Since moving to Sydney, I realised that we South Africans have some quirky names for fruit. Most of us know that a granadilla, to the rest of the world, is a passion fruit, but I also learned that a spanspek is called rock melon in my neck of woods. Then there’s our beloved naartjie, which moonlights as a type of mandarin. My search for naartjies in Australia went on for a while before I figured this one out.
So the colloquial name for this cake is my naartjie and elachi cake. Because I like food that rhymes.
Why you should try this cake: the interesting mix of citrus and spice flavours combined with the sweet nostalgia of a good ol’ sponge cake.
Mandarin sponge with cardamom whipped cream and mandarin curd
For the Victoria sponge:
adapted from Annie Bell’s Baking Bible
- 225 g butter, diced and at room temperature
- 225 g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- zest of 1 mandarin
- 225 g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 100 ml full cream milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease and line two round 20 cm cake tins.
- Using an electric beater, cream the butter on high speed for 2 minutes.
- Add in the sugar and whisk for another 3-4 minutes, till light and fluffy, then beat in the mandarin zest.
- With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture, then beat on low speed till just mixed. Slowly beat in the milk (unless you want milk splashes all over your counter, walls and clothes).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
For the cardamom cream
- 200 ml thickened cream
- 1-2 tbsp icing sugar, depending on the sweetness you prefer
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- Whisk the cream with an electric whisk till stiff peaks form.
- Add in the icing sugar and cardamom and whisk for a few more seconds, till combined.
- Chill in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the cake.
For the mandarin curd
Adapted from Taste Magazine AU
- 1.5 tsp mandarin zest (from about 2 small mandarins)
- 3 egg yolks
- 50 g caster sugar
- 1/4 cup mandarin juice
- 40 g butter, diced
- Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, and ensure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
- Add the egg yolks and sugar to the bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. To test this, rub a tiny amount of the mixture between your fingers – it should not feel grainy.
- Add in the mandarin zest and juice and mix to combine.
- Whisk in the butter, one block at a time, ensuring it is completely mixed in before adding the next block.
- Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, till the mixture thickens, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Place one of the cakes on a stand or platter. Spread with a generous layer of mandarin curd, and then a layer of the cardamom cream.
- Place the other layer on top and dust with icing sugar.