Miracle Mandarin Syrup Cake
Looks good doesn’t it? That’s because it is! Simple to make, gluten free, tastes even better second day after baking. I know, right? So I might have been absent from the blog for a while, but I’ve come back with a goodie – this Mandarin Polenta Cake is divine! Deals with my ongoing obsession with polenta – tick. Uses up all those mandies that have sadly sunk to the bottom of the fruit bowl – tick. Makes use of those gorgeous eggs that my girls are making for me – tick.
I’m gonna keep this brief, because, let’s face it, you have done without my ramblings for two months and you just want a new recipe. I went looking for this recipe when I ended up with a bowl full of mandarins and boys who had suddenly decided that that was not going to be the fruit of choice this week. Is this just in my house? Anyway.. my friend Chris had made a gorgeous syrupy citrus cake for lunch a couple of months ago, but of course I could not find the recipe that I had begged her for, so googled. Finding a recipe that also dealt with the multiple packs of polenta in my pantry was a bonus. This is a Donna Hay recipe with only a few variations, so feel free to refer to the gourmet goddess herself instead.
Start with your mandarins. Five small to medium ones is about 400g – cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes until soft (Donna cooks hers for an hour – either she had bigger mandies or a stove that has a very low simmer point).
Drain and cool while you gather the rest of you ingredients, and grease and line a 20cm springform tin. Pop your mandarins into the large bowl of your food processor and give them a whiz. Add in the eggs, polenta, butter, almond meal, sugar, baking powder and vanilla paste and whiz until smooth. Too easy! Pour into the prepared tin. Cook in a moderately low oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out cleanly. Cool in the tin.
Juice some mandarins until you have 1/2 cup juice – combine with 1/2 cup caster sugar and stir over low heat until sugar melts. Simmer for a few minutes until reduced a little and syrupy. Free your beautiful cake from it’s tin and pour the syrup slowly and evenly over. This works best when the cake is warm but not too hot. That’s right Goldilocks – you’re looking for “just right”.
As you can see, I did this on a rack with a tray underneath. I then poured any excess syrup back over the cake – believe me, you do not want to miss any of this!
The second time I made this, I added in some toasted almonds on top, just to be fancy:
This cake is wonderfully moist, and the polenta prevents it from being too dense. Is it possible that it is even better the next day? As is typical in our house, there is always one piece left, so the chickens were pretty happy too. Enjoy!
- 400g of mandarins, washed
- 6 eggs
- 60g melted butter
- ⅔ cup polenta
- 1 cup almond meal1
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp vanilla paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- ½ cup mandarin juice
- ½ cup caster sugar, extra
- Toasted flaked almonds to serve (optional)
- Preheat oven to moderately low (150-160°C). Line a 20cm springform tin with baking paper.
- Cover mandarins with water and simmer for 40 minutes until soft. Remove from heat, drain and cool slightly.
- In the large bowl of a food processor, blend mandarins roughly. Add the rest of the cake ingredients and process until smooth. Pour into the prepared cake tin and pop into the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool slightly in the tin.
- Place juice and extra sugar in small pan and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for a few minutes until reduced slightly and syrupy. Remove cake from tin and place on rack over a tray. Pour syrup slowly over the warm cake.
- Top with toasted almonds if using. Serve with whipped cream
Macadamia meal would be a delicious substitute for the almond meal