I am always interested in cakes which incorporate fruit into the bake as this ensures a moist cake and one with good keeping qualities. I used Annabel Langbein’s Orange Lightning Cake as the basis for this recipe.
The inclusion of mandarins gives a sweet juiciness; the passionfruit pulp adds tang and gives the cake a lovely chartreuse colour.
The topping is smashed macadamias toasted in a mixture of coconut sugar and demerara sugar and a little butter, and candied orange – from my store cupboard on this occasion – although the process is easy enough to do yourself if you have the time.
2 mandarins (unpeeled)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125 gms softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
Pulp of 2 passionfruit
1 tbl coconut sugar
1 tbl demerara sugar + 1 tsp for scattering over cake
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
A knob of butter
3 candied orange slices
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease a 20cm spring form tin and line the base with baking paper.
Cut the mandarins into quarters, remove the seeds and blitz in a food processor until finely chopped.
Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda soda in 1/2 cup water and add to the food processor with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Whizz to combine. Add the passionfruit pulp and pulse several times to just combine.
Pour into prepared tin and place in oven.
Heat sugars in a frying pan over a low heat until dissolved. Add macadamias which you have bashed with a mallet or rolling pin, and cook until coated with the sugar mixture. Add the butter and toss the nuts in the butter/sugar mixture for a minute.
After about 30 minutes, gently open the oven door and scatter toasted macadamias over the cake while the cake is still in the oven. Close oven door and bake for a further 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean ( about 45 minutes bake time in all). However be sure to check before the 15 minutes if you see – or smell – that the cake is cooking quickly. Leave to cool in tin before removing to serving plate.
Finish the topping by scattering the cake with a little demerara sugar and candied orange slices.