I thought I’d knock this cake up for a friend who’s coming over tomorrow. She’s gluten intolerant so this cake is a really great option. For the woman with PCOS, this cake is based on almond meal, rather than wheat flour, so it is really low GI and presents a great option for her too. So that’s both of us sorted. (-:

You will find the recipe on the $120 Food Challenge site, but I’d like to add a couple of tweaks here. So in the interest of your (and my) sanity, I’ll retype the entire recipe here in my own words and with my tweaks included in the method.


  • 3 mandarins (alternatively 2 oranges)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 230 grams (2 cups) ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) caster sugar

Firstly, this cake can be made with 3 mandarins, or 2 oranges. Both work. I’d also like to try making it with dried apricots that have been boiled and pulped. That’s a recipe for another day so stay posted for my attempts at that variation.

This is naturally a dense cake, however I’ve got a couple of changes to lighten the mix a little. Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the ground almonds. If you’re cooking for someone with an allergy, check that your baking powder is appropriate (in this case that is gluten-free).

Place the mandarins (or oranges) in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for between 1 and 2 hours. Keep the water level over the top of the mandarins.

Preheat your oven to 160c. Grease / line a 24cm (9 inch) springform cake tin.

Drain the water from the mandarins and allow them to cool. Pull the mandarins apart and remove the seeds. Puree the mandarins, skin and all, using a food processor or bamix-style stick mixer. Add the sugar to the mandarins.

Separate your egg yolks and egg whites. Add the egg yolks to the mandarin puree and stir thoroughly. Stir in the almond meal. Beat your egg whites in a separate bowl until they form stiff peaks. The last addition to the cake batter is the egg whites. Fold them gently through the cake batter, taking care to trap as much air as possible.

Pour the cake batter into your greased cake tin and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched in the centre. It should have ever so slightly pulled away from the tin edges. Allow the cake to cool in the tin.

There are lots of ways of dressing this cake. Bill Granger makes a caramelised sauce using the zest of two oranges. It is also nice with icing sugar sprinkles and a big dollop of cream. You could also warm up a few tablespoons of marmalade and brush it on the warm cake as a glaze. Slices of orange could be candied by boiling in a sugar and water syrup until cooked and sticky. A healthier option would be a big dollop of vanilla yoghurt. Use your imagination.

For me, I’ll be lazy. I’ll be glazing the cake with marmalade and serving a big dollop of double cream on the side. Nom. Nom.