If someone asks me whether I am a pie girl or a cake girl, the answer would certainly be pie. I rarely eat cake. The buttercream frosting was the real turn off for me, until I discovered many different kind of cakes and frosting, and that helped, but I still like pies, tarts and pastries more than cake.
When I eat cake, I also like a fluffy, light cake more than a heavier, creamier one. I also prefer cake with a lot of fruits or nuts in it. I know I know it’s not a pie, it’s a cake, but I just can’t help it. I can let red velvet and chocolate cakes slip through the crack in my mind barrier somehow, but my red velvet version is also very fruity. I might even give you the recipe later if I feel like eating it or making it.
I only have a handful of cake recipes that my friends really like, among countless numbers of pie recipes. One of them is mango passionfruit cake, the one I’m making today. I happen to know a company in Orange County, CA who imports specialty produce, called Frieda’s. In Southern California, you can find Frieda’s produce at Sprouts, Vons/Pavilions, Ralphs, and Albertsons. Nationally, their produce is available in many retailers and through Amazon. You can contact Frieda’s to see if they can ship their products directly to you.
Right now I have beautiful New Zealand passionfruit from Frieda’s. They’re perfect. How can you tell which passionfruit is good? The best are smooth-skinned and feel heavy.
You probably mostly see passionfruit that are light and wrinkly. If you can’t find anything better, those aren’t terrible, but the ones I like to use are heavier and wrinkle free or just one dimple.
Passionfruit that was picked and kept for a while will lose the juice inside (I don’t know how), and thus get lighter and develop wrinkles on the skin. It normally tastes more sour too by that point.
The fresh one still has a hint of sweetness that the older one has lost. I’m not talking about women here even though it sounds like I am, but this is passionfruit, lighter when it gets older, not heavier, right?
Start by cutting the passionfruit in half,
then scoop all the beautiful seeds and the membrane around the seeds and collect them all in a sieve.
Then you to stir and squish them against the sieve until you get the most juice out of all the seeds and the membranes. From a dozen passionfruit, I’ll get around 2/3 cup juice.
You will need 4 components to compose the cake:
1) The sponge cake
2) The passionfruit syrup to brush on the cake
3) The mango, cut in cubes
4) The yogurt whipped cream frosting
5) The mango passion fruit jelly topping
First you make the cake. This is a very easy sponge cake.
1.1) Ingredients for the cake
Granulated sugar 90-105 g (I only used 90g)
Salt 1/8 teaspoon
All Purpose Flour 85 g
Corn Starch 10 g
Melted butter 35 g
1.2) Method for the cake
1.2.1) Beat the eggs with sugar and salt with a whisk
until white and fluffy.
Mine took about 5 minutes. You can tell by the color. It should be nearly white and have expanded about three times or more. With 3 eggs, you will get about 3 quarts. I doubled up the recipe
1.2.2) Mix the flour and corn starch together, then melt the butter in the microwave about 15-25 seconds and set aside. Turn the oven to 350ºF. If you have convection oven, start with 350ºF and no convection at first. Line a baking tray with a baking sheet.
I used a quarter sheet pan 13”x9”x1” with one portion of the recipe and half sheet baking pan for doubled portion. You can use 11”x11” or 12”x10” if that’s what you have.
1.2.3) Add the flour mixture into the eggs, using a spatula to mix. I add 1/3 of the flour mixture in the eggs and mix well before adding another 1/3, mixing well again, and then I mix in the rest of the flour. Try to mix them fast with as few strokes as possible.
1.2.4) Add the melted butter and mix as fast as possible, still making sure the mixture is smooth and well-combined.
1.2.5) Pour the mixture in the pan,
and bake for 10-12 minutes. I used the convection oven, so I turned on the fan and reduced the temperature to 325ºF. I baked mine for 12 minutes.
1.2.6) Take it out of the oven and let it cool on the rack.
While we’re waiting for the cake to cool down, we make the passionfruit juice gel.
2.1) Ingredients for the passionfruit syrup
Passionfruit juice 1/3 cups (If you didn’t get fresh passionfruit, you can use frozen juice)
Sugar 3-5 tablespoons (tasting it to see if you need the fourth and fifth teaspoons)
2.2) Method for passionfruit syrup
Just mix it and heat it in the microwave (1 minute) or cook it over medium heat until it bubble.
3) The cubed mangoes We have to cut up the mango. I used about 5 champagne mangoes, cutting them in cubes about 1/2” in size. We’ll need about 2 cups of cut-up mangoes.
The mango quality is as important as the cake, because we use a lot of them. You have to pick the sweet and soft ones. I used champagne mangoes because they’re sweeter, but in Australia I had calypso mango, which looks like a Mexican mango here in the US, red and slightly round and big. But the calypso mangoes in Australia were soft, ripe and sweet; I think the Mexican mangoes sold in the US aren’t picked at the right time because I really have a hard time ripening them. I can never find soft ones in the store, and once I get them soft at home, they’re never sweet.
Champagne mangoes are smaller and more oval in shape sometime they are referred to as “Yellow Mango”. This is completely opposite from the passionfruit. You have to wait until they wrinkled and soft.
4.1) Ingredients for the whipped yogurt frosting
Heavy cream 16 oz.
Greek yogurt 12 oz.
Sugar 100 g.
Salt 1/4 teaspoon
Gelatin 1 teaspoon
Water 2 tablespoon
4.2) Method for the whipped yogurt frosting
4.2.1) Bloom the gelatin in room temperature water (meaning put the gelatin powder in the water and let it sit until it expands and absorbs all the water). Try to dissolve every bit of the gelatin grain, though you won’t be able to do it, I’m pretty sure. So put the (almost completely) bloomed gelatin with one-two tablespoons of yogurt in the microwave for a minute and see if it dissolves. If not, keep putting it back in for 30 seconds at a time and stir until it’s all dissolved. Let it rest.
4.2.2) Whip the heavy cream with sugar until it has hard peaks and is really firm (just short of the cream splitting and turning into butter.) This is to prevent the frosting from sliding off the sides of the cake. If you don’t whip it enough, you will get soft, runny frosting.
4.2.3) Add the rest of the yogurt, whip the contents for 30 seconds, then add the gelatin by pouring it in in a thin stream, while still running the whisk at a low speed to prevent the gelatin from clumping when it touches the colder temperature.
4.2.4) If you are not ready to assemble the cake, keep the cream in the refrigerator.
5.1) Ingredients for Mango – Passionfruit jelly You can make this after you assemble the cake and you don’t need this for the cake in the jars.
Mango puree 2/3 cup
Passionfruit juice 1/3 cup
Sugar 1/3-1/2 cup
Gelatin 1 teaspoon
Water 2 tablespoons
Salt 1/8 teaspoon
5.2) Method for Mango – Passionfruit jelly
1) Bloom the gelatin in room temperature water.
2) Combine all the ingredients and about half of the sugar in a small pot and set it over low heat on the stove, stirring constantly with a whisk until it’s all dissolved and smooth. TASTE it to see if you like it. It should be sweet with a tang of passionfruit. Do not make it so sweet unless you really prefer it that way.
3) Let it bubble, and then turn off the heat right away. Let it cool off a little. When you eventually pour it on the cake, it should be near room temperature. Stir every once in a while to prevent a gelatin skin forming on the cooling surface.
Assemble the cake
Now you have all the components ready, and we’re ready to built the cake. I have to tell you that I’m not a great cake assemble girl nor an expert cake decorator. As I told you before, if someone ever asked, “cake vs. pie”, I would consider myself a pie girl. I don’t like dry cake and I particularly don’t like butter cream or fondant.
You will never find recipes for typical cakes in my blog because I don’t normally make them. I like to make more interesting cakes, like ginger molasses cake, bloody red velvet cake (using blood oranges) with cream cheese frosting, etc…(not really etcetera…only a few more recipes besides that!)
Sponge cake is considered a “healthier” version of cake because the ratio of flour to eggs is really low, meaning that it has more protein than the usual pound cake that has a lot of butter. Most cakes where the recipe tells you to “cream the butter with sugar before adding the egg” usually has much more fat and flour content than a sponge cake.
The drawback with sponge cake is the dryness, but you can fix it with syrup. Sorry, I can’t tell if your cake that you “pour the flour mix out of the box, then add milk and egg…” is healthy or not. I normally do not consider that a “cake”, but rather a chemical mixture that yields an end product with a cake-like texture after baking.
Furthermore, I add low-on-fat Greek yogurt to the frosting along with a lot of fruit. Do you know where am I going with this? Breakfast cake! Yes, I am eating this cake for breakfast 🙂 Complete nutrition for your most important meal of the day. Carbs from sugar and flour, fat from cream and butter, protein from eggs and yogurt , fiber from fruit. What else do you need?
So, how to build this cake?
6) Architecture of the cake
6.1) Cut the cake into 3 pieces and brush all of them with the passionfruit syrup
6.2) Put your first piece on a plate or sheet of cardboard. You need a strong support.
6.3) Put about 2 tablespoons of whipped yogurt frosting on the cake, and spread it all over the piece about 1/4” thick. I didn’t do this step and thought that I should, so the mango would have something to stick to and the frosting can filled in between the mango pieces better.
6.3) Evenly distribute 1 cup of cubed mango on the cake.
6.5) Put more whipped yogurt frosting on top of the mango, spread it and make sure that it goes in the space in between the pieces of mango. At the end you should have frosting about 1/4” thick above the mangoes.
6.6) Put the second piece of cake on top of the frosting and brush with passionfruit syrup. Repeat the process from #6.3-#6.5.
6.7) Add the third piece of cake, and before you go around on the third loop, remember that you should have used up all the mangoes and syrup. If you don’t remember, call the closest person to you and get your brain checked out ASAP.
6.8) Look around and you will find the rest of the frosting and the jelly. Put the frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Try your best to smooth it into a rectangular shape. Do all of this really fast and then put the cake in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
My first version of the frosting didn’t really set beautifully because I used too little gelatin, so I fixed the problem with ladyfinger cookies. I just put them all around the cake to hold the frosting together. If encounter the same problem, you can use my solution. If you follow this recipe closely, you shouldn’t need this trick, but you might if you didn’t beat the whip cream to the highest peaks. So the solution is still useful.
If you do have runny frosting, you can let the cake sit in the fridge longer than half an hour so the frosting will set further. The gelatin will do the work for you. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours. If, after 4 hours in the fridge, your frosting still runny, you are beyond help. Go buy the ladyfingers.
6.9) While you wait for the cake to set, do not forget the jelly; keep it at room temperature and stir occasionally. Once your cake is set, bring it out and smooth all the frosting one more time.
6.10) Pour your Mango – Passionfruit jelly over the top of the cake and let it flow to the sides.
6.11) Put the cake back in the fridge for another 30 minutes to let the jelly set.
This is another cake I made with the same cake and frosting but different fruits and syrup. I cut the mangoes when they were not ripen enough and of course too sour so, I change the passionfruit syrup to raspberry coulis and add blue berries and black berries. I just want to show you that if you do the frosting right, you can use the pastry bag with decorating head to pretend that you are a cake decorator and do this.
6.12) The cake is now ready–why wait? Cut it!
6.13) I also put these cakes in mason jars as an alternative. Why not? It makes it easier to take it with you to eat as breakfast. Do I need to tell you what to do to assemble the cake in a jar?
Thanks to Nok, Nittayaporn Ek and Aum, from VanillaOrchid (Sorry Aum’s recipe is in Thai) who introduced me to the sponge cake recipe from the Tartine Bakery cookbook that I already had a copy of at home!