Monday, March 20, 2017

Mandarin, Polenta, and Macadamia Cake

This month my Cake Slice Bakers cake choice was the Mandarin, Polenta, and Macadamia Cake from Roger Pizey's World Class Cake book.  I was really drawn to this recipe in part because I needed a good gluten-free cake recipe for potlucks and company.

Both my husband and I really enjoyed the texture of this cake, but my kids did not enjoy it as much.  They all seemed to think it was too gritty.  That may make this more of an adult cake, something I also don't have very many of.

I found the recipe a little confusing because I was unclear how many mandarins to use.  The recipe call for four whole mandarins which you boil several times to soften, and then pulp up in your blender or food processor.  By the time I had done three, I felt like I had more than enough pulp.  I had about 2 cups by that point and so left out the fourth.  I wish I knew how much I was supposed to end up with.

Mandarin Pulp

I also felt like the cake was too sour, and this opinion was shared by everyone in my family.  There was definitely too much peel in the cake mix for our tastes.  It's possible that the mandarins we get on the East Coast of the US in March aren't quite as sweet as they might be closer to the source.  I think the next time I make this cake, I'll pulp two whole mandarins and then add one more peeled mandarin.  Hopefully, that won't make the cake mixture two wet.  I also wonder about using something other than macadamia nuts. They're difficult to find where I live and pretty expensive.  So I might try another kind of nut the next time.


  1. I make a similar cake with clementines and almonds but usually boil the fruit in their skins for about two hours which completely eliminates the bitterness. I wonder if that would help with this cake?

    1. That actually makes a lot of sense. I sometimes wonder with this book if he assumes a lot more knowledge on the part of the reader than I possess. I need to take a gluten-free cake to a party next week, and I think I'm going to try again boiling the oranges longer.

  2. This cake was tempting as I like the idea of the flavors. I'm sorry it didn't live up to expectations!

  3. I was wondering about the texture of the polenta cake. I wonder if you used a finer corn flour like Masa Harina if you would get the same flavor without the texture issues? I probably would have cheated and tried to use canned mandarins as they are already super sweet. It looks pretty though! Thanks for sharing your bake!

  4. Polenta cakes have never, ever gone right for me. I am sorry that this cake didn't make you as happy as you should be! Hazel x

  5. Sounds like this was one of those recipes, the kind that don't go to plan but works out in the end. It is funny that you mentioned the nuts because when I looked through this recipe I immediately thought that almonds would be a better flavor profile. The notes for the recipe also say that it is a popular type of cake in Australia. I'm Australian and I would not really agree with this statement.

  6. I wanted to make this cake and replace the mandarin with normal orange, but in the end, made the banana cake instead. Your cake looks moist, and delicious! It must be very fragrant from the oranges!
    I thought that the recipes in the book are great, but sometimes the baking time, size pan and other instructions are not really accurate! Maybe it is just me!

  7. I love the specks of mandarin rinds in your cake. Great thinking that this is a made-for-grownups cake, totally agree with you. I did boil the three Australian mandarins (on the third time) for longer and I think scrapping off the bitter white pith did help with the level of bitter. We made an excellent choice with this recipe!