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Mandarin olive oil cake

A rich mandarin olive oil cake, drizzled with a honey, rosemary and clementine syrup. It is topped with a creamy mascarpone frosting and pistachio nuts.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian cake, mandarin cake, olive oil, olive oil cake
Servings: 12


  • Electric beater. Oven.


Mandarin honey syrup

  • 90 ml light brown sugar
  • 60 ml honey
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 mandarin sliced thinly
  • 500 ml water


  • 250 ml cake flour
  • 125 ml semolina
  • 7.5 ml baking powder
  • 1 large pinch of salt
  • 180 ml olive oil
  • 80 ml butter melted
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 4 extra large free-range eggs
  • 250 ml light brown sugar
  • zest of 2 mandarins

Mascarpone and mandarin frosting

  • 1 tub mascarpone cheese
  • 125 ml Icing sugar
  • zest of 2 mandarins
  • 30 ml fresh clementine juice


  • 1/4 cup chopped Pistachios


Mandarin orange syrup

  • In a small saucepan bring all the ingredients excluding the mandarins to a simmer over medium heat. Once the syrup is simmering reduce the heat and add the clementine slices. Simmer the syrup further for about 40 minutes until reduced to about 1 cup of syrup.
  • Remove from heat. Remove the mandarin slices and put both the syrup and the fruit aside.


  • Heat the oven to 180°C.
  • Prepare a 26cm round baking tin by spraying it with a non-stick spray and lining the bottom with baking paper.
  • Sieve the flour, semolina, salt and baking powder together.
  • Add the butter, vanilla, and oil to a small bowl and whisk together
  • In an upright beater with a whipping attachment, beat the sugar, zest, and eggs until the mixture is very light in color and fluffy.
  • Lower the speed of the beater and alternate adding the flour mixture and the oil mixture in small amounts. Start and finish with the dry ingredients.
  • Once all the ingredients have been mixed, add the mixture to the cake tin.
  • Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.
  • Once the cake is removed from the oven, poke holes into the cake with a fork and pour 250ml of the mandarin syrup over the cake. Leave to completely cool down before frosting.

Mascarpone Frosting

  • Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix with an electric beater until smooth. Spoon the mixture onto the cake and distribute evenly over its surface. Decorate with the candied mandarin slices and chopped pistachio nuts.


While the syrup is simmering, you can start with the cake.  Just keep an eye on the syrup to make sure that it does not reduce too much.