Make the Sugar Syrup
Heat the sugar and mandarin juice in a small pot until the sugar has dissolved.
Simmer on low for 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave to cool completely.
Make the Cake
Preheat a fan forced oven to 160C.
Line the base and sides of a deep round 20cm cake tin.
Cream the butter, sugar and zest in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
Add eggs in one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer.
Add in sour cream and stir with a spatula.
Sift in flour and stir until just mixed through.
Add in almond meal, mandarin juice and vanilla. Stir until just combined.
Pour mix into prepared tin.
Bake for 1 hour 20 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Use a skewer to poke holes into the top of your cake once it comes out of the oven,
Pour the prepared mandarin syrup over the top of your cake and let it sit for 15mins inside the tin to allow for the syrup to soak in.
After 15 mins, remove your cake from the tin onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
Decorate your Cake (1)
You can simply top your cake with fresh mandarins.
Just slice a few mandarins in half.
Leave some halves with their peels intact and peel the others to reveal the segments.
Decorate your Cake (2)
Heat 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 mandarin juice in a small pot. Once the sugar dissolves, simmer until the syrup thickens and starts to darken.
When the syrup has thickened, remove from the heat and let it cool completely.
Once cooled, add in 1/4 cup mandarin juice and mix into the syrup to loosen it so that you can pour it.
Whip 300mL thickened cream with 3T icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
Smear cream on top of your cake, leaving a small clear border without cream.
Drizzle prepared syrup over the cream.
Let most of the syrup pool in the centre at the top of the cake. Allow some of the syrup to drip down the sides of the cake.
Decorate your Cake (3)
Decorate as per suggestion in (2) above.
Top with prepared mandarins from suggestion (1) above.