Sticky Mandarin-Vanilla Pound Cake

February 23, 2022
9 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Alya Hameedi.
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves One 9-inch loaf
What You'll Need
  • Mandarin-Vanilla Pound Cake
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 3 yolks
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed mandarin or orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated mandarin or orange zest
  • Mandarin Marmalade Topping
  • 1 large or 2 medium mandarins (about 280 grams), halved and very thinly sliced, seeds removed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed mandarin or orange juice
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier (optional)
  1. Arrange racks in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Coat a 9” x 5” loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line pan with parchment so that it overhangs about 1-inch on each of the long sides of the pan. Coat paper with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl until no lumps remain, sift if necessary.
  3. Meanwhile, combine oil, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a small measuring cup or bowl.
  4. Using an electric mixer (or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) on medium speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, and salt in a large bowl, scraping down sides, until well combined (butter does not need to be fluffy), about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and yolks on medium low speed, one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down sides and beat on high speed until mixture is pale yellow and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and add vanilla mixture and beat at high speed until incorporated, light and fluffy, about 30 seconds.
  5. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in half of the dry ingredients, until almost completely incorporated, then add 1/3 cup mandarin juice plus the zest and beat until almost incorporated. Finally, add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until fully incorporated.
  6. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure batter is fully mixed. Transfer batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with a silicone spatula or metal offset spatula.
  7. Bake cake until browned, edges begin to pull away from pan, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean or the internal temperature of the center of the cake is 200°F, about 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool 1 hour in pan.
  8. While the cake cools, make the marmalade. Toss mandarin pieces, 1/2 cup juice, and 3/4 cup sugar in a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium low heat, and cook, stirring occasionally until mixture is thick and syrupy and mandarin rind is dark orange color, about 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit until ready to glaze.
  9. Pour warm glaze over cooled cake while still in the pan and let sit until glaze has been absorbed and mandarin pieces are cool, about 30 minutes. (For a less-sweet cake, use half of the glaze and use the rest as you would a jelly or jam.)
  10. When you're ready to serve, remove the glazed cake from the pan, discard parchment, and slice into pieces as thick or thin as you like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Melissa Bartell
    Melissa Bartell
  • Liz Summers
    Liz Summers
  • GabCortes
  • Brinda Ayer
    Brinda Ayer
Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.

13 Reviews

Melissa B. April 20, 2022
The cake itself is delicious and so easy to make. I was not a huge fan of the glaze though, at least not the actual peels in it, the liquid part was delicious. I found the peels to be bitter, but I think that’s just personal preference, and they’re easy enough to just pick off. Perhaps next time I’ll try just making a simple syrup with the mandarin juice instead of making a marmalade glaze.
tom C. March 27, 2022
Made this recipe today and it turned out beautifully. I plan to experiment with different varieties of oranges to play with the sweetness/acidity balance; maybe valencia. The distinctive flavour of the mandarin oranges survived in the marmalade. Whole blood orange slices would look cool shingled on top.
Metrogurrl March 12, 2022
Made this today after watching Rick’s video like 3x and I am pleased to say that the pound cake is just lovely. Baked for only 40 mins as the toothpick came out totally clean at this point and my oven usually heats up more. I let it cool for over an hour and when I came back I noticed that the middle fell a little, but not the end of the world. Cut my first piece and it is soooooo fragrant and delicious. I made mine with tangelos and will make the marmalade topping later tonight, I think the glaze, once it sinks in, will add moisture and taste killer 😋
Lora S. March 10, 2022
Before I review the (great) cake, a note about the recipe. I find myself frustrated with poor recipe editing. I use Food52 recipes frequently, and the editing is often an issue. As noted by others, the zest addition was omitted, now it says the salt is added in two different places in the cake, and grams are only given on some ingredients, not all (such as for sugar in the cake, but not sugar in the marmalade).

Ok - the cake is great! It looks heavy due to the topping, but the cake is super light, not terribly sweet and has a delicate crumb and lovely flavor. Oddly though, the second I opened the oven, the center fell, even though the cake was done. It's not raw in the middle, and I've never had a cake do that before. Hopefully it's a one time fluke.

I'm honestly not a marmalade person, nor a glazed cake person, but I'm really enjoying the slight bitter/sweet flavor and texture of the sticky topping here.

It's easy to prepare and delicious. Definitely going into my snacking cake rotation!
Brinda A. March 22, 2022
Thanks for the feedback—we'll do better next time. But re: the sugar in the marmalade: Since you're measuring everything out volumetrically for the marmalade anyway, and it's less precise than the cake batter itself, you don't really need to weigh your sugar there.
leekathyw March 5, 2022
I agree with others that:
1. This cake is amazing
2. It needs to be edited to include when to add the orange zest
My cake was more than done at 45 min. I would say, 43 min would be perfect.
Liz S. February 28, 2022
My cake is in the oven and as @ndrozdenko notes: batter tasted delicious!! I also agree that the instructions are not clear re zest and the time for beating after egg addition. I know it says 3 minutes, but in the video, Rick is emphatic about 3 minutes and he explains why: changing the structure of the eggs. I am an experienced baker and probably should know that, but I did not and might have glossed over the time had I not watched the video twice and then had it stopping and starting as I put the cake together. And as long as I am being a bit nit-picky ... even though I followed the video in putting together ingredients, the ingredient list is not in order of the video or the recipe instructions ... I think order of recipe instruction makes things much easier to organize things, even if you are doing mise en place.

My plan is to cut the cake in thirds, freeze 2/3 (unglazed). This is to save me from myself: 1 person household. I hope it will be slightly easier to be reasonable about the speed I get through this cake.

Oh, being in the U.S. or at least an area of the U.S. where the mandarins are slightly larger than lemons, thanks to Rick for the gram measure for the topping as well as Tbls for the zest. I used 4 mandarins for juice and zest and 4 for the marmalade.
Liz S. February 28, 2022
YUM! Out of the oven, cooled and 1/3 glazed, so I've had my first taste. The cake is wonderful on its own, but the marmalade topping takes it over the top.
Brinda A. March 9, 2022
Hi! The zest omission has been fixed, as has the reordering of ingredients! Thanks so much for pointing out and happy baking.
ndrozdenko February 26, 2022
my cake is still in the oven, so i can’t comment on the final product yet- but the batter tastes delicious so i’m confident this will turn out well. My only problem with this recipe is that the instructions don’t make it clear when to add in the orange zest, and i had to go watch the video on youtube again to find out. Please edit the recipe and specifically call out when to add the zest!
Heather S. February 24, 2022
Absolutely one of the most moist cakes I have ever made. The glaze is beyond amazing. Definitely going into the permanent dessert rotation.
Heather S. February 24, 2022
It's in the oven as I'm typing. Not bad at all to put together.
GabCortes February 24, 2022
The besssssst💯. I was craving a pound cake like this for the afternoon with coffee, thank you😘