We REALLY enjoy visiting local farms and picking our own fruit. At the moment, there are delicious, juicy and sweet mandarins and oranges to pick. The thing is that there is no point driving 45-75mins to just pick 1kg so we end up with about 8-15kg. But then there is the challenge of finding ways to enjoy them so we aren’t wasting any! That’s where making mandarin cake, or orange cupcakes, comes in very handy. And the best bit is that they are oh so delicious, super easy to make and your home will smell just divine!!
When looking for a cake recipe to use up the mandarins we had just picked from Watkins Family Farm, I came across Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake. I hadn’t heard of clementines before – turns out they are a hybrid between mandarins and oranges. So I adapted her recipe for mandarins, which are thinner skinned and sweeter then clementines (I imagine). I have also since made this cake with oranges from Schofields Orange Orchard. I do however make them as cupcakes – more transportable and easier for the kids to eat. And this recipe is gluten free, if you use a gluten free baking powder or omit it from the recipe.
This recipe makes 24 cupcakes or one 21cm round cake.
- 4 medium mandarins, or 2 large oranges (or 3-4 small oranges)
- 6 eggs
- 250g almond meal
- 1/2-1 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
The ‘hardest’ and longest part of this recipe is boiling the mandarins or oranges for 1-2hrs. The rest I get my kids to do! (Well with a little bit of help from me.) And if the boiling time puts you off, just remember you are well rewarded for your efforts with delicious, sweet smells filling your home!
- Place your mandarins or oranges in a large pot of cold water. Bring to the boil and leave to gently boil (with the lid on so the pot doesn’t dry out) for 1 hour for mandarins and 2 hours for oranges. Make sure to check the water level and top up if its dropping. I sadly burnt a batch of mandarins once because the lid wasn’t on properly and they boiled dry.Now sit back and enjoy the smells!
- Remove the mandarins/ oranges from the water and leave to cool. I actually do this bit and then put the mandarins/ oranges in the fridge and then finish off the mandarin cake the next day.
- Cut open the mandarins/ oranges and remove the seeds.
- Place the boiled fruit in a food processor or blitz with a stick blender. At this point I imagine you could freeze the fruit.
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix (with an electric beater) until the ingredients are combined. NOTE: I vary the sugar depending on how sweet the fruit is. A safe point would be 3/4 cup of sugar.
- Spoon into 24 cupcake cases, or pour into a greased 21cm round cake tin.
- Cook the cupcakes for 20-25mins (depending on oven) and the cake for about 40mins. You will know they are ready when the top springs back when pressed or a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin. ENJOY!