White Chocolate Mandarin Orange Cake

I made this cake a few weeks ago for a friends birthday and needless to say it was a serious hit! Although it was a little time consuming, it was very appreciated and was worth all the work. Now that mandarins are in season and so delicious, whip up this cake for the next birthday you have or for a holiday party.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • Room temperature butter, for greasing
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (6 oz/170g) white chocolate dipping wafers (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (f you do not have buttermilk, which I never do, put 1 tsp of vinegar in 1 cup milk and let sit for a minute and mix)

For the mandarin apricot jam (between the layers of the cake)

  • 1 lb (about 4 medium) mandarin oranges
  • 1 (250 mL) jar apricot jam
  • 1/2 cup mandarin orange juice

For the icing (between the layers and for the top of the cake)

  • 1 cup (6 oz/170g) white chocolate dipping wafers
  • 1/4 cup half and half (10%) cream
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar, plus some for dusting
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau, or mandarin orange juice (I actually used this inside the mandarin apricot jam for added flavour)
  • 3 mandarin oranges, peeled and pulled in segments
  • 2 Tbsp. shelled, unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped (I opted out of using pistachios)
  • Fresh mint sprigs (I opted out of using these as well  

Method: 

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease 2, 8” round cake tins with butter. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of each pan. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place dipping wafers and warm water in a small pot. Set over low heat and stir until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and set aside. Mix 1 cup butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in second bowl, beat until well blended. Next beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Slowly mix in the melted white chocolate mixture. Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake the cakes for 35 to 38 minutes, or until golden.

Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pans. Run a paring knife around the outside of each cake to loosen it from the pan. Remove cakes and let cool to room temperature. 

To make jam, peel oranges and separate each orange into segments, and then cut each segment in half. Place orange slices, apricot jam and orange juice in a small pot, I also added the Grand Marnier. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and reduce to a simmer until reduced, about 30 minutes. Cool jam to room temperature, and then refrigerate until needed.

To make the icing, place white chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Mix until they are melted and blended with the cream. Remove bowl from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla until well blended. Slowly mix in the melted white chocolate mixture.

To finish the cake, place one of the cake rounds on a work surface, hold it in place with the palm of one hand and use your other hand to hold a sharp serrated knife. Use the knife to cut the cake horizontally in half. Now cut the second cake in half. Place some of the icing in the centre of your cake plate, and then set on one of the cake halves, cut side up. Spread the top of that cake with 1/4 of the frosting. Now spread that icing with a 1/3 of the mandarin apricot jam. Repeat with rest of layers. Spread the rest of icing on the top of the cake. Decorate the top of the cake with mandarin orange segments.