The best mandarin cake recipe. A delightful German-style cake with tinned mandarin oranges, whipped cream, and almond meringue, everybody just loves this cake!
This mandarin cake with whipped cream was one of the first cakes I have ever eaten in Germany. Heaven! One of the best cakes ever, I am telling you! Sweet, yet refreshing thanks to the mandarin oranges; creamy, yet crunchy due to the almond meringue. So good! You would love it, I am sure!
This is a cake my mother-in-law used to bake for their bakery. My husband's ancestors built a bakery in this house sometime during the last decade of the 19th century, and the bakery was active until the early 1990's when my father-in-law suddenly died at a rather young age.
I use butter to make the sponge mixture, although the original recipe asks for margarine. However, I am not a fan of margarine, and I always replace it with butter. But feel free to go for margarine if you like.
- From a can, fresh mandarins or clementines would not work in this case unless you want to spend hours removing the white skin from every single mandarin segment...
- I use lightly sweetened canned fruit, but you can choose the unsweetened version as well; the cake is sweet enough to take that.
- The pure dairy cream and not the vegetable, sweetened stuff (that some Romanian people – my aunt - like to use for reasons unknown to me).
- To help stabilize the cream, I use Sahnesteif or whipped cream stabilizer (Amazon affiliate link)
- One packet of it weighs 8 g/ 0.3 oz, and it is enough for 250 ml/ 1 cup of heavy cream. You can use a similar product more easily available in your country, but make sure to read the packet's instructions to know how much of it you will need for the required amount of cream.
- The cream stabilizer is not always necessary; you will have to decide if the whipped cream is stable enough or not. The cream stabilizer can be replaced with a mixture of icing sugar and cornstarch in a 1:1 ratio. In this case, you will mix 3 teaspoons icing sugar with 3 teaspoons cornstarch and use exactly as described in the recipe.
- I use almonds for the meringue, but hazelnuts would be a nice change as well, take whichever you prefer.
How to make it?
I should not forget to mention how easy it is to make this cake. Just mix a few ingredients, whip some heavy cream, and fill the cake; if you leave out the 20 minutes of baking time and the short cooling time, you will not need more than 30 minutes to make this mandarin orange cake.
- Separate two eggs; you will need the whites for the meringue and the yolks for the cake.
- Beat the egg whites with sugar and vanilla extract to make the meringue. Set aside. The meringue will come on top of the unbaked cake batter, and they will be baked in one go.
- Beat the soft butter and the sugar until creamy. Add the egg yolks.
- Mix the flour, baking powder. Mix into the butter mixture alternating with the milk.
- Spread the batter onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Spread the meringue evenly on top and sprinkle with the almonds.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until golden.
- Transfer the cake together with the baking paper on a wire rack and let cool completely. It will not take long.
Assemble the cake:
- Cut the cake in the middle crosswise so that you have two equal parts.
- Carefully run a long knife under each piece of cake to more easily remove the baking paper.
- Place one slice on a serving platter.
- Beat the heavy cream (and stabilizer if using) until stiff.
- Drain the mandarin oranges very well and pat them lightly with kitchen paper to remove excess moisture.
- Fold the fruit into the whipped cream.
- Spread the filling onto the cake on the platter and cover with the other cake half. Press gently.
How to serve the mandarin cake?
The German mandarin cake is best served on the day you make it. However, you could prepare the meringue cake base one day in advance. Once the cake is assembled with the whipped cream, keep refrigerated.
The leftovers are still delicious the next day, but the meringue is not that crunchy anymore.
More German cakes:
- 2 egg whites
- 100 g sugar 3.5 oz/ ½ cup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 g slivered almonds 3.5 oz/ 1 cup
- Base of the cake:
- 125 g soft butter 4.4 oz/ ½ cup
- 80 g sugar 2.8 oz/ ⅓ cup
- 2 egg yolks
- 120 g all-purpose flour 4.2 oz/ 1 cup
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 125 ml milk 4.2 fl.oz/ ½ cup
- 500 ml heavy cream 17 fl.oz/ 2 cups
- 2 cans mandarin oranges ca 10 oz/ 300 ml each can
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius/ 370 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray (approximately 30x40 cm/ 12x15 inches) with baking paper. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff. Slowly start adding the sugar and beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. Incorporate the vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Beat the soft butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks and add them to the batter.
- Mix the flour and the baking powder. Mix into the butter mixture alternatively with the milk.
- Assemble: Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Spread the meringue on top of the batter. Sprinkle the meringue with the slivered almonds.
- Bake the cake base for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer the cake together with its baking paper on a wire rack and let cool completely. It will not take that long.
- Cut the cake: When the cake is cool, divide it in the middle crosswise, so that you have two equal halves. Run a long knife underneath the cake base to more easily release the baking paper. Place one half on a serving platter.
- Whip cream: Pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl and beat until the cream has the desired consistency. Use cream stabilizer or substitute if desired (see note).
- Drain the mandarin oranges well and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Fold them into the whipped cream. Spread the mixture onto the cake on the platter.
- Cover with the second cake half and press gently. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
The cream stabilizer can be replaced with a mixture of icing sugar and cornstarch in a 1:1 ratio. In this case, you will mix 3 teaspoons icing sugar with 3 teaspoons of cornstarch. To use it, beat the cream shortly. Then, slowly start adding the stabilizer or substitute and mix until the cream has achieved the desired consistency.