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Matheson’s Mandarin Cake (AIP Reintroduction)

Mandarin Cake
Hand model: My Mum & camellia from Dad's garden
This lovely winter mandarin cake is a doddle to whip up!

I’ve just come back from a week in New Zealand. It was quite lovely! Cold. But, still lovely. And while I was there I made a seriously great mandarin cake (baking cakes is not something I do very often!)

I spent a few days with my folks at their bach in Matheson’s Bay, just north of Matakana. For the uninitiated, a bach is Kiwi for a holiday home.


(pronounced ‘batch’) also called a crib in the southern half of the South Island, is a small, often very modest holiday home or beach house. Baches are an iconic part of New Zealand history and culture, especially in the middle of the 20th century, where they symbolised the beach holiday lifestyle that was becoming more accessible at this time

Mum and Dad have recently undertaken a bit of a bach renovation and we had some fun talking about colour schemes, furniture layout and soft furnishings. I love that sort of thing. Just in case you weren’t aware!

Mandarin Cake

One of the best things about flying back ‘home’ is that I get to catch up with friends and family. And, this time was no exception. My dance card was pretty full for most of my trip.

Mum and I had a lot of fun cooking together, especially in the newly renovated bach kitchen. On Sunday we had some of the extended family, by way of uncles and aunts, drive up to see the newly renovated digs and stay for lunch. It was a little bit of a ‘recipes by Jo’ affair. I think Mum is perhaps my biggest fan of the blog (thanks, Mum!). She had made a batch of my Herb Soup and I made a big slab of the Easiest Frittata in the World (with bacon!) to go with it.

At this time of year, the mandarins are out of this world in New Zealand. I don’t think I actually ate my body weight in mandarins over the week I was there, but it felt like I came close.

Any-who, because we had all these lovely mandarins at our disposal, I thought I’d try my hand at whipping up a mandarin cake.

And, it was good!

Do you want to know just how easy this cake is to make?

We don’t have a food processor or a mixer – hand or benchtop – at the bach. What we do have is an ancient blender and a stick blender that Santa bought for my Mum last Christmas. And, that worked perfectly.

The mandarins give you a gorgeous hit of citrus and the coconut sugar provides a lovely caramel flavour. It’s a dense, moist cake and we served it with some coconut yoghurt.

Of course, if dairy isn’t a problem for you, a big dollop of Greek yoghurt would be perfect.

Matheson's Mandarin Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is a stage 2 AIP reintroduction. It contains eggs and nuts.
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 12
  • Melted coconut oil to grease your cake tin
  • 375g mandarins (approximately)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 cups almond meal
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
For the syrup:
  • 5-6 mandarins + ½ cup coconut sugar
  1. Heat your oven to 170°C/335°F. Brush a round 22cm springform cake tin with melted coconut oil to lightly grease. Line base with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the mandarins in a pot and cover them with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain. Return to pot and cover again with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for another 10 minutes (this will reduce the bitterness of the peel). Refresh under cold water. Drain. Coarsely chop mandarins. Remove and discard any seeds.
  3. Place the mandarins in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  4. Using an electric beater, whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale. Add the mandarins, almond meal and baking powder and gently fold until just combined. Pour into prepared cake tin.
  5. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool.
  6. To make the orange syrup, use a zester to remove the rind from three of the mandarins. (Alternatively, use a vegetable peeler to peel the rind from orange. Use a small sharp knife to remove white pith. Cut rind into thin strips.) Juice the remaining three mandarins.
  7. Place rind in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain. Return to pan with mandarin juice and sugar. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens.
  8. Turn cake onto a serving plate. Use a skewer to gently prick the top. Spoon over syrup. Cut into wedges to serve.

E N J O Y !

*Special thanks to Mum for making such an awesome hand model!

Mandarin Cake

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Comments (3)

This looks so delicious. I just made my first flourless cookie (blog soon) with ground almonds. I would love to try this one. It sounds so good. Now to find mandarins…

Looking forward to that cookie number, B!

This cake would work with oranges, lemons, grapefruit or even cumquats, I reckon!

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