Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mandarin Cake with Amaretto Crumble

"..and she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China.." Suzanne, Leonard Cohen.

Some weekends deliver that perfect setting of quietude usually found only early in the mornings. And when that introspective peacefulness can stretch over the course of the weekend, well, when it can do that, it is something to be savoured.

It can happen on a particularly grey and rainy weekend, or when one feels a cold coming on and they've been admonished by colleagues to stay tucked in bed until Monday. And it can happen especially when seeing a very close friend with whom silence is just as pleasant as anything else that can fill a room.

When that kind of weekend wraps itself around you, it's nice to have cake. Not luxurious eye-poppingly decorated cake meant for guests. But cake meant for tea. Simple cake that can be had with a quick rummage through the kitchen. A bowl full of mandarins and a half package of amaretti cookies inspired this light and brightly flavoured afternoon treat.

A good amount of milk is used, and it almost has a sponge-cake-like feel. So light. So bright. Perfect for whiling away the afternoon sipping black tea in white tea cups, discussing with a like-minded soul on who gave most life to the song Suzanne: Leonard Cohen's original or Nina Simone's version. I'm a Cohen girl myself, but can't deny that Nina brought an extra something to it.

Whatever the topic lazily discussed, this cake makes for a good weekend nibble.

Continue to Recipe...

Mandarin Cake with Amaretto Crumble
Adapted from Bon Appétit Mar 2004
Serves 8

Time 1 1/2 hr (start to finish)
Eat with a late harvest Muscat

3/4 cup (175ml) whole milk
1 Tb butter
1 1/2 cup (190g) flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp mandarin zest
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup (340g) sugar

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange marmalade
2 Tb amaretto liqueur (or orange liqueur, i.e. Grand Marnier, or whisky cream, i.e. Baileys)
a large handful (3/4 cup) amaretti cookies - finely crushed
6 small-medium mandarins - segmented with as much white pith removed as possible

1) Preheat oven to 350°F /  175°C. Butter and/or line with baking paper a large (about 11 inches) round springform pan.

2) In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter together until it simmers. Take off heat.

3) In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and zest together. Set aside. In another bowl, using a mixer, cream the eggs until pale and fluffy (2 minutes). Slowly beat in the 1 1/2 cup sugar and continue to mix until almost frothy (almost 5 minutes).

4) Into the egg mix, beat in the milk, and then the flour blend. It will be a bit thin for a typical cake batter. Pour into the buttered pan. Bake 30 minutes. 

5) Topping: In a saucepan over med-high, whisk together the sugar and water until sugar dissolves and it starts to turn caramel-coloured (5 plus minutes). Add in the marmalade. Stir another few minutes until thickened. Take off heat and add in the liqueur. Cool for 10 minutes, then chill for 20 minutes in the freezer. 

6) Assembly: When cake is done, and cooled a bit, spread half the caramel topping over cake. Sprinkle most of the crushed amaretti cookies, and lay the mandarin segments on. Sprinkle with the rest of the amaretti, and pour the remaining topping over top as well. 

- Jo


  1. Mmm. What a scrumptious recipe! Adorable shot of the dog too!

    1. I can never resist putting up new cute dog pics..I'm a shameless doggie owner!

  2. I like the slight citrusy addition to the sweet and soft cake. Perfect combination. My little girl adores the photo of your dog. =) Nice photos. I will look forward to more exciting posts from your site.

    1. Thanks for commenting MyFudo. I agree..adore citrus cakes. I'm almost sad for winter and it's sun-replacing sweets to come to an end!


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