Middle Eastern Mandarin and Almond Spice Cake

By Trish McKenzie
Prep time:
40 minutes
Cooking time:
70 minutes


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
3 eggs
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.

Authors Bio:

As an experienced home economist and Food Designer Trish has worked over the span of her career in the food and home appliance industry as a demonstrator, teacher, recipe developer and food stylist. For more than 20 years she worked for and later managed the test kitchen for a large FMCG company working on some of Australia’s most trusted and iconic food brands, developing recipes and usages for their products as well as styling mouth watering images for cookbooks and websites. She has also appeared regularly as a brand ambassador on a number of well loved television cooking shows.

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