I’ll let you in on a little secret: New Yorkers can be guarded. Okay, it’s not like most people don’t know that, but when I first moved to the city, I wore my heart on my little Midwestern sleeve. I’d bake food for my neighbors, many of who definitely gave me some weird looks when I brought a plate of cookies to their door. This was long before my food blogging days, but you know what? It actually helped me make some life long friends. It never hurts to do something nice for someone!

Fast forward to today, and I’m pretty much handing food to whoever will take it. Call it food blogger problems, but the husband and I just can’t have desserts lying around at ALL TIMES. My building’s super just recently had a loss in his family, and since I work from home I see him a lot. We chat about goings on during the week. He’s from the south & knowing that nothing helps the soul like home cooked comfort food, I baked him this buttermilk cake.

What I love about using buttermilk in cake is that it makes the texture incredibly moist and the flavor slightly savory. To balance that out and make it appropriate for spring, I added in sweet mandarin oranges, which have been catching my eye (and nose) at the bodega down the block from me. You layer them into the bottom of the pan before pouring the batter over, kind of like a pineapple upside down cake. It makes for a pretty dessert without a lot of effort, which also makes it great for Easter and holidays.

Do you ever make food for people? What’s your go-to dish when you do?

mandarin orange buttermilk cake spring recipes easter

mandarin orange buttermilk cake spring recipes easter

mandarin orange buttermilk cake spring recipes easter

mandarin orange buttermilk cake spring recipes easter

mandarin orange buttermilk cake spring recipes easter


Mandarin Orange Buttermilk Cake

Total Time: 55 minutes

A fluffy, moist cake topped with sweet mandarin oranges.


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 3 mandarin oranges, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon mandarin orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mandarin orange juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 10 inch round cake pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle raw sugar into pan, coating evenly. Lay orange slices on top, layering some of them.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a whisk. Add in the eggs, egg yolk, buttermilk, butter, mandarin orange zest and juice, stirring with a fork until just incorporated but still lumpy, being sure to not over stir.
  3. Pour batter on top of oranges and bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before inverting and turning out onto rack, plate or cake stand.
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Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

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