This Vegan Mandarin Sour Cream Cake with Coconut topping is creamy, fruity, and so delicious – It’s adapted from my grandma’s traditional German recipe, but made without dairy or eggs! With this helpful step-by-step instruction, you can easily bake it at home for your family and friends to enjoy with afternoon coffee or at celebrations!
Grandma’s favorite Mandarin Sour Cream Cake made Vegan
Since I can remember my grandma always served delicious cakes in the afternoon when I came over. And although I loved all her cakes, her creamy Mandarin Coconut Sour Cream Cake was one of my absolute favorites! Whenever I could choose a cake, I usually preferred this one. While I’ve already veganized her German Danube Wave Cake recipe, I did the same for this Vegan Sour Cream Cake now. So I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!
What’s the difference between Cheesecake and German Sour Cream Cake?
If you are wondering what’s the difference between Sour Cream Cake and Cheesecake – well, both cakes have a crisp pie crust, a cream layer and can be made more special by adding fruits or other ingredients. But what makes Sour Cream Cake so special is the softer consistency of the cream layer. Therefore, a vegan sour cream cake is irresistibly creamy and amazingly delicious! If you add some fruits with a slight tanginess and a crispy coconut topping, you will get a cake with a wonderful texture and an irresistible taste!
Easy Vegan Mandarin Sour Cream Cake
To make my grandma’s traditional German sour cream recipe using only plant-based ingredients, I decided to make the cream layer with a combination of dairy-free cream cheese and full-fat coconut milk. Since these ingredients have a higher fat content than vegan yogurt, you’ll get a result that is just as delicious and creamy as the original! Of course, you can also use vegan sour cream if you have it on hand. However, depending on the consistency of your vegan sour cream, the cake may soften more quickly and become less stable at room temperature. By using dairy-free cream cheese, the cake will be less watery as it’s firmer when chilled.
This Vegan Mandarin Sour Cream Cake with coconut topping is super simple and can be made in just a few steps using simple ingredients! Though it consists of several layers, each layer comes together very quickly. So you can easily whip up each layer individually, then assemble the cake and it’s ready to go into the oven!
How to make German Sour Cream Cake with Mandarins
As always, I recommend checking out the recipe video and this step-by-step instruction first. Then you’ll find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Making the Mandarin Cake
To make the cake batter, sift the flour, baking powder, and ground vanilla into a mixing bowl. Next, add the sugar and salt and whisk everything together. Now whisk together the dairy-free milk, oil, vinegar, and applesauce in a measuring cup. Then pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix everything briefly until a relatively thick batter is formed. Add the batter into a prepared 9-inch springform pan and smooth it out. Spread the drained mandarins side by side on the batter. Finally, pre-bake the cake for 15 minutes at (356 °F) 180 °C.
Step 2: making the sour cream layer
Mix the vegan cream cheese, coconut milk (or dairy-free cream), sugar, cornstarch, and ground vanilla (or vanilla extract) with an electric hand mixer until creamy. Set aside.
Step 3: Making the Coconut topping
Place the desiccated coconut, coconut sugar, applesauce, and dairy-free milk in a bowl. Mix with a spatula to form crumbles and set aside.
Step 4: Assembling the cake
After 15 minutes of baking, remove the cake from the oven and gently dollop the vegan sour cream layer spoon by spoon evenly over the pre-baked cake. Carefully smooth it out with a spatula, then spread the coconut topping on top. Bake the cake for another 40 minutes (if the top gets too brown, you can loosely cover the cake with a piece of parchment paper).
Once done baking, turn off the oven and leave the cake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes with the oven door cracked. Finally, remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan.
Transform this Mandarin Sour Cream Cake into a sheet cake or muffins
If you want to transform this German Mandarin Sour Cream Coconut Cake recipe into a sheet cake to serve for the whole family, that’s no problem at all! For a high brownie pan (about 10 x 13 inches) I recommend doubling the ingredients. For a large baking tray (about 13 x 15 inches) you may need to triple the quantities. Since flat cakes are done sooner, you may adjust the baking time as written in the recipe notes. It’s totally fine if the cream layer seems a little soft after baking, but it will become firmer as it cools.
If you like to make muffins with this recipe, simply prepare a muffin pan and fill the individual layers into each cup as instructed. Reduce the pre-baking time of the dough by 5-10 minutes. Then fill in the cream layer and bake another around 35 minutes, until the desiccated coconut topping is golden brown.
Ingredient notes and substitutes
- Flour: You’ll get the best result by using all-purpose or light spelt flour. As a GF alternative, you can also sub a gluten-free flour blend 1:1. If using another flour be sure to adjust the amount of liquid, as different flours absorb different amounts of liquid. Also, note that using heavier flour such as wheat flour will make your cake denser.
- Sugar: You can use brown sugar or coconut blossom sugar instead of refined white sugar. This may change the color of the cake, however, it will be just as delicious! I would not recommend using a sugar substitute as this could also change the texture of the cake.
- Vegan Cream Cheese: This is an important ingredient for the sour cream layer. If you can’t find dairy-free cream cheese, you can replace it with vegan mascarpone or vegan sour cream or try a mixture of 10 oz (275 g) silken firm tofu + 2.6 oz (75 g) vegan butter. I do not recommend using low-fat products, as they will make the cake less creamy and more watery.
- Applesauce: This is used as an egg substitute. Alternatively, you can use the same amount of banana or pumpkin purée or soy yogurt or 2 flaxseed eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseeds mixed with 6 tbsp water, then let it thicken for 5 minutes).
- Mandarins: Of course, you can also use other fruits of your choice for your Vegan Sour Cream Cake. Just be creative!
Make-ahead and storing instructions
This Vegan German Mandarin Sour Cream Cake can be baked one day in advance. Kept in a cake container and stored in a cool place, it will stay fresh, creamy, and delicious for 2-3 days. It’s best to keep it in the refrigerator where it will even last for up to 5 days. In fact, my grandma says, it tastes even better one to two days after baking! However, if you love a crispy coconut topping, it’s best to eat the cake fresh, as the topping loses its crispness as it cools. For longer storage, you can put leftover pieces in an airtight container or freezer bags and freeze them for several months.
This Vegan German Mandarin Sour Cream Cake is
- Dairy-free and egg-free
- Perfectly creamy
- With a flavorful coconut topping
- Quick and easy to make
- Just like grandma’s traditional recipe
- Perfect for your afternoon coffee
- Incredibly delicious!
More scrumptious vegan cake recipes to try
- Mandarin Cheesecake with Streusel
- Vegan Meringue Cheesecake with Red Currants
- Cherry Cheesecake Brownies
- Russian Chocolate Cheesecake
- Vegan Apple Pie
- Chocolate Cheesecake
- Red Currant Cheesecake with Streusel
- Bee Sting Cake (German Bienenstich)
- Apple Cake with Cinnamon Streusel
If you try this Vegan German Mandarin Sour Cream Cake recipe, feel free to leave a comment and a rating! And if you take a picture of your Mandarin Coconut Cake and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Happy baking!
Vegan Mandarin Sour Cream CakeAuthor:
- 1 can (175 g) mandarins 175 g drained
- 1 ½ cup (180 g) all-purpose or spelt flour or gluten-free flour blend*
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch (1 tsp) of ground bourbon vanilla or stir 1 tsp vanilla extract into the wet ingredients
- 1 pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup (75 g) sugar of choice*
- ½ cup (120 ml) dairy-free milk e.g. soy or oat milk
- 3 tbsp applesauce 45 g
- ⅓ cup (75 ml) neutral oil e.g. canola or sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
Vegan Sour Cream Layer
- ¾ cup (70 g) desiccated coconut
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp applesauce or vegan butter
- 1 tbsp dairy-free milk if needed
*Note: Check out the step-by-step pics and the recipe video in the blog post above! Also, I recommend using metric measurements.
- Preheat the oven to (356 °F) 180 °C. Lightly grease the sides of a 9-inch (22cm/24cm) springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Put the mandarins in a fine-mesh sieve and set them aside to drain.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and ground vanilla into a mixing bowl. Then add sugar and salt and whisk everything together.
- In a measuring cup, whisk together the dairy-free milk, oil, vinegar, and applesauce. Then pour it into the flour mixture and mix everything briefly until a relatively thick batter is formed.
- Add the batter into the prepared springform pan, smooth it out, and then spread the drained mandarins side by side on the cake batter.
- Pre-bake the cake for 15 minutes.
Sour cream layer
- Place vegan cream cheese, coconut milk (or dairy-free cream), sugar, cornstarch, and ground vanilla (or vanilla extract) in a mixing bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer until creamy. Set aside.
- Place desiccated coconut, coconut sugar, applesauce, and dairy-free milk in a bowl and mix to form crumbles. Set aside.
- After 15 minutes of baking, remove the cake from the oven and carefully spread the vegan sour cream layer spoon by spoon evenly over the pre-baked cake. Carefully smooth it out with a spatula, then spread the coconut topping on top.
- Bake the cake for another 40 minutes (if the top gets too brown, you can loosely cover the cake with a piece of parchment paper).
- Turn off the oven and leave the cake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes with the oven door cracked.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan. Then remove, slice, and enjoy!
- Flour: Instead of all-purpose or spelt flour, you can use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. If using whole wheat flour, the cake will be denser.
- Sugar: If you use a dark sugar for the batter, the color of the cake will also be darker. However, the taste and consistency will not change very much.
- Applesauce: Instead of applesauce, you can also use the same amount of banana or pumpkin puree or soy yogurt or 2 flaxseed eggs (2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds mixed with 6 tablespoons of water, then let swell for 5 minutes).
- Vegan cream cheese: you can use the same amount of vegan mascarpone or vegan sour cream or try a mixture of 10 oz (275 g) silken firm tofu + 2.6 oz (75 g) vegan butter.
- Sheet cake: If you want to bake a sheet cake, I recommend using a small baking sheet or doubling the recipe. Depending on the baking pan, the baking time may vary. Smaller and flatter cakes are generally done sooner than large and tall cakes. A sheet cake only takes about 45 minutes total. The dough does not necessarily need to be pre-baked.
- Muffins: If you want to bake muffins or cupcakes with this Vegan Sour Cream Cake recipe, the total baking time is only about 35-40 minutes, including 5-10 minutes for pre-baking.
- For more helpful information on this recipe be sure to read the blog post above!
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