I finally got it right! It took me three tries, but I finally figured it out. So, I had some mandarin oranges which had just been around too long and needed to be used. So, I turned to the internet to find a recipe. I found one and it turned out to be, well, MEH! Yes, I bake things you never hear about, because, though edible and not absolutely terrible, they’re nothing to write about. Well, I saw possibilities in this recipe.
My first attempt left me basically with a yellow cake with pockets of orange zest and wet orange regions. So, I thought that the zest needed to be worked in ahead of time. How to do that? Mix the zest into the sugar. The abrasion of the sugar would release the oils of the zest and diffuse it into the sugar and spread even more orange flavor. The best tool? Your hands. Yep, it gets sloppy, but it’s worth it. Really get in there!
Next, I decided to use scissors to cut up the orange into small pieces and catch the juices. The original recipe called for larger pieces, cut with a knife, and left big wet patches in the cake, eventhough you didn’t use the juice.
This attempt took care of a lot of what was wrong with the original…but I didn’t like the texture when I bit into the “crust” of the cake. It needed a little “tooth” when you bit into it. That’s when I decided to “dust” the pan with a combination of flour and sugar, instead of just flour. The sugar gives the cake a little crunch. You see, I don’t usually use the glaze on cakes like this. If I’m doing a bundt-type cake, I’m usually not looking for anything overly sweet. The only time I use glazes is when part of the cake sticks and I have a hole to disguise…LOL!
I hope you enjoy! And yes, I was serious about the last part. This one didn’t stick.
Mandarin Orange Bundt Cake
- 5 Mandarin Oranges, washed, dried and chilled
- 3 Cups Flour
- ½ Tsp. Baking Soda
- ½ Tsp. Salt
- ¼ Tsp. Cinnamon
- 1 Cup Butter (2 sticks) softened to room temp.
- 1½ Cups Granulated Sugar
- 6 Eggs at room temperature
- 1 Cup Sour Cream at room temperature
For the Pan:
- 1 Tbl. Margarine or Butter, softened
- 1 Tbl. Flour
- 1 Tbl. Granulated Sugar
- 1½ Cups Powdered Sugar
- 2 Tbl. Orange Juice
- Preheat your oven to 325°. Prepare your pan. Grease your Bundt pan with a tablespoon butter or margarine (I find margarine easier to use than butter for this), being sure to coat all surfaces. Mix together the tablespoon of flour and sugar. Use this to “dust” the greased pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Zest the oranges over a small plate using a micro-plane grater.
- Remove the peel from the zested oranges and remove as much of the white pith as you can. Separate the sections and then, using kitchen shears, cut them into SMALL pieces over a bowl or rimmed plate, catching the sections and juice. You should end up with about 1¼ cups of pieces and juice.
- In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and the orange zest. With your fingers, mix the sugar and zest together until well combined and the sugar has turned orange. Don’t skip this step or you’ll just end up with lumps of zest in the finished cake.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter for 2 minutes, until light. Add half of the sugar/zest mixture and beat for 2 more minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the remaining sugar/zest mixture and beat for 4 more minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each until just combined.
- On the lowest setting of the mixer, gradually add in the pre-mixed dry ingredients, scraping the bowl.
- Beat in the sour cream and scrape the sides of the bowl down.
- With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the orange pieces and juice.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, leveling the top. Tap the pan on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1¼ hours or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
- “Jiggle” the pan in your hands until the cake comes loose from the sides.
- Turn the cake onto a platter and let completely cool on a rack, if icing, or until just warm, if not. If icing, mix together the powdered sugar and orange juice. Drizzle over the top of the cake. If not, dig in. ENJOY!