I enjoy unwinding on a Sunday by baking. I always make at least one cake a week to cut up and freeze to take to work during the week. I have been making an orange version of this cake (see https://crichtonscoop.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/orange-machine/) a lot lately to take to work for my morning teas. Mandarins were on special at my local and I thought to change it up slightly and make this mandarin version. Like the orange version, it’s a tick in every box cake: very simple to make and tastes and looks impressive. This cake is from Bill Granger’s Best of Bill. It’s fabulous for many reasons:

  • makes the house smell great
  • few ingredients
  • easy to make and tastes impressive
  • doesn’t use many dishes
  • is gluten free

So without further ado:

mandarin and almond cake

3 mandarins, unpeeled and scrubbed

230 g (1 cup) caster sugar

6 eggs

230g (2 cups) ground almonds. These can be roasted before grounding if you like.


Put the mandarins in a medium sized saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours. Add water when necessary to keep the mandarins covered at all times.
This is what makes the house smell fab! If I need to go out, I turn off the stove and leave the mandarins in the hot water. Sometimes you may need to put back on the heat for a bit. Your aim is to cook the rind so it’s a little tender which reduces it’s bitterness.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Grease (or line with 2 sheets of baking paper) a 24cm spring form pan.
Drain the mandarins and cool to room temperature.
While the mandarins are cooling, ground the almonds in the food processor. They don’t have to be too finely ground, some smallish chunks add a nice texture to the cake. Set aside.
Once cool, using your hands, split and remove any seeds and the part that once connected the mandarin to the stem if it hasn’t fallen off already.
Purée the mandarins (skins on) in the food processor.
Whisk sugar and eggs in a large bowl until combined. Add ground almonds and mandarin purée. Stir well.
Alternatively, for an even quicker version: you can ground the almonds in the food processor (if you want to keep some smallish chunks for texture – don’t finish the grounding process now as you whizz the machine two more times), don’t wait for mandarins to cool, cut and remove their pips and connector bit, whizz in the food processor with almonds and the sugar, follow with the eggs. Give a good mix.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Serve with natural yoghurt or whipped cream.
This cake is another good one that is quick to make and can be easily portioned, glad-wrapped and frozen for morning teas at work or school recesses.

Published by Zoe Crichton