RECIPE: Delicious Mandarin Cake with Almond and Poppy Seeds

Mandarin cake, YUM! If your kids have all decided they won’t be eating mandarins this week, leaving you with a fruit bowl full of fruit on death row, this recipe for sweet and sticky mandarin cake is the answer. Holy zesty deliciousness!

Mandarin cake for the morning tea win

A mandarin cake that acts like a mini sponge for a sticky and sweet citrus syrup, sound like a morning tea dream, right? Dream no more and make them yourself with this easy recipe. Cakes that are sweet and zesty with a slight crunch from the poppy seeds, they’re ready to eat within the hour – so all that’s left to do is put the kettle on!

The juicy truth of the mandarin…

This mandarin cake recipe requires mandarin juice and imperial mandarins are awesome for juicing! If ever you’ve wondered how you juice a mandarin, here’s how:

1. Resist the urge to peel it and instead, slice it in half, just as you would an orange, with the skin intact. Use a hand juicer to compress and release the juice from the segments. Easy peasy, mandarin squeezy!

2. You can peel the mandarin and separate the fruit segments. Give them a quick blitz in a Nutri-Bullet or blender and then strain through a fine-mesh sieve.

TIP: To extract the MOST juice from a mandarin, place the whole fruit in the microwave for thirty seconds just before juicing. Alternatively, use the palm of your hand to roll the mandarin around your work surface to help burst some of the juice holding cells!

Mandarins – the sweet fruit kids almost always love to eat! Source: Bigstock

Sticky poppy seed, almond and mandarin cake recipe

Serves: 12
Cook time: 30 minutes
Prep time: 25 minutes


  • ⅓ cup poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 150g butter
  • 3 tsp finely grated mandarin rind
  • 1 cup raw caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup mandarin juice

Sticky mandarin syrup

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • zest & juice of 3 mandarins


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan and line the bases with baking paper rounds or cupcake liners.
  2. Combine poppy seeds and milk in a small bowl and let it stand for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, beat the butter and the mandarin rind in with the sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the mixture has just combined between additions.
  4. Stir in the sifted flour, almond meal, juice and poppy seeds into the mixture.
  5. Place a ¼ cup of the cake mixture into each prepared hole and smooth the mixture surface with a metal spatula.
  6. Bake cakes in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of one of the cakes.
  7. Meanwhile, to make the sticky mandarin topping, place the sugar, water and vanilla bean paste into a large non-stick frying pan and heat over medium heat. Gently stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved.
  8. Add the mandarin juice and mandarin zest to the pan and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove cakes from the oven and while cakes are still hot, prick the top all over with a skewer to create holes for the syrup to seep into.
  10. Carefully pour and drizzle the warm mandarin syrup all over the cakes and top with some of the candied zest. Allow the cakes to cool slightly before serving them with cream.

This is an original mandarin cake recipe from the folks at Adelaide Central Market.

mum central
Sticky, sweet AND contains fruit! Mandarin cake for the morning tea win! Source: Supplied

What do you think? Will you be trying this delicious mandarin cake recipe at home? We’d love to hear of your other mandarin and citrus recipes (preserves, cakes, slices, you name it!) you love to make at home. Drop your comment below to share and inspire others!

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Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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