mandarin orange cake

Saturday, August 18, 2012 |
I am not always a make-from-scratch girl.  Proof: this Tuesday I was in a time crunch and I opted for quick and easy over measuring and sifting.  We needed a cake for my friend’s birthday dinner, and I was too tired to make one the night before.  BUT.  I wanted it to be special and a little out of the way wonderful.  I rushed home from work, and a can of mandarin oranges, corner-cutting and a leisurely dinner (to allow the cake to cool) saved the day.

Mandarin Orange Cake (inspired by this recipe)


1 box white or vanilla cake mix (15.25 ounces)
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 can (11 ounces) of mandarin orange segments, drained – reserve the liquid
1/3 cup reserved liquid from oranges

1 jar prepared white vanilla icing
1 navel orange, cut into very thin slices


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter or spray a 9-inch round baking pan with baking spray, and set aside.

In a medium-large bowl, mix all of the cake ingredients with an electric mixer for 1 minute, and then for an additional two on medium speed.  If mixed by hand, make sure that everything is blended well and oranges fall apart in the batter.  Pour mix into the baking pan and place on center rack in the oven.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Let cool on countertop for at least one hour.

To decorate, upend pan on cake plate or platter, and gently pull pan away until the cake sits by itself, upside down.  Top with icing, and adorn edges with navel orange slices.  Serve immediately or cover and store in a cool place for up to three days.

As you can see this is only a modified boxed mix recipe, but it drew rave reviews from my girlfriends, and they couldn’t quite believe I hadn’t made it all from scratch.  The oranges added just the right amount of texture and flavor to make the cake moist and delicious.  I will definitely be making this again!

Recommended for: something subtle and special when you don’t have time to spare, dessert for a group when you’re not sure chocolate or peanut butter will be welcome, and a light, delicious and summery sweet for any time.

Interested in other food-related posts?  Check out Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking.


Chinoiseries said...

Your mandarin orange cake looks divine! My bf baked an orange-almond cake for his birthday, but I found the ground almond too heavy. This sounds a little lighter :) Thanks for sharing!

Esme said...

that cake does look pretty and I bet in the hot weather the citrus flavour is refreshing.

Beth F said...

Look how lovely the finished cake is! Nice job. And the most important thing is no stress and everyone loved it. I prefer citrus flavors to chocolate (I know, I'm weird), so this is appealing.

caite said...

That sounds like a nice,easy summer dessert. Yum!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

Hmmmm--we need to live closer or I need to be your roommate. You are a very generous baker! ;)

Like BFR I really love citrus over chocolate but I can't help but wonder how divine this would be with just a little tiny bit of chocolate frosting!

Liviania said...

My grandmother makes a mandarin orange cake! But I've always found hers to be a little wet.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Oh wow. How good would this be for a tea party? I need to start having tea parties.

jama said...

Pretty! I can just smell that fresh citrus-y smell! Great idea. :)

Carole said...

Lovely flavours. Have a great week.

Ryan said...

I may actually be able to pull this one off, and it sounds so frickin good.

Ginny Larsen said...

i love your food posts. i think everyone else does too, judging from the above comments. so my request is: keep being awesome! :D

love it. and you know what, that 325 trick and some help from a can of oranges/ frosting will handily make you a favorite friend forever :D

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I'm always racking my brain for a good summer dessert, and this one looks like a winner.

Marg said...

I do like citrussy flavoured cakes! Thanks for sharing yours.

Linda said...

Yum. Looks delicious.

Candace said...

Hi, I am a new follower, YUM this cake looks great! I'd love a follow back at


~amy~ said...

Well, this sound delish!!!!

Unknown said...

This looks amazing! So the whole cake mix baked in one 9" round? Would you recommend 2 boxes of mix for a 13x9, then?

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