Mandarin Orange Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 1 (9 inch) round cake
  • 8 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½-1 teaspoon mandarin or orange zest
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 (8 0z.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons orange or mandarin liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon orange or mandarin zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 2-3 (15 oz each) cans mandarin oranges (1 cup syrup saved)
  • 4 Tablespoons orange or mandarin liqueur
  • ½ Tablespoon orange or mandarin zest
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of 2 round (9 inch) springform pans with parchment paper and spray the sides and the bottom with oil or baking spray.
  2. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another.
  3. Beat the whites using a whisk attachment on a standing mixer or a hand held mixer until foamy. Gradually pour in ¼ cup of sugar. Mix the whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. In the other bowl with the yolks, add the remaining ¾ cup sugar and use the same whisk attachment to beat the yolks until they are pale and fluffy.
  5. Add the milk, vanilla extract and orange or mandarin zest, mixing just until combined.
  6. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the egg yolk mixture and fold gently to combine.
  7. Add ¼ of the whipped egg whites into the cake batter, folding it gently to combine. Add the remaining egg whites and continue folding gently to combine, being careful not to deflate the batter as much as you can.
  8. Divide the cake batter into the two prepared baking pans.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until they are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.
  10. Cool the cakes 5-10 minutes. Run a thin knife or spatula around the edges of the cake layers, then take them out of the cake pans, remove the parchment paper and cool completely. When the cake layers have cooled, cut each cake in half horizontally.
  1. In a large bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, liqueur, zest and vanilla extract until smooth and evenly combined.
  2. Add the chilled heavy cream and mix, starting on low speed and then increasing to high speed until the frosting is thick and fluffy.
  1. Drain the canned mandarins from the syrup and save 1 cup of the syrup. Set aside the drained mandarins to be used in between the cake layers.
  2. You can use as much or as little of the canned mandarins as you like. I used 2 cans in this cake, which is a balanced amount, I think. However, if you like A LOT of mandarins and wants to taste mandarins in every bite, you will need to use 3 cans. (Which I actually would:), but I know for most people that would be too much.)
  3. Combine the reserved mandarin syrup, the liqueur and zest in a bowl.
Assembling the Cake:
  1. Line the edges of your serving plate with aluminum foil. This will keep the sides of the plate clean while you’re working with drippy frosting. Place a dollop of frosting onto the center of the plate and put the first cake layer on top of it. This helps to "glue" the cake to the plate and prevents it from sliding around the plate.
  2. Brush the top and bottom of each cake layer with the syrup.
  3. Generously spread each cake layer with frosting, all the way to the edges.
  4. Place the canned mandarin orange slices on top of the frosting.
  5. Place each cake layer on top of the frosting and mandarin oranges.
  6. Spread the frosting on the top and sides of the cake, smoothing it out. You may need to let the cake stand in the refrigerator for a little while, so that it’s easier to decorate.
  7. Using the palms of your hands, a stiff piece of paper or a bench scraper, coat the sides of the cake with crumbs, nuts or coconut flakes. (I happened to have some extra scraps from another cake I was making, and used those to make crumbs. You can make crumbs from vanilla wafers or other cookies. Coconut flakes or nuts work really well for this cake too.
  8. Carefully pull out the aluminum foil from underneath the edges of the cake and discard.
To decorate the top of the cake:
  1. I thinly sliced some mandarin oranges and arranged them slightly overlapping on top of the cake, placing them around the edge of the cake. Then, I put a few slices of mandarin in the center of the cake and sprinkled the center of the cake with coconut flakes.
  2. The cake should be chilled in the refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours before serving, or overnight. The cake can be made 2 days in advance, completely assembled and stored in the refrigerator, covered.
Recipe by Olga's Flavor Factory at