Winter citrus is the ultimate winter bounty and this year I managed to find some of the sweetest mandarins I have ever tasted. This Mandarin cake is all about the goodness that the winter citrus has to offer you. Mandarins are smaller and flatter than oranges with a thinner, but loose skin which is easy to peal. They tend to be sweeter than oranges as well, with less acidity. Mandarins originated in China, but their cultivation has spread across the world making them easily available in most produce sections- usually when they are seasonal.
The three main categories that this fruit falls in are Mandarins, Tangerines and Satsumas which some believe mostly depends on their origin and the type of tree, rather than the fruit itself. This means if you can’t find Mandarins, either of the other variety will make a good substitute (including Clementines, which is a cross between Mandarins and Sweet Oranges). Many grocers and growers however label the Tangerine based on its physical appearance, as a deeper orange fruit which is slightly more tart.
I reinforced that sweet citrus flavour of the Mandarins with some orange blossom water,. This was complemented by the honey used in the cake, locally sourced of course. Enjoy with an afternoon cup of tea!
- Honey Cake : Layers of fluffy honey cake made with local BC honey
- Mandarin Curd: the sweetest and silkiest of the citrus curd, the mandarin curd is perfect with honey cake. If you are not a fan of mandarin, you can try blood orange or grapefruit.
- Orange Blossom mascarpone frosting: light, floral mascarpone frosting to fill and frost the cake. The floral orange blossom scent works perfectly in the cake.
- Tiny mandarins decorated on the cake add another whole level of whimsical fun. This is really optional but so easy and fun! Trust me you want this on the cake 🙂
Cake pans used are Fat Daddio’s 6″ pans
Mandarin cake: Layers of fluffy honey cake filled with silkiest mandarin curd, orange blossom mascarpone frosting and tiny mandarins
- 4 L Egg Yolks
- 115 gm Salted Butter 1 stick
- 100 gm Granulated Sugar ½ cup
- 125 ml Mandarin Juice ½ cup
- 1 tbsp Corn Starch
- 2-3 tsp Mandarin Zest
Honey Layer Cake (3 x 6")
- 150 gm Salted Butter 1¼ stick
- 60 ml Canola oil ¼ cup
- 200 gm Granulated Sugar 1 cup
- 4 L Eggs
- 50 gm Honey about 2 ½ tablespoon
- 240 gm All purpose Flour 2 cups
- 2 tsp Baking powder
Orange Blossom Mascarpone Frosting
- 250 gm Mascarpone Cheese 1 cup
- 50 gm Cream cheese ¼ cup
- 30 gm Salted Butter ¼ stick
- 150 gm Icing Sugar 1½ cup
- 120 ml Heavy Cream/ Whipping Cream ½ cup
- 2 tsp Orange Blossom Water
- orange and green food colouring
- 75 gm Orange Blossom Mascarpone Frosting
Zest the mandarins and juice the mandarin before you start the curd.
In a glass bowl, add all the ingredients together. Place the bowl on a pan of simmering water and gently whisk it until it thickens.
You can check with a culinary thermometer for 170°F / 75-80° C , this is the temperature for the curd to set.
Once the curd is thickened, using a sieve strain the curd to remove the zest and any eggy bits that might be in the curd. This way you can ensure silky smooth mandarin curd.
Chill the mandarin curd in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to overnight. Use it when you are ready to assemble the cake.
Honey Layer Cake (3 x 6")
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180° C. Grease and line the baking tin with parchment paper.
In a bowl, fitted with a paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Add the butter, oil and sugar. Cream until light, fluffy and smooth. It should take about 3-4 minutes on medium speed.
Add and beat one egg at a time. Add the honey into the bowl.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, mix thoroughly until fully incorporated.
Divide the batter into 3 baking tins and bake for about 20-22 minutes or until golden brown and fluffy.
Once baked remove from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack. If you are not going to complete the cake within 24hrs. I would suggest you to wrap it with a cling film and freeze it for until 3 months. You can thaw overnight in the fridge before assembly.
Orange Blossom Mascarpone Frosting
In a bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment on a stand mixer. Add the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, butter. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl.
Whisk all the ingredients together on low speed for a minute until they are all partially incorporated.
Increase the speed on the mixer to medium and slowly add the heavy/ whipping cream into the bowl.
Whisk for 3-4 minutes until its fully incorporated, fluffy and thick enough to spread using a spatula. Add the orange blossom water and whisk again.
Chill the frosting until the cake is ready to be assembled.
In 2 small bowls, divide the separated Orange Blossom Mascarpone Frosting to ⅔ rd and ⅓ rd portions into the bowls.
Add the orange food colouring into the ⅔rd portion of the Orange Blossom Mascarpone Frosting. Add green food colouring to the ⅓ rd of the Orange Blossom Mascarpone Frosting.
Transfer the orange coloured frosting into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip frosting (size 8 Wilton tips). Transfer the green coloured frosting into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip frosting (size 4 Wilton tips)
Place a small dollop of frosting on the base of a cake board or cake plate. Place the bottom layer of the cake on the cake board.
Using a small offset spatula, spread the frosting thin on the cake. Pipe the frosting around the edges of the cake layer and make a dam with the frosting.
Add spoonfuls of mandarin curd in the middle of the frosting dam. Repeat the same for the middle layer and top.
Using the same frosting, do a thin crumb coat around the cake. Chill the cake for 30-45 minutes in the refrigerator.
Once the cake and the frosting is chilled, using an offset spatula you can add more frosting around the cake.
Using the orange colour frosting, pipe small blobs around the cake to represent the mandarins. Pipe small stems and leaves using the green coloured frosting on the top of the orange coloured frosting.
Enjoy the goodness of the winter citrus with a huge slice of this delightful cake.
(Please note that the frosting layer is not too thick on the cake, if you wish to have thicker layer I would suggest making another half portion of the frosting)
If you fancy other citrus cakes, check out these cakes