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In Season : Mad About Mandarins (Part 4) - Cardamom and ginger-spiced mandarin and semolina cake

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Cardamom and ginger-spiced mandarin and semolina cake

An amazingly easy cake that has so many levels of flavour. It can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature

Cardamom and ginger-spiced mandarin and semolina cake

Cardamom and ginger-spiced mandarin and semolina cake

The flavour combinations citrus syrup

·         100g (½ cup) sugar

·         15ml (1 tbsp) fresh lemon juice

·         30ml (2 tbsp) fresh mandarin juice

·         180ml (¾ cup) water

Cake

·         900g (6) whole mandarins, skin on

·         300g (1½ cups) sugar

·         5 eggs

·         10ml (2 tsp) ground cardamom

·         10ml (2 tsp) fresh ginger, grated

·         60ml (¼ cup) olive oil

·         125ml (½ cup) buttermilk

·         260g (1½ cups) semolina

·         20ml (4 tsp) baking powder

·         80g pecan nuts, chopped

·         15g (1 tbsp) butter

·         60ml (¼ cup) honey

·         Zest of 1 lemon mint, to garnish (optional)

Vanilla crème fraîche: seeds from 1 vanilla pod 240g (1 cup) crème fraiche

How to do it

1.    For the citrus syrup, place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has melted. Increase heat and allow the syrup to boil, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2.    For the cake, scrub and wash the mandarins.

3.    Line the bottom of a deep 24cm cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides of the tin with cooking spray.

4.    Cut 3 of the mandarins into thin slices and place on the base of the cake tin, overlapping the slices slightly so that the whole base is covered.

5.    Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add 2 whole mandarins, cover the pot with a lid and simmer, about 40 minutes. Remove the mandarins from the water and cool for 10 minutes.

6.    Preheat the oven to 180°C.

7.    Place the boiled mandarins, sugar, eggs, cardamom, ginger, oil and buttermilk in a food processor, and process until smooth. Add the semolina and baking powder, and blend until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the pecan nuts and pour the batter into the prepared tin.

8.    Bake until the top is golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre, 40 – 45 minutes.

9.    Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then pour the syrup on top. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

10.  Cut the remaining mandarin into 5 – 6 slices. Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the honey and flash-fry the mandarin slices, about 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon zest and use to decorate the top of the cake. Garnish with a few sprigs of mint.

11.  Stir the vanilla seeds into the crème fraîche just before serving. When the cake has cooled, serve it with a dollop of vanilla crème fraîche.

Cook’s tip

For a celebratory cake, drizzle melted white or dark chocolate on top and decorate with fresh mint.

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