Monday, May 9, 2011

Mandarin Orange Cake

      A treasure trove of used cookbooks can be found at library book sales and church bazaars.  If I can find even one great recipe in a cookbook to me it's worth it's weight in gold.  I recently picked up the book, Cooking up a Storm; Recipes Lost and Found from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, at a church fair for fifty cents.  It's loaded with terrific recipes from the newspaper that people had lost during the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.  I can only imagine how heartbreaking it must be to lose all of your favorite, time tested recipes, especially the ones that were handed down through generations in your family.  I was looking for something special to make for my Mom for Mother's Day and since she loves mandarin oranges I just had to give this cake a go in my dutch oven.  Remember the slogan, 'There's always room for Jello'?  Well, however full you might be after a meal, there is always going to be room for this light and refreshing Mandarin Orange Cake.  This moist cake is speckled with orange slices and topped with an ambrosial frosting of whipped topping, pineapple and vanilla pudding mix.  I baked it in my 12 inch regular dutch oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 18 on the lid.  Check it after 15 minutes or so, mine was well done in 25 minutes, maybe a little too much on top.  I mixed the frosting while the cake was still cooling and popped it in the fridge to give it time to set up.  This would be the perfect dessert for a hot summer's day garnished with a sprig of mint and washed down with a tall glass of iced tea.  If you decide to make it in your conventional oven, bake it in a 9 by 13 inch pan so you can pile on the frosting.

  Mandarin Orange Cake
1 18.25 oz. box yellow cake mix
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 11 oz. can mandarin orange sections with their juice
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
1 3 1/4 oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 8 or 9 oz. container nondairy whipped topping

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven and line with parchment paper. 
     Mix the cake mix, baking powder, oil, and eggs with an electric mixer in a large mixing bowl.  Add the mandarin oranges, juice and all, and mix by hand to prevent mashing the orange sections.  Pour into the prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until tester comes out clean and cake springs back when touched lightly in the middle.
     Let cake sit for 10-15 minutes then remove from dutch oven.  Let cake cool completely before frosting.  Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

Mandarin orange segments floating in a sea of yellow batter

Cake well done after 25 minutes

Frosted with pineapple and whipped topping

Light and refreshing

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