My Mother happens to be extremely alarmed at my recent piling up of weight. 6 kilos in as many months is no mean feat. She believes that excess weight makes your body susceptible to a lot of diseases. Even I realise that, but you see, food blogging comes with its share of perils. As the saying goes “Never trust a thin cook”, you need to look like somebody who cooks and eats all day, don’t you?
Hailing from a family whose middle name is “food”, cooking and eating comes to me naturally. I remember the days when my thamma (grandmother) would enter the kitchen at the crack of dawn, kneading and rolling flour to make our eternal favourite Luchi (or poori). Luchis were a staple in our breakfast menu. The accompaniment to it varied everyday…alu bhaja (potato finger chips), alu dum, jeere diye shada alu (potato with cumin), alu peyajer baati chochchori (potato and onion mix) or even omelette! The tremendously deep fried fare would be rounded up with jilipi (or jalebis), bonde or mihidana. But during the Summer months there would be an added attraction — yes, mangoes!
I’ve never been a mango lover. I mean, I don’t completely detest it, but I’d much rather have pineapples or watermelon. Yeah, I know I’m a Bangalir kolonko that way, and if you consider my apathy towards Ilish maachh (hilsa), you’d almost want to shoot me down. But love it or hate it, you can’t ignore mangoes. Mangoes are ubiquitous in Summer. Every morning my dadu (grandfather) would come back from the markets laden with mangoes, yet by the evening the family would be in dire need of more. We would have mangoes every possible way…aam doi, aam kheer, aamer achaar, aamer tauk, aamer chutney, aam diye tauk dal, aamer ice cream and what not!
The other day my mother was complaining that Bajare aar bhalo aam pawa jachhe na (there’s a dearth of good mangoes in the market), and it suddenly struck me. In my first Summer as a food blogger, I had completely given mangoes a miss! I had to make hay while the sun shone. And with my pishi’s birthday the next day, what else could it be other than a mango cake? It had to be eggless, as she’s a vegetarian.
I’ve never made eggless cakes before and armed with the basic concept of substituting eggs with baking soda and yoghurt I started concocting my own recipe. Call it daredevilry! I had set off to make a sponge cake but it became a pudding cake instead. I feared that it would be a bit too floury. But the guests and most importantly my pishi dismissed my fears. I had a thin fat slice myself, and trust me it was as smooth and velvety as silk. The flavour of mango was bursting through but at the same time not overpowering the subtlety of the cake.
Mango is a family fruit. It reminded me of thamma and dadu like anything. It reminded me of the times when packed between the two of them at the dead of the night, didi would narrate to me stories of The Magic Faraway Tree. It reminded me of stealing food from the fridge…ice cubes being my most favourite! It reminded me of watching sports (both cricket and football) together…of howling when Italy lost to Brazil at the 1994 World Cup final, or celebrating Dada’s debut century at Lords. I could go on and on…but I’ll reserve those musings for another occasion, may be when I’ll try my hand at Ilish Maachh for the first time! 🙂
For now, back to this cake. And oh, did I mention it’s also butterless?
For the cake:
Mangoes, pureed: 3
Flour: 180 gm
Yoghurt: 1/2 cup
Olive/ Vegetable oil: 3/4 cup
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Baking soda: 1 tsp
Caster Sugar: 3/4 cup (or depending upon the sweetness of the mangoes)
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Milk: 3-4 tbsp
For the frosting:
Mango, pureed: 1
Whipping Cream: 200 ml
Sugar: If needed
1. In a bowl, sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, add yoghurt and sugar into the mango puree and blend using a hand blender. Add oil and continue mixing till smooth and fluffy.
3. Put away the blender and add flour gradually folding it into the batter until just combined. Add the milk bit by bit to loosen the consistency. It should be of ribbon-like consistency.
4. Preheat oven to 180º Celsius and line a round cake tin with baking parchment. Butter the base and sides thoroughly.
5. Pour the batter inside the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes till a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to rest on wire rack for 10-15 minutes before unmoulding it. The cake might deflate a bit once taken out of the oven.
6. Now turn the cake upside down and very carefully remove the parchment. Let it cool completely and in the meantime make the cream frosting.
7. For the frosting, whisk the cream until light and fluffy. No need of whipping it to make it voluminous. Add the mango puree to it and whisk some more. If needed, add sugar as
well. Whisk till it is smooth. Refrigerate with a cling film for 1-2 hours.
8. Now spread a layer of the frosting on the cake and coat the sides as well. It can be uniform or erratic…doesn’t really matter. Refrigerate again for another 4-5 hours.
9. Cut into neat slices and serve with the leftover mango cream on the side. mango lovers’ delight!
A dessert a week challenge: Week 23