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Recipe: Texas Citrus Rustic Cake

Ryan Garcia

May 16, 2022

Tangerines are notoriously popular in Texas, as the state provides the perfect growing conditions for this delicious citrus fruit. This particular fruit is more resistant to cold weather than other citrus varieties, which favor a warmer climate. Tangerines are sweeter, less sour, and ofttimes more flavorful than the common orange. As a result, they are commonly used to flavor products such as candies and pastries.

Owner of Wiseman House Chocolates in Hico, Kevin Wenzel has created a delightful recipe for a “Texas Citrus Rustic Cake”. This recipe was featured in Texas Monthly and uses ripe tangerines or tangalos, the latter being a tangerine-grapefruit hybrid citrus. 

The Texas Citrus Rustic Cake is a reminder for Kevin of his childhood in the 1970s, a time when he and his mom would get in the kitchen together to make orange candied pecans. 

Wenzel says the Texas Citrus Rustic Cake, despite containing no chocolate, has come to influence his chocolatey creations at Wiseman House Chocolates. How, you ask? Well, he claims that the cake places a special emphasis on flavor, rather than on sweetness, which is exactly what he wants from his chocolates. 

This cake is relatively simple to make. And all the ingredients you need can be easily found in your local supermarket. 



 Two small tangerines or tangelos, or one medium orange

One large lemon

6 ounces of raw almonds

2/3 cup of Texas olive oil

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1 cup of all-purpose flour

4 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt

1 ½ cups of granulated white sugar



Start by preheating the oven to 250° F. Add the lemon and tangerines to a pot, as well as enough water to cover the fruits. Simmer for 30 minutes to soften the citruses. Drain the water and let the fruit cool to room temperature. If you want to speed up the cooling process, you can pour cold water over the fruits. Remove the seeds and place the citruses and their skins in a food processor and process until the mixture turns smooth.


While processing the fruits, slowly add some Texas olive oil to make a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and set aside. Clean the food processor, as we will be using it for other mixtures.


Toast the raw almonds in the oven for 20 minutes. To check if they have toasted enough, you can break an almond in half and see if has a “toasty” color. Remove the toasted almonds from the oven and let them cool to room temperature.


Preheat the oven to 350° F and add the cooled almonds to a food processor. Pulse the nuts until they achieve a sand-like texture. Add the all-purpose flour and baking powder to a food processor and pulse again to combine all the ingredients.


Whisk the eggs with half a teaspoon of sea salt (or Himalayan pink salt) until they become foamy. Gradually add the white sugar, bit by bit, while whisking the mixture. Whisk until sugar has dissolved.


Then fold in the citrus paste and the flour mixture. Be careful not to overmix. Pour the mixture into a 10-inch springform pan (or two 5-inch springform pans). Depending on your oven, bake the cake(s) for around 45 minutes to one hour. You can tell when the cake is ready by poking a toothpick into the middle of the cake – if it comes out clean, it’s ready!


Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool until the sides pull away from the pan. The cake is more flavorful once it has cooled down. 


Time to try!

 The almonds give the cake its rustic texture, while the zingy lemon and tangerines add a strong citrus flavor to the bake.

 Unlike other recipes which overwhelm you with sweetness, this cake is wonderfully tangy – perfect for those who love cake but don’t like a sickly dessert. 

A flavor-packed bake, this Texas Citrus Rustic Cake is beautifully simple to prepare. And thanks to Kevin Wenzel sharing his recipe, we can all make it at home too. 


Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0
( 1 voted )
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