Mandarin Syrup Cake

3:10 pm on 15 November 2013

This is an incredibly clever cake - it's gluten-free, dairy-free and has no added fat (no oil or butter), yet is as moist and delicious as cakes get. It uses whole fruit boiled until soft and then you blitz it up (skin, pith and all), which gives the cake its amazing mandarin flavour and texture. It keeps well for up to a week in the fridge, can be frozen, and can be eaten cold or warm.

(Serves 10 - 12)

Prep time: 10 minutes + 1 ½ hours to boil mandarins
Cook time: 1 hour



  • 330-370g mandarins (3-6 whole mandarins, depending on size)
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Juice of 1 mandarin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • natural unsweetened Greek yoghurt or crème fraîche to serve


1. Place whole mandarins in a large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Cover with a lid and boil gently for 1½ hours. Drain and allow mandarins to cool slightly.

2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 21cm round springform cake tin with baking paper. Remove the stem end of the mandarins, then cut in half and remove any pips. Place fruit (skin, pith, flesh and all) in a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Add all other cake ingredients and blitz until well combined.

3. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cover cake with tinfoil halfway through cooking time to avoid the top browning too much. Remove cake from oven and leave in the tin while you make the syrup.

4. Mix sugar, mandarin and lime juice together and pour over cake while warm. Allow cake to cool slightly before removing from tin. The cake is nice served warm or cold with Greek yoghurt or crème fraîche.

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

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