This riff on Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern orange cake gets its gorgeous moist texture from boiled and puréed mandarins folded into the ginger-scented batter. It's beautiful served warm from the oven, but equally enjoyable for a couple of days.
- 3 mandarins (about 95gm each), washed, unpeeled
- 4 eggs
- 270 gm caster sugar (1¼ cups)
- 90 gm melted butter
- 400 gm hazelnut meal
- 75 gm plain flour (½ cup)
- 2 tsp finely grated ginger
- ⅓ tsp baking powder
Mandarin and ginger syrup
- 220 gm caster sugar (1 cup)
- 125 ml mandarin juice (½ cup)
- 1 tbsp julienne ginger
- 4 mandarins, peeled and thickly sliced crossways
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1Preheat oven to 160C and butter and flour a 12cm x 20cm loaf tin (we used a fluted loaf tin). Place mandarins in a saucepan, cover with plenty of water, bring to the boil and cook until soft (20-25 minutes). Drain, cool and chop (discard seeds), then purée in a blender or food processor.
- 2Whisk eggs and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Fold in mandarin purée and butter, then fold in hazelnut meal, flour, ginger, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Spoon into prepared tin, smooth top and bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted withdraws clean (1-1¼ hours). Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- 3For mandarin and ginger syrup, combine sugar, mandarin juice and 125ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, then add the ginger and simmer until translucent and a light syrup forms (6-8 minutes). Stir in mandarin slices and lemon juice, remove from heat and leave to cool.
- 4Serve cake with mandarin and ginger syrup spooned on top. Cake will keep stored in an airtight container for 3 days.