Middle Eastern Mandarin and Almond Spice Cake
3 medium mandarins, approx 300g, halved across the centre, seeds removed, chopped into quarters
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup caster sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
1 birds eye chilli, halved, seeds removed and sliced
Cream, to serve
125g butter, softened
2/3 cup castor sugar
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/3 cup cornflour (from maize), sifted
Preheat oven to Circo therm 160°C
Combine the mandarin, water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, anise and chilli in a saucepan. Stir over a high heat induction setting 9 until the sugar dissolves, cover reduce to setting 7 and boil for 15 minutes until the mandarin is tender. Remove the mandarin pieces from the liquid and process until smooth, allow to cool.
Continue cooking the syrup for another 3-5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Strain the syrup and discard the spices.
Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until pale and creamy . Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Fold through the almond meal, cornflour and mandarin purée until smooth. Pour the mixture into a greased and fully lined 20cm cake pan . Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool the cake for 5 minutes then turn out of the pan. Place onto a cooling rack and drizzle with half of the warm syrup .
Drizzle a little syrup over the serving plates, top with slices of cake and some extra syrup. Serve with cream.
If the syrup becomes a little thick on standing, thin to the desired consistency with a little boiling water.