.

    • cathymerenda says:

      This cake uses the entire clementine – peel and all. So, no you do not peel the clementines process the entire thing. In the end it’s sort of like using marmalade in a cake.

  57. Laura says:

    Thanks for posting this. I agree with your points about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It is an absolute brilliant gem of a movie and the cast could not be better. The cake stole a few scenes and piqued my interest. I will make it for New Years!

  58. Diana says:

    Great pictures! I have an italian blog that matches movies and recipes.. I’m working on a post about the secret life of walter Mitty and I’ll link you. See you soon!!

  59. I can’t wait to see the movie. Love the clementine on this cake.

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