Mango Mania

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Mango is the Philippines’ national fruit so it should go without saying that the Mango Chiffon cake is the national cake. Of course, I don’t really know if that is true. If it isn’t, it should be because nothing brings out the decadence of mango quite the same way as a chiffon cake. All other Filipino mango desserts are laden with cream or, worse yet, condensed milk. Don’t get me wrong, cream….good, condensed milk….good. But a cake is refined and chiffon cake is the epitome of elegance. The name alone when spoken evokes sophistication, like saying ‘Channel’ or my favorite name brand to say, ‘Givenchy’ (I don’t own anything Channel or Givenchy. I just like saying them). Last year, thanks to my trusty iPhone and that thing they call the Internet, I found a recipe for and the time to make mango chiffon cake.

The part of me that comes from a family of caterers felt selfish about this recipe particularly since I made improvements and special additions of my own. My mother always keeps her recipe a secret and when revealing any recipe to us, she prefaces it by saying, “the secret is…..”, which means ‘don’t share it!’ But considering how generous food bloggers are and how much I’ve come to rely on them, I feel I owe it to the world of food blogging and to all the Pinterest pinners to share my own discoveries even if nobody ever reads it. It’s like that whole if a pin drops in the forest type of thing, would one more blog make a difference? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but I feel somehow this would strengthen my cooking karma. So here it is, my very first blog which I dedicate to my mom and aunt who taught me how to make light and tender chiffon cakes.

Like I said, it’s not very easy extracting recipe from my mother. But last summer, I found myself with access to boxes of fresh and sweet mangoes. I went online and found Manila Mango Chiffon Cake from the blog Asian in America. Hers was the recipe closest to what I can recall from my mom’s coveted Sylvia Reynoso recipe (Mrs. Reynoso is a popular cooking instructor in the Philippines). The recipe called for a straight out butter icing for frosting and filling. This summer, however, was a time of adventure for me. I couldn’t settle for a simple whipped butter and icing sugar frosting. I felt extravagant and daring coming off a difficult pregnancy. I wanted more work than what I already had (being on mat leave with a 5 month old and a 4 year old was apparently not keeping me busy). So I decided to changed up the filling and use mango curd instead. I relied on Smitten Kitchen’s Mango Curd to lead me to the world of curds. From then on, curds have become essential components to my cakes.

For the icing, I had been fascinated by the idea of Swiss Merengue buttercream ever since I started following Baking911.com. They posted on Instagram a most vibrant blueberry buttercream. I used this recipe and replaced the blueberry with mango and the result was one of the best ever icing I have ever made.

By piecing together all these recipes, I created a memorable, refined mango cake that is worthy of Marie Antoinette and even my mom!

In total, it took me 2 days to put this cake together but I’m a mom of two so there are lots of distractions. I would say, aside from leaving the curd to set overnight, four hour prep time is enough. Trust me, every minute spent making this cake is worth it. Enjoy!

Mango Chiffon Cake

For the curd

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 1 to 1.5 cups

1 1/2 cup puréed mango (you can purée fresh mangoes or when out of season, use canned mango pulp)
1/3 cup sugar (you can reduce this if you find that your mango is sweet on its own)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (the original recipe calls for lime but I never have lime so I used lemons instead)
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

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Whisk together in a metal bowl the strained mango purée, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and yolks until blended. Set metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk puree until thickened and thermometer registers 170°F., about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from simmering water. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

For the cake
Adapted from Asian in America

for the yolk batter

2 cups of cake flour
1/2 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for 3/4 cup but I prefer the cake to be less sweet leaving room for the sweetness of the curd and the buttercream)
1 tbsp baking powder
7 egg yolks
1/2 cup of corn oil
1 cup of puréed mango or the pulp
1 tsp lemon extract

for the egg white batter

7 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar (again, this is less than the original recipe)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease and line two 9″ x 2″ round cake pans.

Sift together the cake flour, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In your stand mixer, beat using your whisk attachment at high speed the egg white and cream of tartar. When high peaks are formed and no bubbles left, gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Once all the sugar has been incorporated and hard peaks form, set aside.

In the bowl of the dry ingredients, make a well for all the wet ingredients. You may beat this at medium speed using your paddle attachment or simply whisk manually until well blended. Whether by electric mixer or by hand, this process takes approximately 3-5 minutes.

Finally, fold the yellow batter into the white batter in 3-5 batches to avoid collapsing the egg white mixture. This is where the lightness of the chiffon does or doesn’t happen. Always bear in mind that folding is not the same motion as mixing. The lighter your hand is, the lighter the cake will be. It is chiffon after all.

Pour batter into pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. I find that newer ovens like mine bake faster so I check for doneness at the 25 minute mark and add more time if needed. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before running a knife around the cake and inverting it. I know it can be tempting to invert right away but the cooling stage is just as important for the setting of the cake.

For the buttercream, I made no other changes except for the mango purée so follow the link below

Swiss merengue buttercream

Assembly

Brush the cake with sugar water or any leftover mango purée and layer with the mango curd as your filling. Crumb coat the cake with frosting and chill for at least 1 hour before frosting. The buttercream can be made days in advance and kept in a tightly sealed container in the fridge or freezer.

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I hope you enjoy this cake the way that I do and I hope you were amused by my humble attempt at blogging!

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8 thoughts on “Mango Mania

  1. I’m so glad you started this blog and that your first post is about this beautiful mango chiffon cake. I remember seeing your stunning photos on Facebook and Instagram and wanting to dive face first into it. You have a wonderful speaking voice (I LOVE the line about Chanel and Givenchy – hilarious!) and it’d be a shame to keep it from the world! I can’t wait to see all the delicious foods that you blog about. Welcome to the world of blogging – you’re going to love it!

    • Thanks Nancy! I’ve been meaning to do this but there’s a steep learning curb in doing a blog. I have to say the writing part is fun. I will have a lot of questions for you this Sat:)

  2. It’s about time! Great post!
    I can’t wait for more. The only down side is that I won’t be there to taste all of your future decadent creations.

    • Hahaha. I’m hoping that blogging will be my incentive to keep making new and exciting food. I’m worried once I go back to work in a few weeks, all that will come out of my kitchen will adobo and spaghetti.

  3. Congrats Ali! I always look at your food pics and I must say that I really want to try to make this cake. I use mango curd when making cupcakes so I know that in chiffon cake it will be more delicious. I’m looking forward to reading more blogs and following your recipes. I wish we’re neighbors. We’ll be cooking and eating all the time.

    • Thanks Jen. This cake will go oh so well with your cooking! I actually thought about you when I was writing this because you asked me for the recipe but I never got around to giving it to you. I’ll be blogging about ube cake too so stay tuned.

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