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One of the yummiest birthday cakes I have baked this year, this delicious mango cake is the perfect centerpiece for a birthday on a hot summer day. The slices of fresh mango paired with the tangy blend of mascarpone and cream cheese atop a delicate sponge cake is a real delight to the taste buds. The Australian Women’s Weekly Cake Baking, from which the recipe is taken, has many more fantastic offerings I need to have a go at. For now, I’d carry on with my brother’s birthday celebration and indulge some more of that irresistible homemade cake.
MANGO & MASCARPONE SPONGE CAKE
For the Sponge Cake
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
1/4 tsp baking soda
For the Mascarpone Filling
250g cream cheese
200g mascarpone cheese
90g unsalted butter
1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 small mangoes, peeled
1/4 cup shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the base and sides with baking paper.
- Beat eggs and 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer for about 8 minutes until thick and creamy.
- Triple sift flour, corn flour and baking soda together. Fold it into the beaten egg mixture until combined.
- Spread mixture into prepared pan and bake for about 20-30 minutes until the cake springs back to touch.
- Turn out cake onto a clean towel or sheet of baking paper and cool to room temperature before decorating.
- For the filling, bring cream cheese and butter to room temperature. Beat them along with the mascarpone.
- Add the coconut extract and the icing sugar in 2 batches, beat until fluffy. Slice the peeled mangoes thinly.
- Cut the sponge cake horizontally into 2 halves and sandwich with the mascarpone filling and mango slices.
- Frost the sides and top of the cake with remaining filling and garnish with the mango slices and coconut.
Lisa Cifelli, co-founder of The Daring Kitchen [originally The Daring Bakers] passed away unexpectedly this November. Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Lis, understands how much she will be missed. Her big heart, incredible sense of humor, epic emails, and mad organization skills were legendary. I would like to thank Kelly for creating this event through which I would like to pay tribute to Lis, our Daring Bakers queen, by baking a special something in her memory. I thought it would be best to select a recipe from her own blog, La Mia Cucina, which she kept active with her witty posts till 2010.
Her “Best Ever” carrot cake was my final choice but it took me a long time to make up my mind from the list of delicious sounding desserts on her recipe index. Though I never met her personally, my first and only contact with Lis was the time when I asked to be a Daring Bakers host and she graciously replied that she could have me for the September 2014 challenge. “I’m always around if you need me for anything.. questions, help, etc.” was the closing line of that very exciting email I received some months ago.
Indeed, Lis has always been there to introduce us to our monthly challenges, to answer our queries and to ensure the smooth running of our baking community. Her sudden departure will leave a huge void in our midst and she will be sorely missed by all of us who saw in her a talented baker, a genuine friend and a warm and caring human being. My sincere condolences go to her family and loved ones and may she rest in peace forever.
LIS’S BEST CARROT CAKE
For the Carrot Cake
6 cups grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins, soaked
4 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
For the Frosting
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes, then stir in raisins.
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour two 10-inch cake pans. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light.
- Gradually beat in white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in pineapple. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Finally stir in the carrot mixture and walnuts. Pour into prepared pans.
- Bake the cakes for 45 to 50 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the centre of the cakes.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.
- For the cream cheese frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy in a medium bowl.
- Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioner’s sugar. Sandwich the cakes together with frosting.
- Spread the remaining cream cheese frosting over the sandwiched cakes and smooth out with an offset spatula.
- Decorate the frosted cake with chopped nuts or carrot shaped candy if desired. Makes 10-12 generous servings.
Rest in Peace, Lis
The French madeleine is a small cake-like treat with a consistency lighter than the traditional sponge cake and is baked in a special pan with shell-shaped depressions. This, together with the prominent ‘hump’, is what give the madeleine its distinctive look. We must however not forget that the aesthetics should always be paired with perfect taste and texture. To be called perfect, a freshly baked madeleine should brown and slightly crisp on the outside and spongy and soft on the inside. Those who have experience with handling sponge cake batter should have no difficulty with this but novice bakers may find it somewhat tricky to achieve the correct consistency. The last moment addition of melted butter should be done with love and patience to prevent dry or rubbery outcomes.
It was my very first time baking in a silicone pan so I was naturally apprehensive about the end result. Indeed, I was rather doubtful whether this strangely flexible mold would resist the oven heat and I froze the batter for a good 2 hours, as instructed by the David Lebovitz recipe, before subjecting the pan and my precious batter to high temperatures. When I checked on my madeleines after the prescribed 8 minutes baking time, I found the underside relatively pale compared to cakes baked in metal pans. I therefore flipped them over and left them to brown for an extra minute on the topmost oven shelf which quickly make up for the lacking golden hue.
LEMON GLAZED MADELEINES
For the Madeleines
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder, optional
zest of one small lemon
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
Additional melted butter for preparing the molds
For the Lemon Glaze
3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
- Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess.
- Place in the fridge or freezer. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip eggs, granulated sugar and salt.
- Mix for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened. Sift flour and baking powder over egg & sugar mixture.
- Use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter.
- Then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while folding to incorporate the butter.
- Fold just until all the butter is incorporated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate batter for at least 1 hour.
- Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation which will fill it by three quarter its capacity.
- Do not spread the batter. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until the madeleines just feel set. Do not over bake.
- Make the glaze in a small bowl by stirring together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.
- Tilt madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they are cool enough to handle, dip each in the glaze.
- Turn them over to make sure both sides are coated with glaze and scrape off any excess with a dull knife.
- Rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.
- Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they are best eaten the day they are made.
- They can be kept in a closed container for up to three days after baking. Makes 15 lemon-glazed madeleines.