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Mandarin Cake

Your new favourite cake! This zesty 1930's favourite is a treat today.
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mandarin cake

This Mandarin Cake is deliciously soft and zesty, transforming the humble mandarin into something quite sensational.

Covered in a mandarin glaze and topped with fresh mandarin segments and a sprinkling of zest, this cake is a perfect dessert for those cooler months when mandarin trees are heavy with fruit.

mandarin cake

Mandarin Cake Recipe

Like most of the recipes here at Cooking with Nana Ling, this one goes back a bit.

Indeed, this one goes way, way back to the 1930s.

During this time, Nana Ling often entered her local paper’s Prize Recipe Competition. So I’ve scoured the papers around this time looking for more of her recipes.

And sometimes I come across recipes that weren’t authored by Nana Ling, but do sound quite lovely.

With mandarin season kicking into full swing here in Australia, a competition involving the best mandarin recipes piqued my interest.

There were lots of weird and wonderful mandarin recipes, but it was Mandarin Cake that was the popular choice with entrants, according to the paper’s editor.

And it’s the Mandarin Cake that sounded particularly delicious to me.

The recipes are below, but I did adjust the ratios a little so please keep scrolling for the tested and tweaked recipe at the bottom of the post.

mandarin cake recipe

How to choose mandarins

In Australia, mandarins are in season from May until September each year, though they are often available a month or two earlier and later.

The most popular variety in stores and in home gardens is the Imperial.

Imperial mandarins started off as a chance hybrid back in 1890, and have continued to grow and grow in poularity since.

Citrus Australia says Imperial mandarins have “a good balance of sweet and juicy, as well as a thin and easy-to-peel skin” and “a low amount of seeds on the inside depending on the specific variety.”

To choose the best and juiciest mandarins, look at the puffiness of the skin (it should be a little puffy but not too soft) and feel the weight (heavier means juicier).

mandarins

Making Mandarin Cake

To make this delicious cake, you’ll need 4 mandarins along with:

  • plain flour
  • butter
  • caster sugar
  • eggs
  • milk
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • icing sugar.

Precise quantities for the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

You’ll also need to grease and line a round cake tin (24.5cm x 6.5cm approx) and preheat your oven to moderate.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Next, beat the eggs and add to the mixture one at a time, beating after each addition.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to the mixture alternately with the milk, stirring to combine.

Juice one of the mandarins and add one tablespoon of the juice to the mixture.

Add the grated rind from three of the mandarins and stir to combine.

TIP: When finely grating mandarin, any pieces that are too difficult to grate can be chopped finely using a sharp knife instead.

Pour your Mandarin Cake mixture into the tin and smooth the top gently with a spatula.

mandarin cake method

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked.

You’ll know your cake is cooked when it’s a golden colour and the top of the cake feels firm when you gently press with your fingertips.

Allow the cake to cool for about 15 minutes and then remove it from the tin.

While the cake is cooling, peel and segment one of the mandarins for decorating. Remove as much pith and seed as possible.

If you’re struggling to segment the mandarin, read this great article on the topic.

Once the cake is completely cool, combine icing sugar with as much mandarin juice as is necessary to create a runny glaze.

Pour icing over the cake and allow to drizzle over the edges. Place mandarin segments in a circular pattern on top of cake. Finally, grate some of the remaining mandarin rind (finely) over the glaze.

mandarin cake icing

Mandarin Cake FAQs

Q. How do I store my Mandarin Cake?

Store the cake in the fridge and allow to reach room temperature before serving.

Q. What mandarins do I use in this recipe?

This recipe has been tested using fresh Imperial Mandarins.

You could, however, try using other varieties and even tinned mandarins. Please comment below if you’ve tried this recipe using these other types of mandarins.

Q. How do I segment mandarins?

Read this great article on the topic.

Q. What else can I do with mandarins?

Besides being a great snack just as they come packaged off the tree, you could also whip up a batch of our lovely Mandarin Jam.

Q. Do you have other old-fashioned cake recipes?

I certainly do! Check out the recipes for Sultana Cake, Coconut Cake, Nan’s Sponge Cake, Cherry Cake, Pumpkin Cake and the rest of the Cooking with Nana Ling cake collection.

mandarin cake

Mandarin Cake

Your new favourite cake! This zesty 1930's favourite is a treat today.
4.50 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian
Keyword: mandarin cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 90kcal

Equipment

  • round cake tin (24.5cm x 6.5cm approx)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour (300 grams)
  • 125 grams butter
  • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar (310 grams)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (125 ml)
  • 4 mandarins (375 grams approx)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to moderate (180 degrees celsius, fan-forced).
  • Grease and line the round cake tin (24.5cm x 6.5cm approx).
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat eggs and add to the mixture one at a time, beating after each addition.
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to the mixture alternately with the milk, stirring to combine.
  • Juice one of the mandarins and add one tablespoon of the juice to the mixture.
  • Add the finely grated rind from three of the mandarins and stir to combine.
  • Pour mixture into tin and smooth the top gently with a spatula.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked.
  • Allow to cool for about 15 minutes and then remove from the tin.
  • While the cake is cooling, peel and segment one of the mandarins for decorating. Remove as much pith and seed as possible.
  • Once the cake is completely cool, combine icing sugar with 2 tablespoons of warmed mandarin juice (or as much as is necessary to create a runny glaze).
  • Pour icing over the cake and allow to drizzle over the edges. Place mandarin segments in a circular pattern on top of cake. Finely grate some of the remaining mandarin rind over the glaze.
  • Store the cake in the fridge and allow to reach room temperature before serving.

Notes

  1. You’ll need about 4 Imperial Mandarins (or equivalent) for this recipe.
  2. Mandarins that are a little puffy-skinned but not too soft are best to get the balance for easy grating and easy peeling.
  3. When finely grating mandarin, any pieces that are too difficult to grate can be chopped finely using a sharp knife instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 259IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

Recipe Rating




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