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Lime, Basil, and Mandarin Salad

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mandarin Orange Tea Cakes

There is something about ordering citrus fruit in Fairbanks, Alaska that feels absolutely extravagant. I find nothing more special than opening up a box of oranges from Florida, or Meyer Lemons from the Lemon Ladies in California. It feels like more of a luxury than a new sweater or a pair of earrings. It is something to enjoy and savor. It is something to be taken care of. This is the second year I ordered Kishu Mandarins. They are one of my favorites and honestly I prefer to eat the majority just as they are, plain or maybe with a piece of nice dark chocolate. They are really special little citrus fruits. They are so sweet, I don't want to waste one little bit. So, when looking for a baked good to make with them I didn't take the process lightly. I didn't want anything that was going to mask their flavor. I had found one recipe, but it contained a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg. Not that there is anything wrong with those flavors, it is just I wanted these little cakes to taste like Mandarins. When I found this recipe that didn't even have vanilla, I knew I had a winner. These cakes have a wonderfully light texture, like eating mandarin clouds. I added a little glaze to the top to give them a little added mandarin zip and also add a little crunch to the top, but it isn't necessary. You could just as easily serve them without it. These little tea cakes totally respect the delicate flavor of the citrus and I recommend trying them with any special citrus fruits you might have.

Mandarin Orange Tea Cakes
inspired by The Sothrifticate

3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 teaspoons mandarin zest
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup mandarin juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
Combine superfine sugar and mandarin zest in a small bowl. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar. This will release the oils into the sugar.
In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Place butter and mandarin sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment cream together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the edges of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add eggs one at a time until well combined. Mix in yogurt and mandarin juice until mixture is smooth. Again, scape down the edges of the bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix. I recommend mixing the last addition in by hand with a rubber spatula. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full and place in oven for about 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from pan and place on a wire cooling rack. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving. You can serve them plain with a cup of tea or coffee. You can also add a sprinkle of powdered sugar to the tops. I chose to brush the tops with a light mandarin glaze. I like the crunch once the glaze hardens. For glaze whisk together about 1/2 cup powdered sugar, with about 1 tablespoon mandarin juice, and a little zest if you like. You may need more or less juice, whisk together until you get a nice smooth consistency. Brush on the tops of still warm muffins and let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.


  1. I really like the small slice on top of the cake. I don't know the special kind of mandarin but they sure look delicous. Jen

    1. Thanks. I had never heard of them either until Ruth Reichl mentioned them on her blog.

  2. They are very pretty and I'm sure wonderful-enjoy:@)

  3. those look delicous. where did you get the kishu mandarins from online?

  4. Here is the link, but you should hurry. They go really quick!

  5. Hi There!
    I'd love it if you came by and linked this up to my blog hop, Themed Baker's Sunday! The theme this week is cakes.
    Hope to see you there!
    Cupcake Apothecary

  6. These look delicious--in fact your entire blog looks good enough to eat!

  7. Mandarine is a nice change to lemon and orange. I cannot wait to try them.


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