I credit this mandarin cake recipe to my friend David, who made it from a Stephanie Alexander orange cake recipe, which she credits to Claudia Roden’s middle eastern orange cake! David had the brilliant idea to try it with Mandarins and it worked! My variation is simply in the style, as I prefer it baked in a shallow pan and served in finger size pieces.
This is a very moist, slightly bitter cake for the grownups, not the sugar freak children. It doesn’t really need an accompaniment, though a dollop of cream or a scoop of dark chocolate mousse on the side would work nicely!
6 Mandarins (home grown please – store bought ones can have a waxy coating)
250g Almond Meal
6 Eggs (always use eggs at room temperature when baking)
1.25 cups Sugar
1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder
Preparation – Equipment
Butter an oblong pan, and line the base with baking paper.
I use a 30cm long pyrex baking dish for this recipe – as you want the mixture to be about 5cm deep to get it to cook evenly.
Get your food processor out.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade (you don’t need to turn it on straight away – just before the mandarins have finished simmering)
Place the mandarins in a large enough pan, so that they are touching each other but are all on one layer at the bottom. Add enough cold water so they are just covered.
Put on the lid, and simmer over medium heat for 90 minutes. Check every 30 minutes and add a little more water if needed.
As a bonus – your house will smell freakin’ fabulous while this is happening!
After 90 minutes, take them off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Then remove one at a time, giving a light squeeze so the water goes back in the pot, and place onto a cutting board.
Cut each one in half, and then using the BACK of the knife, scrape around and remove any seeds with your fingers.
Once the seeds are out – scrape the whole lot into your food processor. Yes, including the rind!
Tip in the almond meal, the eggs, baking powder and the sugar.
Whizz the whole lot up until the mandarin pieces are finely chopped and the mixture is evenly mixed. Fun right!
Using a spatula, scrape your mixture into the prepared baking dish and pop it into the oven.
It will take between 40 minutes and 1 hour to cook, it really depends how deep the mix is. If it still looks a bit wet in the middle, just keep giving it an extra 5 minutes and check the progress.
Allow it to cool right down while still in the baking pan, then turn it out onto a cutting board or platter and cut into fingers to serve.
What about the mandarin water they cooked in? Well, you can either tip this out…..or allow it to cool completely and put it into a spray bottle as a nice little homemade air freshener.
I have tried reducing it down with sugar to make a syrup for the cake, but it is too bitter and doesn’t work.