Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Daily Grind and an Elaborate Cake

Recipe: Mango and Bavarian Cream Cake

"Yes! We did it", I exclaimed grinning...
My 5 year old son and I made it on time to catch his school bus in the morning inspite of the hurried crazy rush at home...

Every week day morning is rushed in my house, especially the couple of hours between waking and dashing out through the door to go to work/school.

Just a couple of minutes of waiting for the school bus and I felt that something was missing. But then I feel that way every morning and just brushed the thought aside. It finally dawned on me!

Where was my son's school bag???

I had forgotten to take it from the house!!!!

I could have kicked myself if it were possible. Here I am.. waiting for the school bus to send my son to school and I forget his school bag?!?! 

Even though I was feeling stupid and frustrated, my son and I rushed back home (which, by the way, is on the 6th floor of the apartment on the other side of the busy road and the apartment has an even busier elevator), took the bag and came back to the bus stop, gasping for breath.

Moments after getting back, the school bus came! The bus was late that day and hence we didn't miss it. Thank goodness! Something positive!

My mornings are usually crazy some way or the other. And adding to the problem is that I'm not a morning person. I'm my dullest worst in the mornings. I also keep forgetting important things when I try to multitask to save time because I'm multi-tasking-impaired (Contrary to the popular belief that women  are good at multitasking)

Anyway that's life (or at least mine)! Sleepy mornings, rushed days, missed buses, deadlines that keep us awake at night, awkward circumstances, a few regrets here and there,  and sometimes things that work out as planned... 

This year for my birthday, I decided to forget about the rushed days, take a day off from work and bake an elaborate birthday cake. J and I have our birthdays one after the other. So every year, we celebrate on the evening of J's birthday which is also the eve of mine :)

Its only when I started thinking about what cake to make, did I realize that I hadn't baked any since last Christmas. After a lot of searching and thinking about the flavors, I finally decided on a cake with Bavarian Cream filling with mango. I also wanted to frost the cake with whipped cream and hence I kept the layer of bavarian cream filling not-so-thick.

I under-estimated the time needed to bake and decorate this cake. I thought that I could start making the cake batter at 12 in the afternoon and be done by 5pm and that I would have enough time to click a few pictures as well... I was so wrong. When I finally finished decorating the cake, it was 8pm and there was no natural light (except for the sad camera flash or the tube light) to take pictures of my masterpiece. Since we cut the cake that night itself, I could only save a slice in the fridge to click some pictures the next day. How I wish I could have shown you a picture of the completed cake. 

I also used a short cut for the Bavarian cream (hehe...) especially since I was running short on time. Bavarian cream is basically custard + gelatin + whipped cream. I made use of this knowledge and used custard powder to make the custard for the bavarian cream. I was pretty impressed with the end-result.



MANGO AND BAVARIAN CREAM CAKE
I use an 8 ounce cup for all cup measurements.

Sponge Cake
I used the sponge cake recipe from here
Sugar Syrup
Water - 1 and 1/4 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Bring water and sugar to the boil and continue boiling till all the sugar melts. Bring the syrup to room temperature.

Bavarian Cream (short-cut version)
Whipping cream - 250 ml
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Gelatin - 1 and 1/4 tsp
Milk - 250 ml
Warm water - 50 ml
Custard powder - 4 tbsp (Use an eggless custard powder if you want eggless Bavarian cream)
Sugar - 8 Tbsp (can be increased as per the sweetness of the fruit and the sweetness desired in the cake. We are not a fan of cloyingly sweet desserts and hence this amount of sugar might be a little less for some of you.)

Place an empty, clean, steel bowl and the whisk attachment of your cake-mixer inside the freezer for 20 minutes.

Put the Gelatin and the warm water in a bowl and let it dissolve completely.

Take about 1/2 a cup of milk and mix in the custard powder to it.

Place the rest of the milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Stir till the sugar dissolves. Once it has come to a boil, simmer and then pour in the milk and custard powder mix slowly while stirring continuously as the same time. Switch off fire when the custard thickens.

Let the custard cool. In the meantime, whip 250 ml of the whipping cream to stiff peaks using the bowl and whisk attachment that was placed in the freezer.

The custard might have gotten lumpy or set by now. But that is ok. Just put it into a blender jar along with the dissolved gelatin and blend it till smooth. Check for the sweetness and also remember that since we have not added any sugar while whipping the cream so the sweetness will come down once the whipped cream is added.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the custard and gelatin mixture. 

Place in the fridge till we get ready to assemble. But make sure to assemble the cake before the bavarain cream sets.

Assembling the cake

1) Sponge cake
2) Sugar syrup
3) Bavarian Cream which is not fully set - I only needed 3/4 of the Bavarian cream for the cake. The rest of it, I refrigerated and served with cut fruits for dessert, the next day.
4) Small Mango pieces - 1 and 1/2 cup (It is important to use the freshest and sweetest of the ripe mango slices which have no bruises and not even the slightest sign of getting over-ripe)
5) Whipped cream for frosting the cake - Recipe here
6) Salted Almond Praline - recipe here.
7) A single long sheet of Aluminium foil which can go all along the circumference of the sponge cake. Fold the aluminum foil length-wise in order to make it thicker and stronger. And then fold once again. So you end up with a single (approx) 3-inch wide sheet of aluminum foil which is very long, has 4 layers and which can go all around the cake.
8) A 2 inch piece of cello-tape or any sticky tape.

Once the sponge cake has cooled completely (it will take at least 2-4 hours), cut it into 2 halves horizontally. I have personally found that using a long bread knife or a long serrated knife makes  it easier to cut the cake into 2 halves and place them side-by-side with the cut side facing up

Pour the sugar syrup onto the cut sides of the cake evenly. Make sure to use up the entire sugar syrup.

On one of the cake halves, which you have decided to use as the base of the cake, wrap the aluminum foil tightly all around the cake base and tape the ends of the foil to each other. About 2 inches of the foil will be standing above the cake all around.

Place mango pieces all over the bottom half of the cake which has been wrapped with aluminum foil. 

Pour the Bavarian cream over the cake half  The aluminum foil which had been wrapped tightly around the bottom half of the cake will help prevent the bavarian cream from spilling over the sides of the cake.

Cover with the top cake half such that the cut side of that cake faces down. And refrigerate for 3-4  hours till set. You can speed up this setting time by popping the cake into the freezer for an hour.

Once the cake has set, take it out of the fridge and then remove the aluminum foil around the cake. Now we can start frosting the cake with whipped cream.

Since it was the second time that I was frosting a cake with whipped cream and the first time was not as good as I would have liked it to be, I went through many video tutorials on youtube which give a good idea how to go about it like this one here. There are many more as well.
Finally put crushed salted almond praline over the whipped cream and place in the fridge for an hour.
 
If there are any leftovers, they need to be refrigerated. Can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days.


After making this cake, I feel confident that I can attempt making such elaborate cakes and turn up with good results. We truly enjoyed this cake. It perfectly complemented the sweet mangoes. This cake can also be made with any other fruit as well. Just keep in mind to use the freshest fruits and the best ones available.

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