Hands up if you want a super easy cake recipe? This mandarin or orange syrup cake is simplicity itself. It's super quick to make with all the mixing being done in a blender and produces a wonderful, wholesome cake full of the goodness of seasonal citrus fruit! I called her Sunshine.
This Citrus Syrup Cake is amazing for a few reasons:
It is moist from the citrus syrup
It isn't overly sweet
It's low waste-you use the whole fruit minus the seeds (hey if the climate is right you could plant the seeds to make it really low waste!)
It's made in the blender so prep takes about 10 minutes!
It is also best made a day ahead of time so that it's perfect for entertaining.
This is a wonderful and not overly sweet cake using whole mandarins blended up. It is not the same as the Claudia Roden middle eastern orange cake where the oranges are boiled. This uses fresh mandarins or oranges blended up. Mandarins are ideal for this cake because they have a thin pith and that moderates the bitterness. If you want your cake sweeter then peel the mandarins and just make sure you have 300g or 10.6ozs of mandarin flesh.
I mentioned planting seeds and that has been on our mind lately. This Easter long weekend was full of seeing friends and spending time in our garden because it was finally a sunny weekend. I had some delicious San Marzano tomatoes and gave one to Mr NQN so that he could plant the seeds and he excitedly told me that they've already started sprouting.
We were wondering what else we could plant. I'm always buying herbs and I find them to be one of the most high waste items. Sometimes - rarely, you use the whole bunch like with parsley or chives but other times you end up with enough thyme for a year. I find myself throwing out wilted herbs a lot. So I asked Mr NQN if he could make me a herb planter box. On Good Friday Mr NQN ventured off to Bunnings to buy one. He came home shortly later, his plans of an afternoon gardening thwarted by the public holiday but he was back on Saturday. He bought me a planter box that was standing height on legs and wheels and at the moment it's a bit bare but with some hopeful bits sprouting up. I'm crossing fingers that I will soon be able to do away with buying most herbs (except for coriander which is so hard to grow)!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have any tips for growing herbs? Is there a favourite item that you grow?
Mandarin Syrup Blender Cake
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300g/10.6ozs mandarins (you can use oranges or other citrus)
260g/9ozs. caster sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
285g/10ozs. cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup/250ml/8.8flozs. mandarin juice
1 cup/220g/7.7ozs. sugar
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 160C/320F/Gas 3 and line the base and sides of a 20cm/8inch round cake tin. Chop the mandarins up roughly and remove the seeds leaving the skin on. If you want your cake sweeter then peel the mandarins and make sure you have 300g or 10.6ozs of mandarin flesh.
Step 2 - Place mandarins in a blender with the sugar and oil and blend until the fruit is finely blended and the skin should look as if it were finely grated. Add the eggs and vanilla and pulse until combined. Whisk the cake flour and baking powder together and then add to the batter and pulse until just combined (do not overmix). Scoop into the tin and tap it on the counter gently to release any large air bubbles and let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes (this rests the gluten and make for a softer cake, well I think so anyway). Bake for 60 minutes or until the centre bounces back when gently pressed.
Thermomix directions: Place mandarins, sugar and oil in the Thermomix and set to 30 seconds and speed 5 increasing the speed 9 until the fruit is finely blended and the skin should look as if it were finely grated. Add the eggs and vanilla and set to 10 seconds speed #5. Add the cake flour and baking powder together to the batter and set to 10 seconds speed#4. Scoop into the tin and tap it on the counter gently to release any large air bubbles and let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes (this rests the gluten and make for a softer cake, well I think so anyway). Bake for 60 minutes or until the centre bounces back when gently pressed.
Step 3 - While it is baking, around 10 minutes before time is up, make the syrup. Bring the juice and sugar to a boil and then turn down to medium heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened (you don't want a thick syrup).
Thermomix directions: While it is baking, around 10 minutes before time is up, make the syrup. Place the juice and sugar in the Thermomix and set to 3 minutes, Varoma, speed #2.
Step 4 - When the cake is done poke holes all over the cake with a skewer and pour the syrup evenly over the cake. You don't have to add it in one lot, just let is absorb and then add more. Allow to cool in the tin and cover with foil and keep in the fridge until needed. You can decorate with segments of mandarin and mint leaves.