One of the lightest, fluffiest and most delicious mousse cakes I’ve made to date! This delicate orange mandarin mousse cake with jello topping is made with a simple sponge cake, a very light mousse made with orange curd, whipped cream and loads of fresh mandarins. Every bite just melts in the mouth and it’s so flavorful! It’s the perfect cake of any occasion and especially great with fresh mandarins when they’re in season!
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How It’s Made – The Sponge Cake
To make this cake as light and fluffy as possible, I went with a sponge cake base and center. This easy sponge cake recipe is the one I use for all my cakes! It’s a no-fail recipe that I’ve used for years! Sponge cake itself is not very flavorful or moist, so it’s a great option for this cake. When making sponge cake, make sure to whisk the eggs for 7 to 10 minutes, until they are almost white in color and very voluminous. Sponge cakes get their volume from the eggs, so they need to be extra fluffy! Fold in the flour in small batches and fold gently but thoroughly after each addition, folding from the bottom of the mixing bowl.
I recommend soaking the sponge cake with a sweet Riesling or other sweet dessert wine. If you don’t want to add alcohol to your cake, use a simple syrup instead: mix together 1/2 cup boiling water with 1/4 cup sugar and allow the sugar to dissolve, then let the syrup cool before using.
The Mandarin Mousse
The mousse recipe is a combination of simple orange curd and stabilized whipped cream, with chunks of fresh mandarins. For the orange curd, I used my ‘Lemon Curd Recipe’ and simply replaced the lemon juice with orange juice. If you can get your hands on some mandarin juice, use that instead! Visit the recipe for an in-depth video tutorial! Make the curd ahead of time because it needs to cool down before being used in the recipe. Once the curd has cooled, then make the stabilized whipped cream.
For the stabilized cream, first whisk the heavy cream to stiff peaks and then prepare the gelatin. This step is important to ensure the mousse cake sets! Dissolve the gelatin in a little bit of water and heat it in the microwave in 10 second intervals for about 1 minute, until it’s dissolved. Do NOT wait for the gelatin to cool! It needs to be added to the whisked heavy cream while still hot, otherwise it will clump! Once the cream is ready, the curd and mandarins are folded in gently and voila! I used fresh mandarins for this cake but canned fruit will also work well. Just drain it well and add.
The Jello Topping
For the jello topping, I went with orange flavored gelatin, to give the cake even more flavor! Before adding the jello topping, allow the mousse cake to set for at least an hour. If you add the jello before the mousse cake starts to set, the two mixtures will combine together, creating a soupy and creamy mess! Pour the jello over the top of the mousse over the back of a spoon to leave it undisturbed.
Need some supplies to make this cake? Here are some of the tools I used for this cake recipe!
- Acetate Cake Collar – I always use this plastic for my mousse cakes! It comes in a bulk roll that you can cut down to size.
- Spring Form Pan – I used a 9-inch springform pan for my cake. If you will not be using an acetate cake collar, use this recipe with a 10-inch pan to fit the recipe.
- Raspberry Caramel Mousse Cake – decadent caramel mousse with raspberry jello center and chocolate garnishes!
- Blackberry Lavender Mousse Cake – made with a delicate lavender mousse and lavender jello topping!
- Strawberry Mousse Cake – fluffy and fruity strawberry mousse with strawberry sponge cake base!
- Mango Mousse Cake – one of the most popular mousse cakes on my website, made with fresh mango puree!
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Mandarin Mousse Cake with Jello (video)
For Sponge Cake:
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
For Orange Curd:
- 2/3 cup freshly-squeezed orange or mandarin juice
- 2 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For Stabilized Cream:
- 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 2 to 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp unflavored gelatin
- 2 cups chopped mandarins
- 1 cup mandarin segments, for topping
For Jello Topping:
- 1, 6- oz orange jello package
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup ice
- 1/2 cup sweet wine, for soaking cake
- Prepare the orange curd first as it needs to cool. In a large glass mixing bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is thick and more pale in color. It should ribbon off the whisk. Pour the mixture into a stainless steel pot and add the orange or mandarin juice; whisk to combine. The juice needs to be pulp-free; strain it ahead of time if necessary. Cook the orange curd over medium-low heat, stirring constantly along the bottom of the pan. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the curd thickens and starts to bubble lightly. Remove from heat immediately. Add the unsalted butter and vanilla and whisk until the butter is completely melted. Cover the curd and place into the refrigerator to cool.
- Next, prepare the sponge cake. Preheat the oven to 350F/177C. Prepare a 9 or 10-inch springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper; do not grease the sides. (If you are not planning to use an acetate cake collar to assemble the cake, I recommend using a 10-inch pan; otherwise the jello will not fit) Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract into a stand mixer bowl, then whisk on high speed for 7 to 9 minutes. The eggs need to be thick, pale in color and super fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour and baking powder. Sift the dry ingredients into the egg mixture in small increments, folding gently but thoroughly after each addition.
- Pour the prepared batter into the springform pan and bake in the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until the top is a rich, golden color. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool. Once cooled, use a long serrated knife to split the layer in two. (If using 10-inch springform, leave the layer whole and use as the base only) Using a pastry brush or a dispenser bottle, soak the cake layers generously with the sweet wine or a simple syrup; set aside.
- Next, prepare the stabilized whipped cream but only once the curd has cooled. Pour the chilled heavy cream into a stand mixer bowl and add the confectioner's sugar. Add 3 cups of sugar instead of 2 for a sweeter cake. Whisk the heavy cream for 4 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Meanwhile, in a small cup or bowl, combine the unflavored gelatin and water. Stir the two together, then heat the gelatin in the microwave for about 45 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds, until the gelatin is dissolved. Immediately pour the hot gelatin into the whipped heavy cream with the mixer running on medium speed and whisk for an additional 30 seconds.
- As soon as the cream is ready, pour the chilled orange curd into the bowl and use a spatula to very gently but thoroughly fold the orange curd and stabilized cream together. You need the cream to stay as fluffy as possible. Last, fold in the chopped mandarins.
- To assemble the cake, wash and dry the same springform pan, then line the sides with acetate; optional. Add the first sponge cake layer, then add half the mandarin mousse, followed by the second layer. Add the remaining mousse over the top and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Garnish the top with whole mandarin segments. Place the mousse cake into the refrigerator and let it chill for at least an hour before adding the jello topping.
- For the jello topping, measure out 1 cup of boiling water and add the orange jello powder. Stir for a few minutes until completely dissolved. To speed up the process, try microwaving the mixture in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one. Once dissolved, cool the mixture down with ice. The jello needs to be cool to touch before pouring over the mousse. Pour the jello over the back of a spoon and over the cake, just enough to cover the mandarin segments.
- Carefully place the cake back into the refrigerator and allow the mousse cake to set completely overnight, or for at least 8 hours. When ready to enjoy, release the springform, remove the plastic and transfer onto a cake stand (watch my video to see how it's done!). Keep cake refrigerated when not serving; it can stand at room temperature for 1 hour.