Thursday, June 8, 2017

Baker's Corner: Fresh Mango Cake with Whipped Cream and a Dark Chocolate Collar

I know things have been a little quiet around here lately. My parents are in town and that has been a big welcome distraction. I love having family around....it makes coming back home after work feel all the more comforting. On the flip side, my last four weeks worth of exercise and healthy eating (in the valiant efforts to lose weight) have gone down the drain within a matter of days! All that has ever been said about a mother overindulging her children with food and exacerbating laziness is completely true! Not to mention, ever since my mum and dad set foot in my home, both my daughters attitude towards me has been on the lines of - Your kind services are no longer required. You may go now 😒 And these are kids who normally want me for everything. "Amma come here" "Amma help me", "Amma give bear hug", "Amma feed me", "Amma do this" Amma do that"......you get where I am going with this? The way things are right now, I could go on a week-long cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean and I don't think they would even notice (on second thoughts, that is not a bad idea at all!). Humph....toddlers! Not too big on gratitude are they? 😉

Anyway, I had been feeling guilty for not taking advantage of mango season this year. I had all these grand recipe ideas in my head but I failed to execute any of them. The mangoes that would make way to my household would be gone before I could do get creative with them. After a while, I just made peace with the idea that I wouldn't be featuring a recipe with mangoes on the blog anytime soon.

As luck would have it, just before my parents were due to arrive, I asked my husband to get a stash of alphonso mangoes from Little India in case they felt like eating some. On my parents arrival, I discovered they had brought with them a sackful of alphonso mangoes (that were bigger and better than the ones we had gotten!). I had about 12-15 mangoes in the refrigerator that were beginning to freak me out a little bit!

So, TADA!! Say hello to this vibrant fresh mango cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream and a dark chocolate collar. This was a very on-the-spur-of-the-moment kinda bake. We had family visiting us and I had already decided to bake a cake to commemorate a special occasion. A mental image of all those lovely mangoes lying around waiting to be consumed and it really was a no-brainer 💡


Believe it or not, this is not a very complicated cake. The vanilla sponge comes together quickly and the whipped cream can be made in a flash. After that it is a matter of frosting the cake (a very basic job will do), thinly slicing the mangoes, arranging them on a rosette pattern on top and making the chocolate collar. The latter two aspects are more time-consuming and requires a bit of patience.

I'm happy I attempted something different (and slightly out of my league too!). The cake turned out looking quite elegant, wasn't too sweet and was appreciated by everyone. I used up around 4 mangoes from my mango booty to make it. The rest have been slowly dwindling and we are now down to the last two!

So, I know that we are at the tail end of mango season and I may be a tad too late in bringing this recipe to you. But if you still have the king of fruit sitting around and you want to do something special with them then try this cake. If a cake decorating novice like me can pull it off then I'm pretty sure anyone can! 🙌

Fresh Mango Cake with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Collar

Preparation time: 20 min; Baking time: 50 min; Assembling time: 30-40 min
Makes: One round 20cm (8-inch) cake
Serves: 6-8
Recipe Category: Dessert/Western
Recipe level: Moderate
Recipe source: Adapted from here

Ingredients:

For the vanilla sponge:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
240gm all-purpose flour/plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
3-4 large fresh, firm mangoes

For the whipped cream:
1 tbsp caster sugar
250ml whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate collar:
100gm semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate bar (buy the real chocolate containing cocoa butter)

Method:

1. In a large bowl sift the all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder together.


2. In a bowl add butter and castor sugar. Cream them together until pale. You can use a hand held whisk or electric whisk.


3. Add eggs one by one and the vanilla extract and combine till creamy and light.


4. Slowly add the sifted flour to the wet ingredients and combine with spatula until moistened.


5. Pour this batter in a greased springform pan and smoothen the top with a spatula.


6. Bake in the preheated oven at 160 degree for 50 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let it cool down completely before removing it from the pan.

7. When the cake has cooled completely slice it horizontally into half using a sharp serrated knife, cake saw or string. Ideally, you should refrigerate for half an hour (I didn't).


8. Add the whipped cream in a chilled bowl and whip it along with the sugar and vanilla essence using a chilled whisk till stiff peaks are formed. A word of advice - once you reach the stage of soft peaks, proceed slowly and cautiously until you get stiff peaks. You don't want to over whip the cream as it will turn stiff, grainy and kinda gross.


9. Place the bottom slice of the cake on a cake stand. Chop a fresh mango into small chunks and spread it evenly over the surface of cake.


10. Spread a layer of whipped cream on top of mangoes and make it even using a palette knife. You can even use a spatula if you dont have a palette knife.


11. Place the other part of the cake on top of the whipped cream and mango mix. Take some whipped cream and smear it on the sides all along its circumference and top. It has to be thin layer, doesn’t matter if it is smooth or not.


12. Now for the top mango garnish, take firm mangoes, peel the skin and cut it into half, removing the seed. Then further cut halves into thin slices. Set aside. Once the cake has been frosted from all sides, start from the top centre. Arrange the mango slices on top, starting in the centre and then taking it outwards to mimic flower petals. Don’t place the slices deep into the cream. The more they remain superficial, the neater will be the overall look. Pop the cake into the fridge after you are done. Fill in any large gaps with remaining mango slices (if any).


13. Now you need to temper the chocolate. Place the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and heat it slowly till it just about melts. You need to stir it every 30 seconds so that it doesn’t burn. You can also use a double boiler to melt, whichever you think is more convenient. Pour the melted chocolate in a piping bag or ziploc without any nozzle and tighten the bag. Keep it aside to cool ever so slightly.


14. Now you have to measure the height of the cake, I used a ruler. It was 3 inches for my cake. Tear a sheet of parchment paper or acetate strip which covers the cake around completely and further trim its height matching to the height of your cake or a little taller. It was 3.5 inches in case of my cake.

15. Remove this parchment paper/acetate strip and place it on a smooth surface. Your piping bag with melted chocolate is ready, snip the end with scissors and make a small hole. Now spread the chocolate in circular motion, starting from one end and finishing the other, say left to right. Now repeat the same from right to left . You can make it as intricate as you want. The more layers you give it the more sturdy will be your chocolate collar. Try to pipe most of the chocolate within the confines of paper without too much of it extending outside the borders (mine went off the borders more than I wanted it to).

I didn't do a very good job probably coz it was the first time I was attempting anything like this and I was also in a bit of a hurry. You can try any kind of lacy or lattice pattern that you like.


16. Let the chocolate collar sit undisturbed at room temperature until the chocolate loses its sheen and has set, but not dried or become hard (if you leave it for a longer time and it sets fully you will not be able to mould it around the circular cake). You still want the chocolate to remain flexible, but you don't want it to be flowing, either. This may take a few seconds to several minutes. The time would depend on what kind of chocolate you have used and whether or not you have tempered it correctly. Do not put it in the fridge. Once it has partially set, remove the strip of parchment paper carefully with both your hands.

17. Place it around the cake with chocolate side inside, pushing it inside the cake carefully.

18. Once the chocolate collar has been placed around the cake, remove the parchment paper slowly without damaging the lace and breaking it..

19. Slice and serve.



Notes:

  • To rescue over whipped cream, you just add a few tablespoons of fresh cream and whisk it in by hand. As long as the over whipped cream hasn’t started to form clumps of butter, this will smooth out everything in just a few seconds. And be sure to whisk it in by hand, so you don’t overdo it yet again
  • Don't use mangoes that are overripe and soggy. We need mangoes that are sweet yet firm so they can be cut into neat thin slices for decorating
  • The sugar in the whipped cream is optional. You can skip it entirely
  • If the chocolate warps or collar collapses on keeping the cake at room temperature, it probably means that the chocolate has not been tempered properly



Cheers,
Megha

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