Little Mandarin, Almond and Chocolate Cakes

21Sep08

Regular readers would have noticed that the frequency of my baking and blogging has dwindled down to either once a month or even more. I used to bake up a storm, trying several recipes a week and posting at least once a week. I have just been so lazy in the winter months, uninspired and really low on the creativity front. There’s just something about winter, the depressing weather and dreariness of it all which manages to somehow zap my energy levels and eagerness to be as inventive and creative as I can be.

Now that spring has arrived, bringing with it warmer weather and more sunlight during the day, I seem to be happier, re-energised and re-inspired in all almost each key facet in my life: relationships, health/fitness, work and of course my photography and baking.

Also, starting this week, my blog will be updated more regularly, with hopefully more creative recipes, photographs and posts. I also have the intention of changing the layout of my blog too, with a new colour scheme and banner, but this won’t be implemented until the new year I think. I’ve played around with a few ideas in my head, but I need to work out all the geeky stuff first (i.e. moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org and getting my own host), then I can work on the creative.

So, with all that out of the way, my first spring-inspired recipe is the one I am going to share with you today: little mandarin, almond and chocolate cakes. Such a mouthful to say for a tiny cake, but they are so delicious, you wouldn’t care what they are called. The best thing about this recipe too, is that you make it all in the food processor without too many additional bowls, spoons and utensils to wash!

These cakes are so deliciously moist, with the perfect balance of sweet and fruity (the mandarin), nutty and fragrant (the almond) and a small hit of chocolate without overpowering the other flavours. It is also the perfect recipe for those who are gluten intolerant and cannot digest gluten. It can be made into little cakes for afternoon tea as I have done, or made in a big tin, served in slices with double cream and mandarin segments on the side for a fancy, but easy dessert.

Little Mandarin, Almond and Chocolate Cakes

Adapted from Claudia Roden’s recipe for Orange and Almond Cake.

4 medium mandarins (honey murcotts are ideal)

6 eggs

250g almond meal (if you blitz whole almonds yourself, you get a wonderful pebbly texture in the cake)

250g caster sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

150g dark chocolate, finely chopped

50g slivered almonds

icing sugar, to dust

  1. In a saucepan, cover the mandarins with water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 45 minutes or until they are soft (they will most likely split). Allow to cool until you can handle them with your fingers.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease 2 x 8 mini loaf tins and set aside.
  3. Chop up the mandarins and remove the seeds. Place the mandarins in a food processor along with the eggs, sugar and almond meal. Whizz until combined.
  4. Stir through the chocolate and divide the cake batter into the prepared tins. Sprinkle over the slivered almonds and bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  5. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Makes 16.

* This post is dedicated to my boyfriend Z who always pushes me to be the best I can be. Thank you always for your encouragement and support.

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15 Responses to “Little Mandarin, Almond and Chocolate Cakes”

  1. This time of year inspires me too. I am thinking about many new projects and recipes, and I have also been trying to eat healthier lately and to go for more walks in the sunshine. I’m looking forward to picnics and short sleeves and summer fruits :)

    These cakes look so sweet and tiny. Absolutely gorgeous!

  2. What beautiful cakes and photography! They look terribly good!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. That sounds like a delicious reinterpretation of Claudia Roden’s recipe! And good luck with the new look as it develops. Your site already has a beautifully clean aesthetic.

  4. Hi Linda, I’ve missed your posts! Great to see you back and with such a yummy recipe. I passed on a blog award to you last week. You can pick it up at http://food-baby.blogspot.com

  5. wow this looks really appetizing. Great site with recipes! I am forwarding this to my girlfriend :)

  6. I’m glad the spring is coming to your neck of the woods :) I’ve missed your posts and am looking forward to the new layout, recipes, and photos. Fall is just coming to California now, and it makes me so happy to see the leaves turn and pumpkins scattered everywhere. But I know what you mean about winter. You just want to crawl in to bed and hide!

  7. Lisa – hello again! I find it so much easier to be healthy and exercise in the warmer months. 6am walks here I come!

    I’m looking forward to wearing my Havianas every day, going to the beach and getting a tan on my pasty white skin :)

    Rosa – thank you so much!

    Duncan – thanks for your kind comments. I was a bit nervous fiddling with Roden’s recipe as it is perfect just the way it is, but I’m rather pleased with the end result.

    food.baby – thank you for the award! You’re too sweet.

    chumpman – don’t give this to your girlfriend! Make them for her and surprise her. It is such an easy recipe that even my boyfriend can make them and he is terrible at baking.

    Amanda – hello my dear! I miss autumn, it’s such a lovely time of year but then it leads into winter which I hate, lol! I spent too much time under the covers in winter and I’m so happy that I can spend more time outdoors now in spring!

  8. 8 compulsivewriter

    yum yum yum… i m going to take inspiration from u more often :-)

  9. Gorgeous. I love mini cakes like this. You’ve inspired me to dust off my baking gear and get back in the kitchen again!

  10. These are really cute. I just love mini cakes and loafs.

  11. compulsivewriter – cheers!

    tokyiastrogirl – I’m happy that this has inspired you :)

    Tracy – thank you! I love making little cakes too.

  12. I’m so glad you’ve been reinspired. You’re going into spring and I’m going into fall. Why do I still think that’s crazy!?
    Cool to hear that you’re blog is getting a face lift soon too. I’m trying to do the same thing and I totally have to geek out over it. Yay. Go Linda Go!

  13. So great to see you back. Funny for me baking and other cooking kicks up during the fall and winter especially. I try to avoid anything involving my oven especially during the summer.

    Thanks for all you share.

  14. What a delicious way to start off spring baking! And the idea of tiny cakes is so cute!

    We would like to feature your delicious recipe on our blog! If interested email haleyglasco@gmail.com

  15. I absolutely adore orange cake, but had never thought to substitute mandarins. What a wonderful idea!


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