Mandarin Orange Pineapple Cream Cake. Layers of mandarin orange cake, filled with pineapple coconut pastry cream and covered in pineapple whipped cream and coconut chips. Perfect for Easter or Spring gatherings.
I don’t know what’s more dreamy…the gorgeous and vibrant irises or my Mandarin Orange Pineapple Cream Cake.
I have to say, the irises have had me swooning through the entire process of developing this cake. The color of the flowers is so deep, it almost seems other worldly to me.
If there’s something to color therapy, I believe the cool, deep and vibrant hues of irises are definitely part of it.
In any case, it was nice to have fresh flowers to enjoy as I went through trial after trial of this cake.
This cake was inspired by one I made a million years ago out of a magazine. That cake was based on a boxed cake mix, was only two layers, and was frosted and filled with a pineapple whipped cream.
I do love pineapple and whipped cream dessert, like my Pineapple Coconut Tres Leches Cake. Yum! (Actually, I think I love pineapple coconut everything, including these Pineapple Coconut Glazed Carrots.)
What I loved about the cake were the tropical flavors, the juicy mandarin oranges and pineapple. And you know I hate a too sweet frosting, so whipped cream cakes are right down my ally. (Or whipped cream cream cheese cakes!)
It was also served with a mango sauce, which is basically just fresh mango pureed with a squeeze or two of lime juice.
(I didn’t add that to this recipe, but consider this a bonus to those of you who read the post;) If you want to add mango sauce, that’s how you do it.)
Back to the cake…I didn’t want to use a boxed cake. I wanted a scratch made yellow cake that was sturdy enough to stand up to the fillings, but fluffy enough to complement them. In other words, I didn’t want a pound cake, just a nice buttery yellow cake.
First cake trial? Well, it had too much flour in it. The ratio was off. This is another reason it’s so important to measure your flour correctly. Too much flour will produce a dense cake. In this case, there was simply too much flour overall.
So, the first cake was too dense. It seemed heavy and I just didn’t like the texture.
I rewrote the cake recipe and decided to make just one layer to test it out. But guess what happened? I cut the whole recipe in half except for the liquid. Yep, I forgot to cut the liquid in half for my test. Argh!
What the heck? I baked it anyway. I figured I might learn something when the liquid ratio is off. Of course, I knew what would happen. I’d get another dense cake, but this time it was from too much liquid. Ugh!
On to a third cake. This time I insured I had the exact right ratio of every single ingredient. Not too much flour, not too much liquid.
Hopefully, the additional moisture from the mandarin oranges would not mess up my texture. And just like that…Ding! Ding! We had a winner!
One more thing about the cake…I used baking strips for the first time. I’ve had them for quite awhile and finally decided to try them out.
Basically, you soak the strips in water and then attach them around the base of the cake pan. It helps the cake bake evenly and prevents it from doming.
I have to say, they worked beautifully. My cakes baked up nice and level and I didn’t have to cut any domed tops off the baked cakes.
I do want to test out baking the same cake in pans with and without the baking strips to see what differences I notice. I feel like there might be something that crops up with the texture. We shall see…
Since this is a new recipe, I don’t know if I’d like it better without the strips. Obviously, you can bake your cake without them. That’s how I’ve baked every cake up until this one…and I’ve baked ALOT of cakes.
So, no worries on whether or not you have baking strips. Just know that your cake may bake up a little differently and not look exactly like mine.
It likely won’t be as level. The color may be a bit different. But that’s totally fine. I just wanted to mention it should you start comparing what your cake looks like to what mine looks like.
Bottom line, just follow the baking instructions and make sure you don’t over bake the cake.
If you need to level off your cakes because you have a little dome, no worries. Just cut the bit off the top and consider the cut part a free sample :)
Now, since I was skipping the mango sauce, I wanted something else to add another dimension of flavor and texture.
I wanted to fill the cakes with something besides just the whipped cream. I wanted to make a pastry cream, a pineapple coconut pastry cream!
For that, I looked up a quick recipe. I made the pastry cream and the cake the day before I assembled it.
Let me tell you about the pastry cream…that’s some seriously delicious stuff. I sampled some from the bowl and almost forgot that I wanted to fill a cake with it.
We’ve all had vanilla pastry cream. Love it! But pineapple coconut pastry cream? Soooooo good! It was a perfect addition to this cake.
Then, there’s the pineapple whipped cream frosting. This comes together quickly. Just whip some cream and confectioner’s sugar.
We’re going to be adding pineapple and we’ll need some stability so that the whipped cream can hold up for more than a day, in case you have left overs.
To stabilize it, you’ll need some unflavored gelatin. Oh, and you don’t need to do anything but sprinkle it into your cream right before you add the pineapple. You’ll end up with a thick and stable pineapple whipped cream.
That cream is why this is a Mandarin Orange Pineapple Cream Cake. It’s a creamy, dreamy tropical cake.
That’s it. Once you whip up all of that lovely cream, all you need to do is assemble your cake. You’ll have four layers of cake, two layers of pineapple coconut pastry cream and one layer of pineapple whipped cream.
Then, cover the whole cake with the rest of the pineapple whipped cream. Now, let’s be honest, pineapple whipped cream doesn’t make the prettiest presentation.
It’s delicious, but it’s kinda bumpy from the pineapple. It just doesn’t have that satiny, swirly texture you might want from a frosting.
So, you can stop there if you want. Or, you could cover the cake with coconut chips, which is what I decided to do.
The coconut chips are full of texture so they add interest and flavor to the cake, while masking that yummy, but kinda bumpy whipped cream that lies beneath it.
Then, I needed something colorful to make the cake extra special for a spring holiday. I suppose tropical flowers would have been more apropos, but I live in the Northeast and as I write this, it is snowing. Searching out some tropical edible flowers wasn’t in my week’s plan.
So, I picked irises. I love them! Perfectly springy, yet exotic in their own right. They aren’t edible however, so I did use parchment to keep them from resting directly on my cake.
But, c’mon….pretty striking, no? And the cake…really delicious.
There’s so many layers of flavor and texture in this Mandarin Orange Pineapple Cream Cake! From the orange cake with the juicy mandarin orange bits, to the pineapple coconut pastry cream to the pineapple whipped cream and coconut chips.
This cake is perfect for Easter or any spring holiday. It might even become a requested birthday cake for some of you :)
It’s tropical AND springy! And since yesterday was the first day of spring, and today we’re in the midst of yet another nor’easter…I’ll take all the tropical/springy reminders I can get :)