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Mandarin Orange Cake with Citrus Mousse and Chocolate Ganache

This mandarin orange cake is the fluffy and light mousse cake of your dreams! This elegant dessert is made with a classic sponge cake, a citrus mousse, and topped with rich chocolate ganache. Add slices of mandarin to the top for a burst of orange in each bite!

mandarin-mousse-cake-on-white-plate

Why You’ll Love Mandarin Orange Cake

Every bit of this cake melts in your mouth! The moist sponge cake sandwiches a layer of citrus mousse, and then the cake is draped with rich chocolate ganache. Once you take a single bite, you’re going to be changed forever.

When I was a kid, we used to make this cake for the holidays since mandarins are in season in the winter, but now I whip this up no matter the time of year. Everyone who tastes this mandarin orange cake falls in love with the incredible balance of citrus and chocolate flavors!

The Secret to Making The Best Sponge Cake

This classic sponge cake base is made with just a few ingredients that are usually in my pantry. It’s one of the recipes I use as the jumping-off point for many of my cakes because it’s simply a no-fail recipe. I also have a little secret to make it extra moist!

First, when making the sponge cake, make sure to whisk the eggs and sugar well, until they’re voluminous and almost white in color. Add the dry ingredients by folding gently from the bottom of the bowl. 

Then, to make the sponge cake even more moist, follow this trick! Bake the cake, allow it to cool, and then drizzle simple syrup over it! I mix a teaspoon of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water, then gently pour it over the cake (especially on the edges) so it soaks in and gives it a boost of moisture. Enjoy!

Ingredients To Make Mandarin Orange Cake

There are three components to this cake: the sponge, citrus mousse, and chocolate ganache. Don’t let that overwhelm you – the ingredients are actually pretty simple!

mandarin orange mousse cake ingredients- jello, flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, heavy whipping cream, chocolate, and mandarins.

Sponge Cake Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking powder
  • All-purpose flour: make sure it’s unbleached

Citrus Mousse Ingredients

  • Mandarins in juice: from a can
  • Jello: Lemon-flavored
  • Heavy whipping cream: Cool whip will work too, just skip the step of whisking it
  • Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioner sugar

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

  • Butter: Unsalted
  • Chocolate chips: Semi-sweet

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

How To Make Mandarin Orange Cake With Ganache

mandarin orange mousse cake ingredients- jello, flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, heavy whipping cream, chocolate, and mandarins.

Step 1: Preheat and Prep

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-inch round cake form. 

Step 2: Start Sponge Cake

Use a hand or stand mixer, and on high speed beat 5 large eggs with sugar until the mixture becomes fluffy and turns a pale yellow color. Add in vanilla extract. 

mandarin-mousse-cake-batter-in-a-white-bowl-on-a-cutting-board-with-hand-mixer

Step 3: Add Dry Ingredients

Lower the speed to low and add baking powder and flour. Mix for one minute and then transfer the mixture to the cake form. 

cake-batter-in-a-white-bowl-on-a-cutting-board-with-hand-mixer-for-mandarin-mousse-cake

Step 4: Bake Cake

Bake the sponge cake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when it’s inserted. Allow the cake to cool down completely. 

baked-mandarin-mousse-cake-layer-on-a-white-plate

Step 5: Prepare Mandarins

Meanwhile, strain one can of mandarins and separate the juice and fruit into separate bowls. 

jello-in-white-bowl-and-mandarin-slices-in-a-white-bowl-for-mandarin-mousse-cake

Step 6: Make Citrus Mixture

Add one packet of lemon-flavored jello to the bowl of mandarin juice. Microwave this mixture for 3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Allow it to cool and set it aside. 

Note: You could also bring this mixture to a boil in a saucepan. 

jello-with-water-in-white-bowl-for-mandarin-mousse-cake

Step 7: Beat Cream and Sugar

In a medium-sized bowl, beat heavy whipping cream with powdered sugar until it’s stiff.

mousse-for-mandarin-orange-cake-in-silver-bowl-with-hand-mixer

Step 8: Combine

Combine the heavy whipping cream and sugar mixture with the cooled jello mixture on the lowest speed. 

mousse-for-mandarin-orange-cake-in-silver-bowl

Step 9: Set and Refrigerate

Transfer the mixture into a form exactly the same size and shape as the one you made the sponge cake in. Add slices of mandarin to the mousse and refrigerate it until it’s completely set, which should take about 45 minutes. 

mandarin-mousse-cake-mousse-in-tin-with-mandarins

Step 10: Add Mousse to Cake

Slice the sponge cake horizontally through the middle. Take the set mandarin mousse and put it on top of the bottom, then sandwich with the top slice of cake. Refrigerate until the ganache is ready. 

mandarin-mousse-cake-layers-on-white-plates
mandarin-orange-mousse-cake-layers-cream-on-a-white-plate

Step 11: Ganache

Melt unsalted butter and stir in chocolate chips until it’s smooth. Pour it over the cake. 

ganache-for-mandarin-mousse-cake-melted-in-a-silver-pot

Note: You can also dip fresh mandarin slices into the ganache for decorating. 

mandarin-mousse-cake-on-white-plate-with-mandarins-on-the-side

FAQs

What’s the difference between orange and a mandarin orange?

Mandarin oranges fall until the umbrella of “regular” oranges! Mandarins are smaller, a bit sweeter, and are a little easier to peel because their skin isn’t as thick. 

How healthy are mandarin oranges?

Mandarin oranges are a healthy fruit! They contain lots of vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium, and more. Some studies say they also aid in lowering cholesterol.

What is the difference between frosting and ganache?

Ganache is a type of icing/frosting! It’s not as fluffy or sweet as typical frosting that you’d find on a cake. Instead, it’s denser and richer in flavor. Plus, it hardens a little bit when it sets so your cake will be covered in a creamy chocolate casing!

mandarin-mousse-cake-slice-on-white-plate

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mandarin-mousse-cake-slice-on-a-white-plate-with-a-fork

Mandarin Orange Cake with Citrus Mousse and Chocolate Ganache

This mandarin orange cake is the fluffy and light mousse cake of your dreams! This elegant dessert is made with a classic sponge cake, a citrus mousse, and topped with rich chocolate ganache. Add slices of mandarin to the top for a burst of orange in each bite!
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Course: Desserts
Cuisine: Russian
Allergy: Nut Free, Vegetarian
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings10
Calories: 449kcal
Author: Marina Rizhkov

Equipment

  • bowl
  • Cake spatula
  • Stand mixer

Ingredients

  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, unbleached
  • 10 oz can mandarines, in juice, strained, divided into separate bowls
  • 3 oz package jello, lemon flavored
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 473 ml
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 fresh mandarines, for decor, optional
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9″ round cake form.
  • On high speed, beat 5 large eggs with 1 cup of sugar until a pale yellow color. Add in 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
    5 large eggs, 1 cup sugar, ¼ tsp vanilla extract
    mandarin-mousse-cake-batter-in-a-white-bowl-on-a-cutting-board-with-hand-mixer
  • Lower the speed to the lowest and add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 cup of flour. Mix for one 1 minute then transfer mixture to ready cake form.
    1 tsp baking powder, 1 cup all-purpose flour,
    cake-batter-in-a-white-bowl-on-a-cutting-board-with-hand-mixer-for-mandarin-mousse-cake
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted. Cool down completely.
    baked-mandarin-mousse-cake-layer-on-a-white-plate
  • Strain one can of mandarines and separate the juice and mandarines into separate bowls.
    10 oz can mandarines,
    jello-in-white-bowl-and-mandarin-slices-in-a-white-bowl-for-mandarin-mousse-cake
  • Into the bowl with the juice add 3 ounces of lemon flavored jello (1 packet). Microwave for 3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Or you could go the healthier way and bring it to a boil in a sauce pan. Let it cool down.
    3 oz package jello,
    jello-with-water-in-white-bowl-for-mandarin-mousse-cake
  • In a medium sized bowl beat 2 cups of heavy whipping cream with 2 Tablespoons of powdered sugar until stiff.
    2 cups heavy whipping cream,, 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
    mousse-for-mandarin-orange-cake-in-silver-bowl-with-hand-mixer
  • Combine with jello, on lowest speed.
    mousse-for-mandarin-orange-cake-in-silver-bowl
  • Transfer into a form exactly the same size and shape like you made the sponge cake in. Add slices of mandarin to the mousse. Refrigerate until completely set, 45 minutes.
    mandarin-mousse-cake-mousse-in-tin-with-mandarins
  • Slice the sponge cake horizontally in the middle. Take the mandarine mousse and put it on top of the bottom slice of cake, cover with the other half. Refrigerate until the ganache is ready.
    mandarin-mousse-cake-mousse-in-tin
  • Melt 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, until smooth. Pour over cake. Optional: dip fresh mandarine slices into ganache for decorating.
    4 Tbsp unsalted butter, ½ cup chocolate chips, 2 fresh mandarines,
    ganache-for-mandarin-mousse-cake-melted-in-a-silver-pot

Notes

  • Other fruit can be substituted, like peach or pear. 
  • Make sure the mousse is completely set before pouring the ganache on. 

Nutrition

Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 149mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 1271IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 1mg
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