There’s nothing quite like the explosive flavour of a ripe and luscious Indian mango..slightly chilled, freshly cut, the flesh scooped and scraped off the skin and stone by happily dripping mouths. But this is a seasonal, short-lived bliss and though mango, as a flavour, is pretty high on most popularity charts, there are few products around that capture its true essence and taste with integrity. The insanely sweet, mustard-yellow pulp filled in oversized cans, promising the taste of a Ratnagiri Alphonso cannot stand up to the trickle of fresh fruit juice down one’s chin. Store-bought mango ice cream, with its tinny, wanna-be mango hints makes one yearn to be able to reach into mom’s freezer for the Kulfi pops filled with her signature stuff. The watered-down sap that masquerades in plastic bottles as mango ‘nectar’ isn’t half as winsome as the ambrosial amras from a Gujrati kitchen..smooth as silk and tinged with the faint sweetness of cardamom. Mango candy, mango froyo, mango jelly..all try really hard but can’t bring to your mouth the fragrant bite of a plump, juicy Banganapalli.
And so, dear reader, we come to the end of our rant against all things ‘mango-flavoured’ and to our recipe that celebrates and showcases the best of a good summer’s harvest – a Mango Gateau with golden morsels of the real fruit nestled inside a plush vanilla sponge, all topped and lavished with clouds of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
For the cake –
- 2 Eggs, at room temperature
- 1 Cup all-purpose flour sifted along with 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ Cup sugar
- ½ Cup water
- 1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°C/180°F. Line 2 small oval or round (8″) cake pans with parchment paper and generously butter the base and sides. Separate the eggs yolks and whites, saving the whites in a clean and dry medium bowl. In another mixing bowl add the yolks, flour, sugar, water and vanilla. Use an electric mixer and beat on high speed until well-mixed, about a minute. Separately whip the egg-whites into stiff peaks using clean and dry beaters.Fold in the whites into the batter.
Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then run a knife along the sides and turn them out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes.
¾ Cup cream, very cold, in a metal bowl
¼ Cup confectioners/icing sugar
½ Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
About a cup of mango juice
2 Cups mango chunks (set aside the best looking pieces for the top of the dessert)
Split each cake into 2 layers using a serrated knife. Place the bowl of cream atop a bed of ice and whip using an electric beater until soft peaks form. Beat in the icing sugar and vanilla. Place the bottom layer of 1 cake onto a serving plate. Use a spoon to drizzle the mango juice all over the cake, making sure that the edges are not over-looked. Spread some of the cream and top with some of the mango pieces. Place the next layer on top, again drizzle the juice, spread cream and then mango. Repeat for the next 2 layers. Decorate with swirls of cream and the reserved mango pieces. Chill and serve.