It seems that mango is one of those fruit flavors that people either love or hate. Because I happen to love it, I decided to use it as the star ingredient in a filling for a vanilla layer cake. For this I made a mango curd, which is sweet and delicious, with a texture that’s slightly thinner than lemon curd. To keep the filling from seeping out between the cake layers, I spread some buttercream onto each layer, and then piped a ring of frosting around the edge of the cake to dam the mango curd. Happy to say it worked perfectly, and I love the juicy texture of the curd. To make the curd, you can use fresh or frozen mangoes, pureed in a food processor, or a canned puree, as noted below. I used a lime soaking syrup to moisten the cake layers, and frosted the cake with a satiny white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream.
Makes one 9-inch layer cake, serving 12-16
- ¾ cup mango puree*
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large (100 grams) eggs
- 2 large (37 grams) egg yolks
- Pinch of salt
- 5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and slightly softened
*For the puree, you can either puree the flesh of fresh red mangoes (about 2 ½) or use canned unsweetened mango pulp, such as this one.
Vanilla Sour Cream Cake:
- 2 ½ cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 large (250 grams) eggs, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (181 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (161 grams) neutral vegetable oil (I use safflower oil)
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
Lime Soaking Syrup:
- 1/3 cup (78 grams) water
- 3 tablespoons (45 grams) freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
White Chocolate Vanilla Buttercream:
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
- 3 tablespoons (44 grams) water
- 1 pound (454 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
- 3.5 oz (100 grams) high-quality white chocolate, chopped
- 1 ripe mango
Make the Mango Curd:
- Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk the mango puree with the lemon juice, sugar, eggs and egg yolks. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is hot and steam begins to rise from it (do not allow it to boil). At this point, begin whisking in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking until each piece of butter is almost completely melted before adding the next. Continue to cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it is thickened enough so that a path remains in a coated spatula when you run your finger through it. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the curd through the fine-mesh sieve, into the bowl. Set the bowl into a larger bowl filled one-third of the way with ice water. Allow the curd to stand, stirring occasionally, until it is cold. Remove the bowl from the ice bath, cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until well chilled.
Make the cake:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325˚ Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round x 3-inch high cake pan (you can use a springform pan if you don’t have a regular cake pan). Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, cut to fit. Dust the sides of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the salt and gently whisk to combine well. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, begin whipping the eggs at medium speed. Gradually add the sugar, 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip until the mixture is thick and pale, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, oil and vanilla. When the egg mixture has been whipped, add the sour cream mixture to the bowl and mix at medium speed just until blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients one-third at a time, mixing just until blended and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 75 to 80 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan, set on a wire rack, for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto a cake and cool completely.
Make the soaking syrup:
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, lime juice, and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally just to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand at room temperature until ready to use. (If you make the syrup more than 1 hour before using it, cover and refrigerate it.)
Make the buttercream:
- Pour enough water into a skillet so that it comes 1/2-inch up its sides. Bring the water to a simmer; reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, egg whites, and water. Place the bowl in the skillet of water and whisk gently until the mixture is hot to the touch and registers 140˚F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Transfer the bowl to the mixer stand and, using the whisk attachment, beat at medium-high speed until the meringue is cool and forms stiff, shiny peaks, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Beat at high speed until the buttercream is smooth, about 1 minute.
- Place the white chocolate in a small bowl with 1 ½ tablespoons water and place the bowl over a small pot of barely simmering water. Heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Add the melted chocolate to the buttercream while mixing at low speed and mix until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and mix the buttercream by hand with a rubber spatula until completely smooth. Set aside about 2/3 cup of the buttercream to garnish the top of the cake. Put the remaining buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip.
Assemble the cake:
- Using a long, serrated knife, cut off the domed top of the cake so that it is completely level. (Save that piece for snacking – chef’s privilege.)
- Put the chilled Mango Curd in a disposable pastry bag or Ziplock bag. Using the serrated knife, cut the cake layer horizontally in half, then cut each half horizontally in half to make a total of 4 cake layers. Place one of the layers on a cardboard cake round or cake plate and using a pastry brush, soak it with some of the Lime Soaking Syrup. Pipe some of the buttercream into the center of the cake layer – you want just enough to spread a thin layer over the cake. Spread the buttercream evenly over the cake layer. Then pipe a ½-inch ring of buttercream around the edge of the cake. Pipe a spiral of the Mango Curd in the center of the ring, spiraling it out the edge. Using the back of a spoon, spread the curd into an even layer that fills the buttercream ring (you will use ¼ to 1/3 cup of the curd for this). Top with another cake layer and repeat the soaking and layering with the buttercream and mango curd, ending with the last cake layer. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the top and sides of the cake (this is a crumb coat). Refrigerate the cake for about 20 minutes, to chill the buttercream.
- Spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sides of the cake, making the buttercream as smooth as possible.
- Put the reserved buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a 0.63-inch open star tip (such as Ateco #828). Pipe large star dollops around the edge of the cake.
- Cut the pit off the mango and cut the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes. Place a few cubes on top of the cake, for garnish. Serve the cake at room temperature. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator.