Flourless mandarin cake w/ honey thyme syrup & nutmeg cream

Get ready. This is such a lush, divine dessert. Total heaven. It perfectly sums up all the bright but comforting flavours of Autumn. A recent trip to my in-laws beautiful home in the country and seeing their gorgeous citrus trees had me craving a dessert that did justice to all the beauty of the season.

My version of a classic orange cake uses sweet mandarins as the citrus base and only honey to sweeten so you can feel good about indulging. Unbelieavably this loveliness is gluten, grain, refined sugar and dairy free. 

This cake is practically foolproof. It might sound crazy to boil the mandarins for 2 hours and then use them rind and all but the result is an incredible rich bitter / sweet balance. It gets better with time too so feel free to make it a few days before you need it (though just try and hold out that long before eating). The syrup transforms the cake into something more in the pudding realm. I have spiked the honey syrup with thyme as I adore the marriage of fresh herbs and citrus. The beautiful soft nutmeg cream with it's almost savoury warmth is the perfect balance to the sweetness in the cake. I've provided both dairy and non dairy options for the cream so there is an option to suit your dietary preferences.

I hope you love it. Kelly x

Flourless manadarin cake w/ honey thyme syrup & nutmeg cream

Cake

3-4 medium / large mandarins

8 Tbsp honey

6 free range eggs

2 1/2 cups almond meal

1 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds of 1 vanilla pod

1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)

1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1 tsp baking powder (leave out for gluten free)

Syrup

1/2 cup freshly squeezed (and strained) mandarin juice

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup honey

Leaves from 2-3 stems of fresh thyme

Nutmeg cream (Dairy version)

300 ml fresh cream

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla pod

1 lightly heaped tsp honey

Nutmeg cream (Non dairy version)

1 cup cashews — soaked for 6 hours prior

1/2 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla pod

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 lightly heaped tsp honey

Method cake

Preheat oven to 165 degrees celsius

Place the mandarins in a pot of boiling water and cook for 1 hour and a half. Remove from the heat. Drain and remove seeds from fruit. Place in a food processor and puree until smooth.

Add honey, spices and  baking powder. Process until well combined.

Add the eggs and almond meal. Process until totally combined. Not a second longer though. Don't over mix

Pour your batter into a lined cake tin.

Bake for approx 45 - 50 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. (If your cake is browing too much on the top you can cover the tin with tinfoil.

Wait until the cake is completely cool before removing from the tin.

Your cake can be made up to3 days before serving. The flavour will develop beautifully and it will get moister and moister.

Method syrup

Combine all ingredients in a pot. Cook over a medium heat until the honey dissolved and the mixture is lightly bubbling. Take off the heat.

Pour over the cake and serve immediately.

Method dairy cream

Combine all ingredients and whip until the cream is forming soft peaks. Do not over whip.

Method non dairy cream

Place your soaked cashew nuts, honey, vanilla and nutmeg in a blender and blitz until completely smooth. Alternatively use a hand blender to achieve the same result.

Note: The cake can be made up to three days before serving. It will just get better with time. The syrup should be ideally made just prior to serving but also be fine if poured over the cake a few hours prior. Always serve at room temperature. Store the cake in the fridge for up to five days.

Enjoy! xx

Cake recipe adapted (made refined sugar free) from this lovely Nigella Lawson recipe