I have been dreaming up the delicious Tangerine Cake for a while now, and I finally got it out of my head. It is SO tasty, and exactly as I dreamed. Tangerines are my favorite citrus, and I think they are highly overlooked and just lumped in with oranges, but they are way better in my opinion.
It is a little sweet, a little tart, and a little bitter, just like good citrus. And the nutty dusting of pistachio gives a perfect crunch that compliments the tangerines beautifully.
This cake is coincidently gluten-free thanks to the use of almond flour and polenta. The latter keeps the cake soft and supple by absorbing the extra liquid that releases from the tangerines.
The eggs and baking powder give the cake its lift, and the marmalade and pistachios finish off the cake beautifully, making it bakery quality.
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of the post, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the full recipe card with ingredient measurements and instructions.
I start by preparing the tangerines. Zest and peel two of them and juice the third. Slice up the peeled ones and you are ready to make the cake.
To make the cake, beat together the eggs, sugar, almond flour, polenta, baking soda, and salt until it becomes light and fluffy. Fold in the tangerine juice and zest and beat a few seconds longer. Then baking in a prepared baking pan, lined with parchment that has been buttered.
Arrange the tangerine slices on top of the cake and bake until just golden on top. A toothpick inserted should come out with dry crumbs on it. And while the cake is still warm, brush on the marmalade and dust with pistachios.
As the cake cools it will take in some of the tangerine juice and the marmalade and almost makes it a bit like a drizzle cake. The cake will get soft and wet in spots. That is not underbaked cake, it is all the juices being sucked up by the polenta. It will have a bit of a porridge-like consistency toward the middle of the cake, but again, it isn't under-baked.
Notes & Tips
It is best to use a springform pan or a deep tart pan that has a removable bottom in it for this cake. That is why I line it with parchment so the batter doesn't flow out. Whatever pan you use, just be sure to use parchment and butter or it will stick.
It is important to really beat the ingredients in the first step together really well. Once they are combined in the bowl, turn the speed up to high and "whip it good"! This incorporates a lot of air into the cake giving it lift, and since it has no flour in it you really can't overwhip it or make it tough.
The cake can be stored in a cool house at room temp for up to two days. If your house runs warm, store the cake in the fridge for up to 5 days.
In place of the polenta, you could also use cornmeal. Polenta and cornmeal are basically the same thing, polenta is just ground a little less than cornmeal, leaving it a bit larger grain. Think of polenta as large-grain cornmeal.
I love tangerines for this recipe, but you could essentially use any type of citrus. Though sticking in the orange family, like clementines, or even grapefruit will yield the best results.
I prefer using orange marmalade for this recipe, however if you ever come across tangerine I would suggest using that. You could also use apricot preserves. The purpose is to lock in the moisture in the cake and give it a nice shine.
Citrus loves pistachios, you could also use almonds if you don't want to hunt down raw pistachios and toast them. If you do use prepared pistachios, I would suggest using lightly salted ones.