Mandarin Orange Sponge Cake, #TheCakeSliceBakers

The Cake Slice Bakers are a group of bakers from around the world. Currently, the challenge is to bake a final recipe from Carole Walter's Great Cakes recipes. The choice of cake rests with each individual baker. 

Mandarin Orange Sponge Cake
(an adaptation of Carole Walter's Great Cakes' Orange Sponge Cake)
was this Ninja Baker's contribution to the Cake Slice Bakers.

Everywhere you turn a Mandarin orange perches atop two mochi (pounded rice) rounds during the Japanese New Year season. The Japanese mikan (aka Mandarin orange) symbolizes longevity and good health. Rounds of mochi represent the mirror that coaxed the cranky Japanese sun goddess, Amaterasu, out of her cave. Amaterasu, by the way, is the mythological mommy of Japan’s first emperor and birthed light into Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun.

Mandarin Orange Sponge Cake may not bring you longevity... 
But, the dessert will bring you blissful bites
of lemon and Japanese yuzu citrus kissed cake!

Japan was plunged into darkness as Amaterasu delivered the famous line uttered by silver screen siren, Greta Garbo: “I vant to be left alone.” (Note: The bones of this ancient tale are accurate. Some of the quotes, however, may not be spot on.) Fellow demigods hung a mirror opposite the cave entrance on a tree. They tricked the sun goddess by pretending a celebration party for a replacement sun goddess. Perhaps a little vain and a lot curious, like many women, Amaterasu peeked out of the cave. She saw her own reflection in the mirror and pondered the similitude of her substitute. By the time, the sun goddess realized what was going on, the demigods blocked the cave entrance. Japan was once again bathed in light.

Splashes of tart Japanese yuzu citrus and lemon juice tantalize the taste buds
in this Great Cakes cookbook inspired Mandarin Orange Sponge Cake.

Perhaps the demigods could have used different tactics. Maybe the promise of my Mandarin Orange Sponge Cake – adapted from Carole Walter’s recipe for Orange Sponge Cake in Great Cakes  – would have done the trick. Who knows? At any rate, once your family sees the fluffy, citrusy sponge cake sitting on the kitchen counter, you can bet you’ll have lots of company. Sunshine smiles are also sure to follow as your friends and family sink their teeth into the soft sponge tickled with lemon and Japanese yuzu citrus tang. The sweeter mikan glaze brings the cake into harmony for this Ninja Baker. But, your dear ones who prefer pure pucker may believe the cake shines brightest when kept plain and simple.

Mandarin Orange Sponge Cake

Sour lemon, Japanese yuzu and sweet Mandarin say hello in this fluffy cake.  Serve Mandarin Orange Sponge Cake plain, with powdered sugar or glaze and watch the smiles appear. 

This recipe is adapted from Carole Walter's Orange Sponge Cake recipe in Great Cakes.

  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 2/3 cup plus another 2/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon peel
  • ¼ cup mikan (Mandarin orange) juice (One 11 oz can of Mandarin oranges + 1 tablespoon Japanese yuzu citrus juice)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Japanese yuzu citrus juice (or lemon juice)
  • 1 ½ cups sifted cake flour
  • 7 large egg whites
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Dig out your 10-inch angel food cake pan. (Do not grease or flour.)

In your blender, liquefy the contents of an 11-ounce can of Mandarin oranges along with 1 tablespoon Japanese yuzu citrus juice.

Whip up the yolks and whole egg for 2 minutes. One tablespoon at a time, add in 2/3 cup sugar. (Takes about 5 minutes to incorporate the sugar.) You are aiming for a pale lemon color.

Ninja Note:  Do scrape the bowl often when creating baked goods so all the delicious ingredients can mingle and say hello!

Sprinkle in the lemon peel. Pour in the juice and combine with the eggs and sugar.

In a clean bowl, whip up the egg whites. When frothy add the pinches of salt. Next, the cream of tartar. As soft meringue peaks appear, pour in 2/3 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of Japanese yuzu juice. Glossy looking peaks of egg whites is your signal to stop mixing.

Gently fold ¼ of the meringue into the egg yolk /sugar mixture. Tenderly add in the rest of the egg whites. When all is properly combined, pour the batter into your angel food cake pan.

Bake for 65 minutes. (Maybe it’s not necessary but I like to wrap foil around the bottom of my angel food cake pan – just in case. I place the foil wrapped pan on a cookie tray for baking.)

As the 65 minute mark approaches, if the cake is golden brown and springs back from a light touch, turn the oven off. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert onto a cake rack.

Allow an hour or more for the cake to cool.

Run a frosting spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. And gently settle the cake onto a platter.

For the glaze: Whisk one cup of powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons of Mandarin orange juice.



Wishing you company which brightens your every day.

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.



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