{Baking} MANGO VANILLA BAVARIAN CREAM CAKE … and a FOOT for MacTweets!

Through flour, sugar, butter and eggs, you’ve created the best recipe ever – friendship!
Janet @ LaDue & Crew

Yes, still summer here, with the rains that came and went, leaving us in a puddle of hot and humid misery. Not the perfect weather for macs, but then again, it was the finding my feet time of the month. Needless to say, they proved elusive again. The theme Jamie and I picked at MacTweets was ‘SING, SING A SONG‘, asking you to cook up something special, something toe-tapping, sing-along good! Sing I did, and the numbers being belted out in my mind were wide ranging. Primary of course the theme song from Friends, I’ll Be There For Youwhich I was going to dedicate my macs to… had they found feet.

It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year
But … I’ll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you (like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you (because you’re there for me too)

To Bina who mailed me egg white powder from the States, to Ednah {Janet} who posted the cutest friends card for me, Johnny Depp and all, {a joke we share on twitter at the laundry club}, to Jamie who is the spirit behind my macs, to Ken who inspired the yellow, to Mardi my partner in humid conditions failed macs, to Barbara who’s become a mac-pro …

… and to all the gang at MacTweets for the inspired ‘feet‘ month after month! Thanks for joining Jamie and me at the ‘attack‘!

Songs have always been part of my life. The medley that the juke box plays in my head these days includes Waka Waka, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, Wind Beneath My Wings, Walk of Life, Hey Soul Sister, The Day I Died, Fast Cars, Hey There Delilah. Then Jamie mentioned Cat Stevens and Leonard Cohen; she had me nodding. Add to that Dire Straits, Eagles, Van Morrison, Beegees, Barbara Streisand, Eric Clapton … the list is endless, like failed feet sagas! So well, in my little world, I had many ugly feetless macarons, and one kind of respectable ‘foot’, but they were all delicious. So here, like Cinderellas glass slipper, is my vanilla macaron with a white chocolate ganache cushioned on this Mango Vanilla Bavarian Cream Cake that I made for my Dad’s birthday. The idea was to have a whole bunch of them adorning the cake. Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be …
My Dad is as fruit obsessed as I am, though the choice of fruit differs. Summer means only mangoes for him, and though he doesn’t enjoy eating them, he is obsessed with buying kilos of them every other day. I know if the phone rings in the morning, it’s him on the other end, asking me to drive by and collect a bag of mangoes! I am mad about peaches and cherries, and it now appears that I inherited the fruit obsession from him!
So he called the other day, excitedly to tell me that a new local variety of mango, ‘langda’, that hit the market, and he had bought me some! I don’t even bother buying them now because he has a keen eye for the well ripened good varieties, and always delivers the best! Since it was his birthday in 2 days, and me being the official cake baker at home, I knew just what I wanted to bake! – A Bavarian Cream Cake with mangoes, inspired by this Raspberry Rose Vanilla Bavarian Cream Cake I had seen ages ago on Tartlette.
Baking the sponge is a cake walk {unlike making macs, sigh}, because there’s very little to the recipe. Use your favourite light sponge recipe, or use this one which I used for making ladies fingers in this Tiramisu here. I was going to make the cake in a jelly roll pan, and then decided to pipe it out since the piping bag for a macaron attempt was lying right there. The secret to a good sponge is to beat it well, and then try and retain as much beaten air as possible while folding in the flour. The measures for a 3egg sponge are in my head as I use the same recipe for making a Swiss roll often … 3 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour!
The Bavarian cream is a little time consuming, but I think that’s because I don’t make it often enough. I’ve just made it twice in the past – in this Peaches and Cream Cake  and this Strawberry Bavarian Cream Cake. One vanilla bean would do fine in there to dispel off any eggy smells in the pastry cream, but I used 2 because I wanted a deeper vanilla flavour. Also, I have enough vanilla beans on hand,and love using them! I used low fat cream because we don’t get heavy cream here.I halved Helen’s recipe for the Bavarian cream, and used a combination of skimmed milk and low fat cream. You can make this cake with peaches, strawberries or raspberries too. Mango is in season now, so here we are… 

Mango Vanilla Bavarian Cream Cake
Adapted from Tartlette

2 sponge bases
1 quantity Bavarian cream
1 quantity lime syrup
3 medium mangoes, diced into cubes

 For the sponge

3 large eggs separated 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 sachet vanilla sugar 

Method:
Whip the yolks with 1/4 cup sugar till pale and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.
Sift the flour over the beaten yolks and leave.
wash the beaters clean, whip the whites with the salt to soft peaks, add sugar and whip to a stiff meringue.
Fold the whites into the yolks and flour in 3 goes. Do this gently so as not to lose volume. Divide it into half and bake in 2 parchment paper lined 8″ shallow baking tins, or pipe into 2 9″ circles drawn on parchment paper. The bases will be very thin. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar
Bake for 12-15 minutes till golden brown and spongy.
Peel off paper, and cool completely on racks.

For the Vanilla Bavarian Cream
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 vanilla beans {One bean will do too. I wanted a DEEP vanilla flavour}
1 1/4 tablespoons powdered gelatin, sprinkled over 3 tbsps water {Can reduce to 1 tbsp in cool weather}
600ml low fat cream {25% fat}

Method:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale.
In the meantime, in a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk, 200ml cream and the vanilla bean {split open and scraped over the milk} to a boil. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon {as if making creme anglaise}. 
Remove the vanilla bean. Add the softened gelatin and stir until melted completely into the cream. Let cool to room temperature, or cool over an ice bath, stirring from time to time, till it just begins to set.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold it into the cooled cream base. Use immediately.
Lime Syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1 lime
Method:
Put all ingredients in pan over medium heat and stir till melted. Remove and cool.
To Assemble:
Trim both the sponges to an 8″ diameter {The idea is basically to fit snugly into the dessert ring, or Spring-form tin ring that you plan to use. It has to hold the Bavarian cream in place till it sets, else it will ooze out.}
Place the dessert ring on a serving platter, add one sponge base and brush with lime syrup. Top with the cooled Bavarian cream. Add the diced mango pieces uniformly over the Bavarian, and top with the second layer of sponge, keeping the vanilla sugar side facing up. Press down gently, cover the ring with cling-wrap, and chill for 6-8 hours, or better overnight.
 ♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
Would you like to win 500 customised business cards? You can leave a comment here before the 17th of July 2010 …

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

STRAWBERRY BAVARIAN CREAM CAKE… for my daughter!

“When you make a cake, you truly express your desire to please the people you love, and show them how much you care.”
Roland Meisner
Time flies, and how! It’s was the daughter’s 14th birthday and as busy as every 2nd January has been since the day she was born. We barely recover from the kids New Year eve excitement, and there it is, her big day staring us in the face. What cake are you making for me she  religiously asks the day before? This year the situation was different. There was a huge power grid failure and our entire region was gripped with dense fog. My cake plans underwent many changes as time progressed. No power meant that filling couldn’t be whipped, and neither could frosting. Thankfully I had baked the sponge a day before!

This year I was spoilt for choice since I had 2 boxes of delicious strawberries on hand as they are just showing up in the market. Also have been fortunate enough to receive many new baking books I was itching to try out, and exciting dessert ideas off blogs and web sites. This is what the holiday season does to you; spoils you with so much visible eye candy, that you want to try everything at once. Strawberries in the market doesn’t seem to make it simpler, just widens the horizon!

I grabbed 2 books of my shelf for inspiration. One the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Cakes’, and the other Roland Meisner’sBasic to Beautiful Cakes’. The latter is a beautiful cake decoration book that I won at a cake decoration competition run by Lis and Ivonne at the Daring Kitchen for this Cinnamon Buttercream Autmn Cake. Both books are bursting with great cake ideas, and I eventually zeroed on the second one. Basic to Beautiful Cakes shows how to create desserts that can be beautifully embellished to serve any occasion by using a small set of foolproof cake recipes.

Roland Mesnier is a French-American Pastry chef and culinary writer. Basic to Beautiful Cakes is a book by this legendary White House pastry chef, and Lauren Chattman. It is inspirational in every way, and the narrative before each recipe is very engaging. The author adds a little trivia about who and why he made that particular cake for, and in some cases the reactions to it! It’s lovely!!
The book includes an enviable array of fruit cakes, dairy and wheat free cakes, nut, chocolate and coffee cakes amongst still many others! There is also a section dedicated to decoration basics, and basic filling, frosting,glazes and syrups etc, as also one on basic recipes at the very end which spans everything from pastry creams, whipped creams, sauces, to fillings.

I saw the Summertime Strawberry Cake in his book (yes I am aware this is the peak of winter, LOL), and that inspired my Bavarian cream cake. My cake is similar in essence and would have made the base cake from the book, had it not been for the added 1 stick of butter. Decided to fall back on my Swiss roll cake recipe, an airy and light fatless option, I wasn’t sure it would work well as a cake base, but it certainly did.

For the filling I decided on a Bavarian cream for many reasons. Primarily because of the power failure. Also because the kids loved it when I had made it earlier from Tartlettes for this Peaches and Cream Cake, and finally, because I needed to collect whites for making macarons for MacTweets! Three birds with one stone …yes!

The Bavarian cream is inspired by this recipe by Michale Symon on Food Network. Not sure if it was supposed to be firmer, but worked fine for me even though I used 25% low fat cream. I think you could decrease the gelatin by a 1/4 tbsp if you use whipping cream.

I did initially want to leave the strawberries peeking out of the sides of the cake, but was inspired by Ria‘s post to try making a different border. I had already topped the cake with a dark chocolate ganache, as we can’t have a birthday cake sans chocolate, so I tried a white chocolate piped border. The white chocolate we get here doesn’t melt as easily and smoothly as the dark chocolate, so it wasn’t a very easy task. I managed something anyway, and here’s what it looks like…

To make a border for the cake, measure the height of the border that you would like, and the circumference of the cake. Cut our parchment paper to this measure and squiggle patterns or doodle with melted chocolate on it. (If you are unsure, keep a pattern under the parchment and trace out with melted chocolate). Wait for it to almost set, where the paper is still flexible and the chocolate is not set hard. Wrap it around the cake and press gently to the frosted sides so that the pattern sticks to the sides. Mine didn’t hold a 100% because I didn’t frost the sides, but it was fine anyway. Gently peel off the parchment.

Strawberry Bavarian Cream Cake
Inspired by Summertime Strawberry Cake by Roland Meisner
Sponge
6 eggs, separated
1 cup flour
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided into 2 bowls
Method:
Separate the yolks and whites.

With clean beaters, whip the whites with 1/2 cup sugar until firm. Keep aside
Add the remaining sugar to the yolks and beat until tripled in volume or all the sugar has dissolved and the yolks are pale and creamy, about 8-10 minutes
Now add 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and fold in gently so as not to release any beaten in air. Sift in half the flour and fold in gently, followed by 1/3 beaten whites, then remaining flour, and finally remaining beaten whites. Gently turn into prepared tin, and bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
Remove from tin immediately, peel off parchment and cool completely on rack.

Filling

as adapted from this recipe here
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup + 3 tbsps milk
1 1/4 tbsps gelatin (reduce to 1 tbsp if you use high fat cream)

400m cream (25% fat)

400gms strawberries (Reserve some for garnishing) 
Method:
Whisk the egg yolks with a balloon whisk with 1/3 cup of vanilla sugar until smooth.
Simmer 1/2 cup of milk and 200ml cream with 1 scraped vanilla bean, bean included. Turn off heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes.
Bloom gelatin in 3 tbsps of cold milk
Put the pan back on simmer. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, take it off the heat and whisk into the yolk mix, somewhat like in French pastry cream.
Return to a heavy bottom pan, and place on medium heat until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly.
Take off and whisk in bloomed gelatin. Strain and leave to cool. (You can quicken the cooling by stirring the bowl held over a bowl of ice.)
Once it is completely cooled, whip 200ml of cream with 1-2 tbsps of Castor sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and fold it into the custard gently but thoroughly. You will notice the Bavarian thickening.
While the custard is cooling, slice the sponge into two, and gently paint with some sugar syrup with a little lime juice added. (like in this pineapple sponge here, note at the bottom). This moistens the sponge a bit.
Place the lower layer on your serving platter within a cake/dessert ring. Arrange chopped strawberriesand top with the cooled Bavarian cream. Place the top layer over it, and gently push over topping to level it. Cling wrap entire thing, and chill for 8 hours, preferably overnight for the Bavarian to set.

Unmold gently.

Topping:

Make a dark chocolate ganache with 150gms dark chocolate and 2-3 tbsps cream. I eyeball the amounts. We just need enough for the top.
Whisk with a spoon till smooth and shiny. Leave to cool. It will thicken as it cools.
Spread over the top layer, allowing some to drizzle over the sides. Use it before it becomes too firm or it will be difficult to spread smoothly.
Top with chocolate shavings and reserved strawberries.

Border with chocolate lace if desired.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

The kids enjoyed the cake A LOT, as we did, and had a great time yesterday!

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