quitter’s mango sauce cake

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I am a quitter.  Yup, I am.  My life has been a progression of consecutive quitting and frankly I’m surprised I haven’t ended up a… (uh wait… maybe I have…).  And this is not some clever rhetorics people use as a prelude for self-flattery that usually come sneaked in the subtext.  No.  Really.  I major quit.  So the other day when I had a hunch about a cake but it came out just about as palatable as my high-school photos, my natural instinct urged me to stab my hunch in the back and return to my couch with my bag of cheetos and my romance with being a quitter (legs shaking and all).

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But the force was strong with this hunch.  I mean how can something so logical not work?  A mango sauce cake, a tropical twist on the traditional apple sauce cake where mango meets its best friend coconut?  It is practically physics!  What’s not to work?  Was it because I used premature mango for the puree therefore inherently gave the cake a premature death (the taste of un-ripened fruits is just… BLEH…)?  Was it the coconut milk that tasted 10% coconut but 90% factory water?   Was coconut milk and cream cheese icing not a good idea?  (Right.  Just forget that last line)  Gosh all this toxic persisting is hurting me!  But I pushed, switched fresh mangos with canned puree (because who am I kidding?  Northern China and good mangos?  Pfff…) and coconut milk with coconut cream.  The second try?  The cake pushed back…

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Given that the second cake was miles-ahead of the first one, it still wasn’t… QUITE there yet.  Arrrgh… (moaning… and twitching…), by now I really wish I could quote a historical quitter to justify my abandonment of this hunch but only to realize that we quitters are low-key creatures and don’t approve of all that vanity of being in history books.  How about “It takes true courage to admit your hunch is crap.”?  But something unprecedented in this kitchen has happened.  Unbelievable, monumental even.  I tested a recipe for the THIRD TIME!  Tweaking the ratio between the mango puree and coconut cream, adjusted the consistency of the batter slightly and adding that one pinch of salt in the icing was BAM but really… did you hear what I said about the THIRD TIME?  One and TWO and THREE!  And guess what?  My hunch was NOT crap.  This is one of the most moist and flavorful rustic cakes I’ve tasted, so delicious that I was a little upset to be left only a TINY piece of it while the rest taken away by Jason to a vulturing crowd.  Maybe there is something to persistence.  No harm to try it once in a decade is what I say.

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Ingredients: adapted from Martha Stewart’s apple sauce cake

  • Mango sauce cake:
    • 170 g (1 1/2 stick) of unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 1/2 cup of palm sugar (or use brown sugar if it’s absolutely unavailable)
    • 3 eggs, room temperature
    • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cups of mango pulp/mango sauce
    • 1/2 cup of coconut cream
    • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp of baking powder
    • 1/3 tsp of baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • Coconut cream icing:
    • 1 cup of powder sugar
    • 5~6 tbsp of coconut cream
    • 1/8 tsp of salt

Preheat the oven on 350ºF/175ºC.

If your palm sugar came in a log shape, chop it finely until it resembles coarse sugar.  In a stand mixer with a pedal attachment, cream the butter, sugar and palm sugar together until very fluffy and light in color.  This should take at least 5 min and I always stop the machine a couple times in between to scrape the bottom of the bowl for even mixing.  Then add the eggs one at a time.  Only add the next egg when the previous one is completely incorporated into the butter.  Then add the vanilla extract and let the machine run on medium-high speed for 4 min, until the butter/eggs mixture is whipped to a light and fluffy state.  It should expand in volume quite a bit.

Now add the mango pulp/sauce and coconut cream, and mix until combined.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl.  Add to the stand mixer and SLOWLY mix the dry ingredient into the wet ingredient until the batter JUST comes together.  You may  need to scrape the bowl a couple of times to help it mix evenly.

Lightly rub butter inside a 9″/23 cm bundt cake pan and dust it with flour.  Invert the pan and tap it a few times to release excess flour.  Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula.  Bake in the oven for 60~65 min, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Meanwhile, whisk the powdered sugar, coconut cream and salt together to form the icing.  Set aside.

Let the cake cool inside the pan for 20 min, then invert the pan the release the cake.  Dust the top of the cake with more powdered sugar and serve with coconut cream icing.

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6 Comments

  • Laura says:

    From one self-admitted quitter to another…. WELL DONE! Looks beautiful. One question – what is palm sugar and where can I find it?

    • Mandy L. says:

      Laura, palm sugar is a southeast Asian sugar used in almost all of their desserts instead of white sugar. It has a special aroma that’s quite different from brown sugar. You can find it quite easily online (the link I included is from Amazon) or I believe I’ve seen it in Wholefoods as well ;)

  • Jena says:

    “Gosh all this toxic persisting is hurting me!”
    you kill me. i love your blog. your recipes are fantastic, but your prose is even more so.

  • Your cake sounds absolutely divine! And p.s. I am a terrible quitter too.

  • That cake looks amazing! Such a vibrant, beautiful color. I love, love, love the idea of using mango purée in cake batter. Genius!

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