New Internationalist

Recipe of the Week: Mandarin Orange Cake (Canada)

Global Vegetarian CoverThe Global Vegetarian Kitchen features more than 100 easy, appetizing recipes and outstanding full-colour images. Whether you grow your own food, source fair trade or buy local, this cookbook starts where you are, offering tips to source local and cook global. 

yummmy mandarin orange cake

One of our daughters loves to bake and cook. This is her favourite dessert to make for our family… needless to say, we enjoy it very much.

Henriette Faber, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking: 40 minutes

  • 2 cups / 200 g flour
  • 1 cup / 225 g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained (retain juice, plus a few slices for decoration)


Pre-heat oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4

1 Measure all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. If the mix is a little dry, add 1 tbsp of reserved juice.

2 Pour into greased cake tin and bake for 40 minutes.

Turn out to cool and then garnish with a few saved mandarin slices.

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  1. #1 littleblacknemo 25 Oct 10

    vegetarian bakeries

    I really appreciate the promotion of a vegetarian diet. But when it comes to bakery and pastries, vegetarian alternatives don´t make much of a difference to omnivorous recipes. At least as long as we are not talking about meat pies, that is.

    Let´s push it further: vegetarian bakery should be free of animal-products to make a difference and bring vegetarianism back home to where it belongs - an animal-free diet. After all, it does not need eggs to bake a tasty cake or butter to produce yummy cookies. Once you realize that, you really can stop using eggs, milk and butter in the kitchen.

    Happy baking!


  2. #2 New Internationalist Publications 25 Oct 10

    Thanks for your reply - I agree with your comments, and in fact there are some vegan cake/baking recipes included in an earlier book called 'The Bittersweet World of Chocolate'. On p 220 of The Global Vegetarian Kitchen there is a dairy-free tiramisu recipe which uses egg-replacement powder. I know this may not suit everyone, but for those trying to reduce or omit dairy, it can be helpful. The tiramisu tastes really good, by the way!

    -Troth Wells

  3. #3 Debbie 29 Oct 10

    Should be good!

    I just put this cake in the oven and I have a feeling it will be delicious. The batter tastes fantastic.

    However, there are a couple notes this recipe needs beyond the extra table spoon of juice from the can of mandarin oranges.

    Do not assume, like I did, that the cake sizes in this book are similar. There is no mention of the cake tin size you should be using. Indeed it is not mentioned for the Gramma Cake either. I guess I was lucky with that one. No such luck here. This cake is substantially smaller than that Gramma Cake and as I only have one cake 'tin' it is currently baking in a pyrex cake dish. This will, no doubt, effect the bake time, but I do expect an even consistency.

    The directions for the mixing of this cake are: ’Measure all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.’ That is fine, but mandarin oranges, like most politicians, don't maintain their integrity once put to work. So, they break down when you mix this cake. I do not expect a cake that looks as perfect as the picture, another difference with the Gramma cake, which looked like magic when I pulled it out of the oven. The next time I bake it I will likely mix the cake without the oranges, pour half the batter into the cake pan, add the oranges and then finish pouring the batter. That may work, but I am not sure there will be enough batter to do that. Perhaps a folding technique may work.

  4. #4 Debbie 29 Oct 10

    Hopefully it is still good

    I pulled that cake out of the oven more than 4 minutes early and the top is, in my opinion a little too brown. So, when you bake this cake, just keep your eye on the bake time.

    PS, I have decided to make a glaze for the top using the reserved juice from the mandarin oranges.

  5. #5 Debbie 01 Nov 10

    I finally got back to this post


    I finally got the chance to get back to this post about the cake and the news isn't good.

    Sadly this cake fell short of my expectations. It is the first thing I have made from this book that didn't knock my socks off in terms of flavour.

    To be honest, the real problem here is the density of the finished product. It is way too heavy and as I am not a baker I consulted a few bakers I know to see where I went wrong. Was it the baking dish? Is cane sugar a poor choice for cake? My mother said that I must have rushed the baking process (she knows me too well) but most people (including mom) agree that the lack of butter is what caused it to turn out the way it did.

    The flavour of the cake wasn't very exciting. I think because the mandarins fell apart during the mixing process it missed the mark on the desired effect. I think there should have been a defined taste of simple sponge cake and mandarin orange. Instead, it just was a plain cake taste.

    Sadly, this cake will not make it into my dessert arsenal.

    I would love to hear from other bakers who perhaps had success with this recipe.

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