Monday, 20 January 2014

Mandarin Orange Chiffon "Oranges"

As I was preparing to visit my in-laws for Chinese New Year, I wondered what I could bake for my MIL. It was only the day before my family had to leave for the visit that I decided to bake mandarin orange chiffon cake for her, since we have so many mandarin oranges lying around during this season. So in the midst of cooking and spending time with my kids, I quickly whipped up some chiffon cupcakes. Suddenly, I had the inspiration to decorate them to look like oranges after the morning bustle died down and the kids were in school. Here's my mandarin orange look-alike :)

This was an unexpected bake that totally wowed everyone! Everyone remarked how real these looked. Can you tell the difference between the cakes and the real mandarin oranges? :P

I baked the cakes in multipurpose round-bottomed glass bowls that are microwave/ oven safe. Dimensions are: height ~ 6.5cm and diameter ~ 9cm. You may also bake them in round metal or silicone molds.

My MIL found the cake very soft, smooth and fragrant :). The orange flavor is really intense because I don't stinge on the orange zest. I adapted the recipe from Small Small Baker (makes about 6-8 "oranges", depending on the size of your molds):

Egg yolk batter
2 egg yolks (I used 65g eggs)
13g caster sugar
20g Canola oil (or any other vegetable oil)
28ml fresh mandarin orange juice
Zest of 1.5 large mandarin oranges
37g cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Orange gel food coloring

3 egg whites
32g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Compound white chocolate, finely chopped
Green tea powder

1.Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
2. Whisk egg yolk and caster sugar until well combined. Add in oil, followed by orange juice and zest.
3. Whisk sifted flour and baking powder into the batter bit by bit until there is no trace of flour.
4. Add orange food coloring bit by bit until a desired shade of orange is reached. Take note that the shade will lighten up considerably when the meringue is added in so you may want to make it a darker shade than desired.
5. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer. When soft peaks are formed, gradually add in sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed and the bowl can be overturned without the meringue falling out.
6. Add one third of the meringue into the egg yolk batter and mix well. Fold in gently but quickly the rest of meringue in 2 additions until there is no trace of egg whites. Tap the bowl a few times on the table to release any trapped air bubbles in the batter.
7. Spoon batter into round-bottomed glass bowls. Fill the bowls until they are about slightly more than half full.
8.  Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 150°C for another 10-15 minutes.
9.  Invert the bowls immediately onto a cooling rack. (Update: this step of inverting the bowls is optional as I have realised from subsequent bakes.) Let the cakes cool completely before GENTLY unmolding by hand as the cakes are very soft and fragile. Store the cakes in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out.
10.  You may refer to my photo tutorial for shaping the cakes into orange shapes. Begin by using a citrus juicer to make an indent at the top of the hemisphere. Hold the juicer in place for several seconds before releasing it. If you find that the indent is not deep enough, repeat this step.
11.  Next, gently gather/ pinch in the bottom of the hemisphere if it flares outwards too much to look like an orange, and place the cake on a paper cupcake liner.
12.  Make the "wrinkles" at the top of the orange by using the back of a butter knife to imprint 5 indents. Hold the cake by cupping it with one hand and press the back of the knife firmly on the cake. Rock the knife gently forwards and backwards, and side to side to make the imprint. Repeat if necessary to ensure that the imprints do not disappear.
13. Divide the white chocolate into 2 portions and place them in small bowls. Place the bowls in a small saucepan of hot water and keep stirring until the chocolate melts and flows easily. Add some green tea powder to one of the bowls and stir until the powder and chocolate are well combined and smooth. You may pipe the "stem stubs" onto the oranges using piping bags but I prefer to use a toothpick to apply the chocolate for such a small volume. Draw a star in the middle of the orange using the green tea white chocolate. When it has set, add a drop of plain white chocolate at the center of the "star". 

I had lots of fun making these and I hope that you will too if you intend to make these to bless your family and friends during the next Chinese New Year. They are really cute and yummy!

Check out my updated post for these "mandarin oranges" in yummy cookie basket ;)
Check out the appearance of these delectable oranges together with other "fruits" in my "basket of fruits" chiffon cake made for my dad's birthday :)
If you need more visuals for shaping the oranges, check out here for a video tutorial!

With lots of love,

 Phay Shing


  1. May i know where to get the glass bowl?

    1. I bought them from Robinsons but I have also seen them at OG and Meidi-ya.

  2. Hi Susanne,

    Could you remember the brand of the glass that you bought?


    1. Hi Mixue,
      Phay Shing here :). I share this blog with Susanne. The brand of the glass bowls we use for baking is Iwaki.