I am SHOCKINGLY bad at eating fruit. I buy it for my kids really, and make half-hearted attempts to persuade them to eat it. I do like melon, fruits of the forest, pomegranate, mango and jackfruit. Apples are OK. But if I was starving to death and I had a plate full of fruit in front of me, it still wouldn’t occur to me to eat it. OK, I admit, if it was fruit cake, in particular this mandarin sheet cake, I would eat it. Savoury is normally my poison of choice.
This often means that as I buy fruits in season in my house, and have middling success with getting my kids to eat them, I often end up with a glut of fruit about to go off. Now don’t get me wrong, my kids love fruit, I just keep forgetting to offer it to them as a healthy snack (hangs head in shame…).
In particular, I always buy those big nets of mandarin oranges. Mainly because they’re in season around Halloween and I like to draw mini-pumpkin faces on them with a sharpie and use them for decoration.
So when I found myself with a bunch of mandarins about to go off, my mind went to that place it always goes when faced with fruit-waste : cake. After all, it’s where all my blackened bananas go…
I decided to make a vegan sheet cake as I could cut it up into bars for my kids’ school snacks. I was really surprised by the results of this recipe. I’m not a fan of dry or sponge-type cakes and that was what I kept in mind while testing ingredients, and this cake came out perfectly first try. It’s moist but not soggy, and super-flavourful. The mandarins tend to move down to the bottom of the batter, meaning it’s a bit of an inadvertent mandarin upside-down-cake. Really tasty.
Next time your mandarins are glaring at you reproachfully from the fruit bowl, I highly recommend you try this super easy cake. The ones I used happened to be seedless, if you can’t get a hold of seedless mandarins I recommend trying the tinned version (who has the time for seed-removal?).
- ½ cup plus 2 tbsp ground almonds
- ½ cup dessicated coconut
- ½ cup oatbran
- 1 cup flour
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup brown sugar plus 2 tbsp
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 medium mandarin oranges
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1.5 cups soya milk
- 3 tsp vanilla flavouring
- Add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix well.
- Add the lemon juice to the soya milk, mix and leave in a warm place,
- Preheat the oven to 160 centigrade for ten minutes.
- Mix the vanilla flavouring into the milk.
- Peel, segment, and halve the mandarin oranges and make sure to remove any seeds. Add to the milk.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients.
- Pour into a lined ceramic or glass baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the dish or tray for 30 minutes.
- Turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
- Slice when cooled, into bars.