With Spring *almost* here (praise GOD!!!), I couldn't help but crave something with a bit of zest-ee-ness. Recently, those huge bags of mandarin oranges have been ripe and on sale, so why not bake something with them??? For Christmas, I got a really cute mini bundt cake pan that I also desperately wanted to use...and thus this recipe was born! The cake batter is fairly sweet, so adding the fresh cranberries give little tart pops here and there. Hope you like it!
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
Zest from two mandarin oranges
2 2/3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup milk with a tsp of white vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice from the two mandarin oranges 1 cup fresh cranberries (mine were frozen)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and flour your bundt pan. All together, my mini bundt pan uses 9 cups of batter for the 4 mini cakes (the amount in this recipe). Instead of doing mini cakes, you can do the same recipe and use it for one large bundt pan, the only thing that will change is baking time (probably a bit over an hour, but you'll have to watch it!)
Beat together the butter, sugar, and mandarin zest. Beat it until it lightens in color, scraping as needed. Add in the eggs one a time, mixing and scraping down the bowl well after each addition.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt and put it aside. In another bowl, stir together the sour cream, buttermilk, and vanilla.
With your mixer on low speed, add to the creamed butter mixture in a third of the flour mixture, mix, then half of the sour cream mixture, and mix. Then add another third of the flour, followed by the rest of the sour cream, and finally finish with the remaining flour mixture. Add the juice from both mandarins and beat the batter for about 30 seconds, until it lightens in color. Fold in the cranberries last.
Fill the bundt pan(s) with the batter, smoothing the tops. Makes sure you leave a bit of room for the cake to expand while baking...if you have any excess batter you can fill a mini loaf pan, bake it off, and have a snack later :)
Bake the mini bundt cakes for about 25-30 minutes, turning the pan half way through. The sides will begin to golden, and a toothpick inserted will only have a few crumbs on it. If you use one large bundt pan, I would presume it will take about an hour or a tad more to bake, but check and turn the cake at 45 minutes, and check in 10-15 minute increments afterwards until it is done.
Allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes, and thenturn out onto a drying rack until they are room temperature. While they are cooling, you can make the frosting.
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Zest and juice from one mandarin
1/2 tsp vanilla
Dash of salt
Pretty much just mix all the frosting ingredients together until smooth, and if it's still a bit to thick, add some drops of water until you get the right consistancy. Drizzle over the cooled cakes and allow the frosting to set.