December is THE season! Am I right? 🎄🍊 So let's dive headfirst into the realm of sweetness with a recipe that's not just a cake; it's a statement. Buckle up, because we're about to embark on the wild and whimsical journey of crafting the one and only Whole Candied Mandarin Pound Cake – a dessert so audacious, it practically moonwalks into your taste buds.
The main star here is citrus so in total you'll need 10-15 satsuma mandarins and 2 oranges (I prefer blood oranges, but regular ones will work just as well!)
STEP 1 - CANDIED MANDARINS
10-13 whole (washed) mandarins
3 cup brown sugar
3 cup water
Mix of spices: 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 whole vanilla pod, 5 all spice, 5 cloves and half nutmeg
STEP 2 - CAKE BATTER
2 cup all purpose flour
2 cup plant based milk (oat or coconut works best!)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
grated zest of 1 whole orange
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup orange juice (I used blood orange so it was naturally pink icing!)
OPTIONAL - 4-5 fresh mandarins cut in half and seared on the pan for 2-3 minutes and cooled. Will go on top of the cake for decoration.
STEP 1 Candied Mandarins Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil and simmer on low for 2 hours (occasionally steering). First things first, let's talk about candying mandarins. We're not just simmering them; we're orchestrating a flavor symphony in a pot. Picture this: whole mandarins waltzing with brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, a vanilla pod, allspice, cloves, and a dash of nutmeg. They're not just bathing; they're having a spa day of epic proportions. Two hours later, these citrus sensations emerge, ready to steal the show.
Pro tip: Save that liquid gold in a jar. It's not just syrup; it's the secret weapon to elevate your Christmas morning pancakes to legendary status.
STEP 2 Batter Up!
Now, onto the rebellious batter. This isn't your average mix-and-pour routine. We're talking all-purpose flour, plant-based milk (because dairy is so last season), baking powder, olive oil, orange juice, and the zest of a whole orange. 1. Mix all wet ingredients, add sugar and mix again.
2. Mix all dry ingredients and combine with the above.
But wait, the plot thickens...
3. Grease that baking tray and pour a third of the batter first. Now, here's where the magic happens – strategically lay out those candied mandarins. We're not playing hide-and-seek; we want them proudly showcased!
Leave enough space between the mandarins for the rest of the batter to fill and cover them completely (so the syrup doesn't "leak out" while baking!)
4. Pop that masterpiece of yours now into the oven at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes. While it bakes, prepare for your kitchen to transform into a fragrant haven of citrusy bliss. Once the toothpick declares your cake's readiness, let it cool on the rack, resisting the urge to dive in prematurely.
5. And now, the grand finale – the icing on the cake, quite literally.
Mix powdered sugar with orange juice (make sure it's not too runny and keep it quite thick, because it'll drip!) opting for blood orange if you want that pretty naturally pink color. Drizzle that concoction over your creation like a dessert artist, and if you're feeling particularly creative, throw some seared mandarin halves on top (supporting with toothpicks so they don't roll off).
Optional? Yes. Recommended? Absolutely!
There you have it – the Whole Candied Mandarin Pound Cake. It's not just a dessert; it's a a daring culinary statement that declares ordinary is for the faint of heart. So, bake on and let the world taste the audacity! 🍊✨