Dive into the world of flavors with our mandarin almond cake made from just 4 ingredients. This delicacy masterfully marries the zesty vibrancy of mandarins with the rich crunch of almonds. Perfect for those seeking a simple yet unforgettable dessert experience!
Drawing inspiration from the vibrant mandarin season, this recipe turns a simple fruit into a delectable masterpiece. The potent flavor of the mandarins is complemented perfectly by the crunchy texture of almonds, resulting in a beautiful balance between the cake’s fluffy dough and the nuts’ robust crunch.
While many cakes can be laborious and require a myriad of components, this mandarin cake is made from scratch using only 4 ingredients, allowing you the flexibility to tweak and modify as your heart desires.
Whether you’re serving it up for a casual tea or presenting it as the show-stopper at a dinner party, this cake never disappoints. While its light and moist texture is best accentuated with a gentle sprinkle of powdered sugar, the possibilities are endless if you’re feeling adventurous.
Garnish with fresh mandarin segments, a drizzle of almond syrup, or even a dollop of whipped cream. Whatever your preference, this Mandarin Almond Cake promises a sensory journey like no other.
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- With just four ingredients, this cake embodies the essence of simplicity. No more rummaging through cabinets or making last-minute grocery runs. Brown sugar, almonds, eggs, and mandarins – that’s it!
- Got a potluck? A picnic? Or maybe a “just because” moment with a friend on a park bench? This cake travels well, so you can share the yum wherever you go.
- The almonds bring in a comforting nutty warmth, while the mandarins add a zesty twist. It’s a dance of flavors that’ll keep your taste buds on their toes!
- Remember that time I tried to make a cake with a lot of ingredients and ended up burning the chocolate, over-whipping the cream, and mistaking salt for sugar? Well, with this recipe, those misadventures are a thing of the past! Fewer ingredients mean fewer chances for a kitchen snafu (trust me on this one).
🥘 Ingredients and Substitutes
- Brown Sugar brings in that rich, molasses-like sweetness and keeps our cake nice and moist. Ever run out of brown sugar? No biggie. You can replace it with white sugar and a dash of molasses or just use regular granulated sugar. And if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, why not give coconut sugar a shot? It’s got a unique sweetness that might just surprise you.
- Almonds provide that signature nutty note and step in as our trusty flour substitute, giving the cake its structure. But hey, if almonds aren’t your jam or you’re just out, hazelnuts can jump in and save the day. Also, ground sunflower seeds might be your new best friend, though they’ll give a different, yet still tasty, spin to the flavor.
- Eggs are all about binding, adding moisture, and helping the cake puff up like it’s trying to impress. But suppose you’re out of eggs or just going the vegan route. In that case, a combo of chia seeds or flaxseed meal with some water does the trick. Just keep in mind, our cake might be a tad less fluffy without the eggs, but hey, it’s all about character, right?
- Mandarins: These zesty wonders are here to party, bringing a fresh citrus twist that balances out our cake’s richness. No mandarins on hand? Dive into the citrus family pool! Oranges or tangerines are like mandarins’ cousins, and they’ll fit right in. Feeling more adventurous? Try lemons or limes. Just a heads up: they’re on the tangy side, so maybe tweak the sugar to play nice with the extra zing.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
To prepare this mandarin cake, we need to start with the mandarins. In this recipe, we’ll use them whole, ensuring we remove the bitter taste and excess liquid.
Quick Note: Wash the mandarins thoroughly with hot water since we’ll be using the peel.
Then, cut them into small pieces. If you find seeds, make sure to remove them. Place the mandarins in a pot, cover with a lid, and cook on low heat until they release their juice and prevent sticking.
Then, remove the lid and continue cooking, stirring periodically, until they are completely soft, and the excess juice evaporates.
While the mandarins are cooking, grind the almonds. Place them in a food processor and blend until they resemble flour consistency. If there will remain some larger chunks don’t worry as they will add texture to the final texture of the cake.
Once the mandarins are soft, proceed to the next step. Place the mandarins in the food processor and blend until you achieve a relatively smooth puree. Let the mandarin puree cool for a little bit before we get to the next step.
Meanwhile, to save some time, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and move to the next step.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
Pro Tip: Do this carefully since we need to beat the egg whites well to achieve a light final dough consistency.
Place the egg whites in a mixer and whisk until they form a frothy consistency. Then, add about ⅔ of the sugar amount and continue blending until you get a firm meringue.
In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with the remaining sugar until they also become frothy and increase considerably in volume. Then, add the cooled mandarin puree to the yolk and sugar mix and blend until the composition is homogeneous.
Now, for the final dough preparation stage, add the yolk, mandarin, and ground almond mixture to the beaten egg whites. Gently fold using a silicone spatula to preserve the air bubbles and achieve a fine consistency.
Prepare a cake pan by lining the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Also, generously oil the bottom and sides to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan or paper. Once the pan is prepared, pour in the dough.
Quick Note: I used 9-Inch Springform Cake Pan for this recipe. If you will use a larger or smaller cake pan, take into consideration that you will need to adjust the baking time.
Bake in the preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 50-55 minutes, checking for doneness by visual color (it should have a nice golden color) and the toothpick test. Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan since it’s delicate.
When the mandarin cake is thoroughly cooled, you can remove it from the pan and place it on a serving platter. For an attractive presentation, sprinkle it with powdered sugar.
In the end, you’ll have a tart with a delicate mandarin flavor and a crunchy almond texture.
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
- Citrus Glaze Drizzle: Make a zesty glaze by combining powdered sugar with a splash of mandarin (or orange) juice until it reaches a pourable consistency. Drizzle this over the top of your cooled cake for an extra hit of citrusy sweetness. The glaze will not only give your cake a shiny finish but also an intensified mandarin flavor.
- Once your cake is baked and slightly cooled, brush the sides with a little bit of honey or warmed apricot jam. Then, press slivered almonds around the edges. This adds a crunchy texture and an elegant look, making the cake feel extra special.
- Peel and segment a few fresh mandarins. Arrange these on top of your cake in a circular pattern or just scattered casually. The fresh fruit will provide a juicy burst with every bite, complementing the baked-in mandarin flavors.
- Whip up some heavy cream with a touch of powdered sugar until you get soft peaks. Before you stop whipping, zest a mandarin or an orange into the mix. Serve a dollop on the side or on top of each slice. The creamy texture will balance out the dense nature of the almond cake.
- Melt some dark chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the cake. The bittersweet chocolate pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the mandarin, and it’s a classic combo with almonds.
- Sometimes, simplicity is key. Just dust the top of your cake with a fine layer of powdered sugar as I did today. It gives the cake a snow-capped look and adds a touch of sweetness without overwhelming the mandarin flavor.
😻 Other Recipes You May Enjoy
- Easy 4 Ingredient Pumpkin Pie
- 4 Ingredient Blueberry Cobbler
- 4 Ingredient Vanilla Slice
- 4 Ingredient Fried Banana Ice Cream
- 4 Ingredient Caramel Biscuits
🏆 Expert Tips. What to Pay Attention To?
- If you’re using fresh mandarins, ensure they’re ripe for maximum flavor. However, if you’re going with canned ones, drain them well to avoid excess moisture, which could make your cake soggy.
- If you use already grounded almonds, pay attention to their texture as they can impact the cake’s crumb. Too coarse, and it might be gritty; too fine, and it could turn dense. Aim for a consistency that’s somewhere in between.
- Using room-temperature eggs can make a difference. Cold eggs might harden the brown sugar or any fats, leading to an uneven batter. So, pull those eggs out of the fridge a bit before you start!
- All ovens are not created equal! Check your cake a little earlier than the recipe suggests, using a toothpick or cake tester. If it comes out with a few crumbs (not wet batter), it’s done. Overbaking can make it dry, and nobody wants that.
- Resist the temptation to slice into your cake right away. Letting it cool allows the flavors to meld and the texture to set. If you can, wait for it to be completely cool before cutting for the best texture.
- This might sound like a curveball, but if you’ve made the cake a couple of times, don’t be afraid to introduce a tiny bit of almond or vanilla extract. Just a drop or two can elevate the flavor profile without overpowering the core ingredients.
🤔 Answering Your Questions:
Can I Use Other Types of Citrus Instead of Mandarins?
Absolutely! Oranges, tangerines, or even clementines can be good substitutes. They all belong to the citrus family and provide a zesty kick. However, be mindful of the tartness; lemons and limes, for example, might require an adjustment in the sugar amount to balance out their sharpness.
How Can I Ensure the Cake Doesn’t Stick to the Pan?
Grease your pan well and consider using a circle of parchment paper at the bottom for extra assurance. When the cake is done, let it cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes. This brief cooling period can help in easier removal from the pan.
Can I Make This Cake Ahead of Time?
Sure can! This Mandarin Almond Cake actually tastes better the next day as the flavors meld and intensify. Just ensure you store it properly to retain its freshness.
What’s the Best Way to Store Leftovers?
For best results, store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you need to keep it longer, consider refrigerating it. Before serving chilled cake, let it come to room temperature for the best flavor and texture.
📋 Recipe Card:
Mandarin Almond Cake (4 Ingredients)
- 10 oz Mandarins
- 5 Eggs
- 1 cup Sugar
- 8 oz Almonds Crushed
- Cut the mandarins and place them in a pot to cook on low heat until they soften, and the excess liquid evaporates.
- Meanwhile, grind the almonds.
- Once the mandarins are ready, blend them to obtain a puree.
- Separate the yolks from the whites.
- Whisk the egg whites with ⅔ of the sugar until they form a firm meringue.
- Separately, beat the yolks with ⅓ of the sugar until they become frothy.
- Add the mandarin puree to the beaten yolks and mix well.
- Add the ground almonds and the yolk and mandarin mix to the beaten egg whites.
- Carefully mix all the ingredients.
- Prepare a baking pan with parchment paper and generously oil it.
- Pour the dough into the baking pan.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 50 minutes.
- Allow it to cool in the pan, then remove, decorate, and serve.
I highly recommend reading the entire recipe to find more tips and notes about this recipe. Read Full Recipe ⇑
- When combining the wet and dry ingredients, fold them together gently. This helps retain the cake’s lightness and ensures an even distribution of ingredients without overworking the batter.
- This recipe works best with an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan. If you opt for a different size or shape, you might need to adjust the baking time slightly.
- While the cake tastes delightful on its own, feel free to get creative with toppings! A sprinkle of powdered sugar, a dollop of citrus-infused whipped cream, or even a light spread of cream cheese frosting can add an extra layer of deliciousness.
- If you enjoy a bit of crunch, consider adding a handful of roughly chopped almonds to your batter. This gives sporadic bursts of nutty texture in every bite.
- Almonds and almond flour can go rancid over time, especially if not stored properly. Give your almonds or almond flour a quick sniff before using. They should smell sweet and nutty. If there’s any hint of sourness, it’s best to get a fresh batch.