When I moved back to Minnesota, one of the things that I was dreading most was it long, long, long and COLD, COLD, COLD winters. I’m not sure how to articulate to you just how cold -30 Fahrenheit feels like, but maybe the best way to describe it would be to confess that I wore two pairs of pants, a long-sleeve, a sweatshirt and a vest, plus fuzzy socks — indoors (yep.).
But, you know, I am back, and for the most part, thrilled to be close to my family, literally down the street from some of my friends, and happily employed. Even though I’ve lived in Minnesota for the majority of my life, the transition back from New York hasn’t been easy. It’s sometimes a little lonely to look out the window and not see a single soul, and can we talk about how I’m pretty sure I forgot how to drive, period. Learning to get back on the road again when I’ve always been an anxious driver has definitely been a challenge. For now, I’m taking it slow and counting driving safely to my local Trader Joe’s a win.
One of the things that I have forgotten about Minnesota (and leaves me breathless every time), are the beautiful fall colors. The swirling leaves of red, pink, orange, gold and yellow surrounded by pockets of green are for me, one of the best parts of fall and best parts of living in Minnesota. The golden-y hue of fall color is what inspired this Almond Mango Chiffon Cake. What is chiffon cake you ask? Well, it’s probably the lightest, fluffiest cake you’ll ever taste and it’s got nothing but eggs helping it rise. In my recipe, there’s a slight hint of almond, and a fruity aftertaste. Basically, fall and summer all in one.
I like to make them in 6 oversized muffin tins, but there’s nothing stopping you from turning this into an 8″ or 9″ cake either. In fact, there’s definitely nothing stopping you from making this cake and a cream cheese frosting or whipped cream topping to finish it off. The best part of this cake is that it’s dairy-free and good for breakfast, dessert or a snack.
Mango Almond Chiffon Cake (adapted from Epicurious) | Makes 6-8 slices (depending on how you cut)
- 5 egg yolks
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dried mango slices
- 1 1/2 tbsp cold water mixed with 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated white sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup cake flour*
*If you don’t have cake flour, you can always make your own using all-purpose flour and cornstarch, potato starch or tapioca starch. Just measure out a cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and add in 2 tablespoons of your starch.
- Preheat oven to 350(F) and line either cake tin or muffin tin with parchment paper.
- Combine honey water and chopped mango slices – let soak to re-hydrate the dried mango.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine egg whites and salt. Using a electric mixer, start on the lowest speed, beating for a minute on each speed until you have reached medium speed. Then, gradually add in 1/4 cup sugar and continue mixing. Once sugar has been fully added, beat on high speed until you get peaks that just barely hold their shape (not stiff, but not soft either).
- In a separate large bowl, combine your egg yolks and remaining sugar (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp). Using an electric mixer, beat until mixture turns fluffy and pale yellow.
- With the electric mixer on medium speed, gradually pour olive oil into the egg yolk mixture and mix until incorporated thoroughly.
- Then mix in honey water+mangoes and almond extract.
- Sift cake flour into egg yolk mixture (the sifting is crucial! this will make sure your cake isn’t dense), and combine using a wooden spoon (not electric mixer).
- Fold whipped egg whites into egg yolk mixture in three batches, make sure to using a folding motion so you don’t deflate the egg whites.
- Pour mixture into prepped muffin tins or cake tin. Sprinkle top with sugar.
- Place into oven and bake for 25 (if using muffin tins) or 45 minutes (if using cake tins), until golden and toothpick comes out clean.