It's almost Winter in Australia which means it's citrus season! Mandarins are definitely one of my favourite citrus fruit. They are sweet, easy to eat and the perfect snack size! Not to mention that they are packed with Vitamin C which helps ward of viruses common in winter such as the flu! I saw that mandarins were cheap at the markets so I got overly excited and bought a huge bunch. However, I definitely prefer eating fruit in cakes (haha) so decided to make a vegan mandarin cake (or you can make it a vegan orange cake! It can easily be made gluten free, nut free and refined sugar free!
I wanted to show off the beautiful shape of mandarin segments so revisited the 90s and made this mandarin upside down cake!
I put almond meal and mandarin juice in the cake batter which made the cake supppper moist. The mandarin juice is also a natural sweetener and gives the cake a beautiful yellow tinge!
Many gluten-free cakes can be slightly 'gummy' or 'chewy'. However, in this recipe, the citric acid in the mandarin juice breaks down any gumminess resulting in a super delicate and melt-in-your-mouth crumb! When researching baking techniques for my cookbook, I read about the magic of using citric acid in baking cakes. Some people said citric acid (such as vinegar or orange juice) encourages cake to rise even more. Some people said that it shortens the strands of flour in a cake making it more crumbly. I decided to put this to the kitchen test!
I baked the same cake recipe in two cake tins. One of the cakes had no citric acid and the other one did. The cakes were baked at the same time in the same type of tin. The cakes didn't rise any differently suggesting that the acid doesn't really affect the rise of cakes. However, the cake with acid was a lot softer! So cool!
My partner normally doesn't enjoy citrus-flavoured cakes as they can be slightly bitter (usually because some of the peel gets into the cake). However, he devoured half of this mandarin vegan cake on the day I baked it!
While we're on the topic, check out some of my other mandarin recipes:
I hope you enjoy this recipe!
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear about it! Comment below and rate it as it would really help us and other readers! If you post it on social media, tag @rainbownourishments and #rainbownourishments.
Upside Down Mandarin Cake
- 4 (300g) medium-size peeled mandarins
- 3 tbsp (30g) cane sugar, or coconut sugar (if you use coconut sugar, your cake will be a little darker)
- ¼ cup (60g) light-tasting vegetable oil, such as sunflower or rapeseed
- ⅓ cup (80g) orange or mandarin juice, and zest of those oranges or mandarins
- ¾ cup (180g) plant-based milk, such as almond, soy or coconut,
- Maple syrup, as desired
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tray with baking paper.
- To make the topping: Slice all of the mandarin segments in half lengthways and remove any seeds. Sprinkle the sugar on the base of the cake tin. Arrange the mandarin segments on top of the sugar making sure there are no large gaps. Set aside.
- To make the cake: Add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix until there are no lumps. Add all of the wet ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined and smooth. Pour the cake batter over the mandarin topping.
- Bake the cake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer can be inserted into the middle and there is no wet batter on it. The cake is very moist and there might be some crumbs on the skewer which is fine.
- Allow the cake to rest in the cake tin for at least 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the tin and if there is a dome on the cake, slice it off. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Drizzle with maple syrup if desired and enjoy.
- The cake can be kept at room temperature for 1 day or in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.