I hadn’t made this cake in years. Last year I was expected company from Germany, and I recalled a really great cake I used to make that used ground hazelnuts in the batter — a plus if you want to go Gluten Free (I’ll tell you how in a minute). What’s really unique about this is that the cake incorporates both Mandarin orange slices as well as the juice to get both its beautiful top decoration and extra moistness.
The secret to this cake is the ground hazelnuts that pretty much stand in for all the “flour” in the cake. The standard recipe contains a mere 2 Tbs flour, so if you want to make this gluten free, just substitute a good GF “flour” or baking mix (without baking powder) for your all-purpose flour. Be sure you use a blend that isn’t made primarily of garbanzo beans or the cake will be rather tight.
While you can make this in a non-stick skillet, ideally you’ll want a springform pan. You can use either a 9″ or a 10″ pan; the recipe below calls for a 10″ but if you want a slightly taller cake, use a 9″ and adjust baking times as needed.
The trick to getting the beautiful design on the cake is to arrange the oranges slices in concentric circles. Now, for this you’ll want to use only the “perfect” slices from the can. While I have listed 2 cans of oranges in the recipe ingredients, if you want things to be perfect-perfect like I do, it’s worth getting an extra can because, invariably, there’ll be some mushy or broken segments in your cans. Reserve any extra for another use, such as maybe a Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges, Sliced Almonds and Poppyseed dressing.
Once you have decorated your cake, you’ll add the “magic” — the syrup from the oranges boiled down a bit with some sugar. This will add extra moistness to your cake and really give it that flavor bonus, too.
It’s beautiful now, but if you want that extra pop, decorate the outside rim of the cake with some sweetened whipped cream rosettes and place a skinned hazelnut in each. If you have leftover, you can add a couple extra to the top. NOTE: you may want to use a pair of culinary tweezers for placing the hazelnuts because those little babies are slippery! There’s nothing like dropping a garnish in the middle of your perfect whipped cream rosette…trust me.
If you’ve never baked with hazelnuts, this is an easy recipe to get started with. You’ll really love the texture of the cake, and the extra syrup prevents it from being dry. Give it a shot and let me know how you enjoyed it, or if you have any questions, drop me a comment below!
Hazelnut Mandarin Torte
- 10" springform pan
- 5 lg eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 7 oz hazelnuts, ground
- 2 (heaping) Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 11oz cans, mandarin oranges
- 2 Tbsp sugar, for syrup
- Additional whole, skinned hazelnuts and whipped cream, for garnish, as desired
- Prepare your springform pan by greasing bottom and sides, then fitting bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to size. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Beat together the eggs, 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon until fluffy.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour and the baking powder.
- Add ground hazelnuts and flour mixture to the egg mixture and fold carefully to combine.
- Pour cake batter in the prepared springform pan.
- Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes until toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean. Remove cake carefully from springform pan and place on a wire rack to cool, leaving parchment circle on the cake until cool.
- When cake is cool, carefully peel away the parchment paper. Transfer the cake to a serving platter.
- In a small saucepan, combine the syrup from the canned mandarin oranges with the 2 Tbsp of sugar. Boil gently for 5 minutes until slightly reduced and syrupy. Remove from heat and reserve.
- Top cake with mandarin orange slices, placing the in concentric circles.
- Brush the top of the fruit sections with the reserved syrup. If desired, you can further decorate the cake with whipped cream and more hazelnuts.