Also known as clementines, mandarins are a little understated in the citrus world I think. They’re not as big and impressive as an orange, not as glam as a grapefruit, and are without the universal appeal and appreciation that lemon and limes attract. But, the humble mandarin has a load of great qualities. Delicious. Portable. Easy to eat – I mean it’s like mother nature has pre-sliced this little delight for us and wrapped it in a gorgeous orange coat. Did I mention delicious? They also bring a little more excitement as a flavour than traditional orange.
The fact that they are in season right now (in Australia) is no accident. Mandarins are loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A. These two vitamins are major contributors to our immune system, improving our general immunity and also helping to reduce the severity and duration of colds. They also have a lovely amount of fibre, helping to keep our digestive system happy.
Mandarins are a delicious and slightly unexpected flavour in cooking and baking. I was super excited to come across a recipe for mandarin cake by the goddess herself Nigella Lawson, which I have adapted to make this lovely rendition. It’s gluten free, dairy free and gorgeously moist. It would work just as nicely with oranges if you prefer. I have also used some of Loving Earth’s chocolate to top this off. And because it is so wonderful and I love you all so much, after the recipe below I will let you know how you can win an entire box of 11 bars of their gorgeous raw, organic, fair-trade chocolate – wooo! Thank you Loving Earth for your generosity. And delicious chocolate!
Spiced Mandarin Cake with Super Simple Icing
3 large or 5 small mandarins (around 350g)
6 free range eggs
2 cups almond meal or ground almonds
1 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
For the icing
1 tin of coconut cream, full fat with no additives or emulsifiers
1/2 tsp maple syrup
50g good quality chocolate (I used Loving Earth Mandarin chocolate)
Firstly, put the tin of coconut cream in the fridge and leave for 4-6 hours, or overnight if you can. Doing this will allow the cream to separate from the water, forming a lovely thick layer of cream at the top half of the tin.
Place the mandarins in a saucepan, cover well with water and simmer for 2 hours.
Drain and remove the hard little stem nib (I just asked my husband what I should call that hard part where the mandarin attaches to the tree – we decided stem nib was the way forward – hope it makes sense).
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350F and grease a 22cm spring form tin. Alternatively, use two smaller tins as I have done here.
Once slightly cool, blend up the mandarins, skin pips and all, with a stick blender, or in a blender or food processor. I like using the stick blender for this recipe as it’s much less washing. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs for a good minute – again I use a stick blender. Add the coconut sugar and beat until well combined.
Stir in the almond meal, baking powder and spices, and transfer the mix to your baking tin/s.
Bake for around 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool slightly in the tin and then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the icing, remove the tin from the fridge without shaking. Open and scoop out the lovely cream that has formed at the top into a bowl. You can use the leftover water in smoothies or your breakfast. Whisk in the maple syrup and viola – done!
Once the cake is cool, coat in a thin layer of the coconut cream, and then top with melted chocolate. Enjoy!!
And here we have the chocolate in question! With it’s beautiful new packaging. To win this selection of 11 different flavours, all you need to do is comment below with your all time favourite chocolate flavour. The winner will be announced Tuesday evening (23rd June) so be sure to check back then to see if you are the lucky one. **COMPETITION CLOSED**
PLEASE NOTE: the winning prize can only be sent to an Australian address – sorry international friends. Good luck! x