This is a delicious version of the Orange and Almond cake that you might have tried, using Mandarins (due to an Orange allergy in our family) which are in season, but you could use oranges instead.
The preparation for this cake takes a bit of time and effort, but the results are wonderful, and it also does double duty as a wonderful dessert cake, serve with ice cream or a dollop of thick double cream!
Mandarin Almond cake
Makes 2 x 23cm cakes, halve for one cake.
700g Seedless mandarins (or use oranges, tangerines etc - for me this weight was about 12 small mandarins)
125ml Orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
9 eggs - at room temperature
330 g castor sugar
400g Almond meal
20 g Baking Powder
Make the Mandarin puree:
In a large enough saucepan, place the mandarins and cover with water, bring to the boil, and boil for about 20 minutes, then discard the water and cover them again with fresh water, do this once more, so you change water 3 times in total, this will remove most of the bitterness, and any wax or other nasties that might have been on the peel of the mandarins.
When you have the third change of water, boil the mandarins until they are very soft, usually some will have split indicating they are soft enough, but poke a knife in one, there should be no resistance.
Remove from the water carefully (they will want to break up) and put in a blender, or drain the water off and use a stick blender to completely blend to a super smooth paste, add the Orange liqueur.
Allow to cool completely ( you can do this whole step the day before ideally!)
To make the cake:
Pre-heat oven to 170C - line two 23cm spring form round cake tins with baking paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the whole eggs and using the whisk attachment, whisk them on medium until they are paler and then add the sugar gently whilst whisking still. Whisk the egg sugar mixture on the highest speed until it is very pale, and forms a "ribbon" when you lift the whisk out of the bowl, that is a trail of the mixture will sit on top for several seconds before it melts back into the whole mix.
Once this stage is ready, gently fold in the mandarin puree, incorporating it evenly in a light handed motion until it is an even orange colour, then gently fold through the almond meal and baking powder until it is thoroughly incorporated, again being as light and gentle as possible, you've just added a lot of air via the whisking, and you don't want to deflate it now!
Pour evenly between the two cake tins, and bake in the oven for about an hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin!!!
To serve, de-tin and dust with a light snow drift of icing sugar.