This is a very common site here in Andalucia at the moment. The iconic orange trees laden with ripe fruit are everywhere. We took a right where we normally go straight on, on our walk today and came across a gorgeous lush green valley where these mandarin trees were growing. We followed the steep path down to the river bed where the dog had a drink and we had a rest before the the long walk back uphill…
There was a different microclimate down near the river to what we are used to. A different smell of damp leaves and there was even some diamond-like dew on the leaves. I haven’t seen dew since I left England and was really amazed with the diamonds….
Even the flowers are mandarin coloured its like the whole valley is bathed in lush green with highlights of tangerine..
The mandarins are being given away or, even worse, rotting on the ground. We have a mountain of them in our fruit bowl and although they are sweet and delicious as they are I wanted to try a Nigella recipe I had seen for a clementine cake where you boil the whole fruit and then blitz it up with the rest of the ingredients. This recipe uses 4 or 5 clementines/mandarins and as we have many more I wanted to make a mandarin syrup to drizzle over it so it soaks into the cake to make it really moist….
This cake is made using ground almonds rather than flour which makes it even more moist and gluten free.
Mandarin Drizzle Cake
adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe
- 4 or 5 mandarins/clementines (about 375gr total weight)
- 6 eggs
- 225gr sugar
- 25o gr ground almonds
- 1 heaped tsp baking powder
For the syrup
- 110gr caster sugar
- 110 ml mandarin juice
Put the mandarins in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook over a lowish heat for 2 hours. Keep an eye on them and add more water if necessary. (Don’t do what I did and leave the water to dry out while on the computer and burn the bottom of the pan & the mandarins!!)
Drain and leave to cool slightly then cut in half and remove the pips and any green stem bits on the outside. Put the halved mandarins(peel & everything) into a food processor and blitz. You can then add all the other cake ingredients to the food processor and blitz together. Preheat oven to 190 degrees.
Butter a 21 cm springform cake tin and put a circle of greaseproof paper on the bottom. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Have a circle of foil ready to cover the top after about 40 minutes to stop it burning. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool for about 10 minutes on a rack.
Meanwhile make your syrup. Put the sugar & mandarin juice in a small saucepan over a low ish heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. Take a cocktail stick or wooden skewer and make lots of holes in the cake that go right to the bottom.
Spoon the syrup, carefully,all over the top of the cake letting it soak in until you have used all of the syrup. When the cake is cold you can remove it from the tin.
This is a deliciously moist cake with an intense mandarin flavour and aroma. Serve, as it is, with coffee or with some ice cream or creme fraiche as a dessert…