Since they are now in season, I decided to bake a cake with the fragrance of mandarins instead of, the more usual, orange zest. I replaced some of the sugar with soft brown sugar to give a more mellow flavour. The almonds work great and this cake is now on my favourites list.
- 2 cups bleached, all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 250 gr unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup soft brown sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 mandarin (clementine or other sweet variety), zest and juice (you will need 2 Tbs juice)
- 2/3 cup roughly chopped blanched and roasted almonds (see note)
Preheat oven 175 C (350 F). Grease and flour a round cake pan with a hole in the middle.
In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until white and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well (at least 30 seconds) after each addition. Add zest and vanilla essence.
Turn speed to low and add 3 tablespoons of flour mixture and the milk. Add another 3 tablespoons flour and the mandarin juice. Add the remaining flour and beat briefly until mixed. Don’t over beat. Add the almonds and mix with a spatula.
Bake for 45 minutes. Leave cake to stand for 5 minutes before turning over into a round platter. Leave to cool completely. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.
Note: To blanch almonds you need to let them soak in boiling water for about one hour. To roast blanched almonds, bake in a 160 C oven for about 20 minutes until fragrant and slightly golden.