Mango Almond Chiffon Cake

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)

Ingredients

  • 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.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350(F) and line either cake tin or muffin tin with parchment paper.
  2. Combine honey water and chopped mango slices – let soak to re-hydrate the dried mango.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. With the electric mixer on medium speed, gradually pour olive oil into the egg yolk mixture and mix until incorporated thoroughly.
  6. Then mix in honey water+mangoes and almond extract.
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. Pour mixture into prepped muffin tins or cake tin. Sprinkle top with sugar.
  10. 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.
  11. Enjoy!

Raspberry Frangipane Buttermilk Cake

 A layer of juicy and sweet raspberries, a layer of almond-y frangipane filling and a layer of oh-so-moist and light buttermilk cake. It is basically the best one-bowl cake (aka lazy summer dessert) that you could make with fresh berries that is still so elegant.  If you look closely, you can see that the layers separate into 3 different layers and it makes it extremely beautiful when you slice into the cake. The thing that makes this cake is that it truly highlights the flavor of the raspberries. During the summer, I try and use fresh raspberries since they are in season, and it really brings the flavor to a whole other level, but using frozen raspberries works just as well!


Because you are baking this cake upside down and then flipping it right side up, the raspberries sort of become jammy and acts like a glaze for the cake, meaning that it does not need anything to top it! No frosting, no icing, no glaze, not even whipped cream.  It’s actually perfect just by itself, which I love since I’m not a huge fan of heavy frostings.  That being said, I think that this cake would also be delicious with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and sprinkle of berries.


Not going to lie, the idea for this cake actually came from a dream.  I woke up in the middle of the night with the idea for this cake in my mind and frantically scrambled around in the dark looking for a piece of paper and pen to jot down the idea before it slipped from my mind. 


So the bf works at a clinic in St. Paul and since I’ve been shoveling all my excess baked goods at the nurses and doctors that work at the clinic, I figured I should probably bake one last cake to say thank you to them for putting up with all my testing of baked goods before moving to New York City for graduate school.  Since I’ve been so busy packing, I wanted to make a cake that was a breeze to make but also looked stunning. GUYS, this is IT! I swear, it took me like 15 minutes to put everything together and then I threw it into the oven and got back to attempting to shovel my 20 pairs of shoes into one suitcase (it’s harder than it looks…). When the timer buzzed, all it took was a nice cake stand and a little cooling time to put it all together.  Did I mention that every bite feels like you’re eating summer?

Fun food science facts: The frangipane helps keep this cake extremely moist because it is mainly ground almonds which do an awesome job retaining moisture and keeps the cake from getting to dry.  Ever make volcanic eruptions in elementary school? Believe it or not, that’s what makes your cake light and fluffy! The acid in this case is the buttermilk, and just like in elementary school, the base is the baking soda. These two ingredients in the cake batter help produce lots of air to keep the cake from getting too dense.

RASPBERRY FRANGIPANE BUTTERMILK CAKE | Makes 10-12 slices
INGREDIENTS


for frangipane

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick softened unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

for cake

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) softened unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • one 8″ cake pan

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (F)
  2. For the frangipane, mix together almond flour, all-purpose flour and sugar in a small bowl. Then work softened butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles a soft dough.
  3. Add in eggs and vanilla extract before mixing well.  Set mixture aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together.
  5. Add in egg and whisk to combine.
  6. Add in buttermilk and vanilla extract and mix well.
  7. Then add in flour, salt and baking soda and whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients until well-incorporated.
  8. Grease and line cake pan bottom and edges in parchment paper for easy removal.
  9. To assemble the cake, spread raspberries evenly on bottom of cake pan. Pour frangipane over berries and spread  it evenly. Finally pour cake mixture on top and smooth top.
  10. Bake cake for 70-75 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.  If cake top looks like it’s browning too quickly, cover in aluminum foil.
  11. Let cake cool for 15 minutes before inverting cake and cooling fully.

Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Apple Cake with Streusel

NERD ALERT: Did you know that pie has roots all the way back to ancient Egyptian times, and the first recipe for pie was published by the Romans?  Also, apparently there’s an American Pie Counsel that might just be the coolest thing ever (thank you, Google).  With July 4th coming up, I really don’t think that there’s really anything more American than pie…except maybe pie in cake form?


My boyfriend’s older brother and girlfriend are headed up from St. Louis for the weekend to meet the fam (gasp!) and also celebrate Fourth of July.  As with any Korean get together, there will be lots of grilled meats, watermelon and if I have any say, cake (specifically, this cake).


I kid you not, this cake is SO good. It’s a soft and fluffy cake base loaded with apple, topped with buttery streusel and then drizzled with homemade caramel sauce.  What part of that sounds bad? And the best part? If you just make the cake portion, it’s dairy-free!! Also it can be made with or without a mixer (hooray!).  So, when you’re scratching your head at what you make for that Fourth of July party you’re going to, I hope you make this one! I promise you there won’t be a single crumb left.

IMPORTANT: When making the caramel, if you add in the heavy cream too quickly, the cold heavy cream will cause the caramel mixture to seize up and harden.

SALTED CARAMEL APPLE CAKE WITH STREUSEL | Makes one 10″ cake

SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat sugar until it beings to melt.  Constantly mix sugar with spatula to evenly distribute heat. The chunks of sugar should slowly dissolve into liquid and the sugar should begin to turn an amber color. If it looks like mixture is turning dark too quickly, remove from heat  fro 10-15 seconds while stirring to prevent burning.
  2. Once sugar is melted, immediately add in butter and swirl it in. Once butter is melted, turn heat to low and slowly (thin drizzle) add in heavy cream while constantly stirring.
  3. Toss in salt and mix thoroughly.
  4. Extra caramel will keep in airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 month.

STREUSEL

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp butter
  1. Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Cut butter into 1/2 inch pieces and combine with dry ingredients.  With hands, work butter into dry mixture until large, moist clumps form.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

CAKE

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup neutral tasting vegetable oil
  • 1 egg & 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 apple (ambrosia, fuji, or any other crisp apple)
  • Either one 10 inch cake pan, or one 10 inch oven-safe skillet
  1. Preheat oven to 350 (F). Oil and line cake pan with parchment paper  If using skillet, simply oil pan.
  2. Beat oil and sugar together in a large bowl until well-mixed. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture is thick and creamy.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Then add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until well-incorporated. The batter should be very thick.
  4. Add in apple cubes and mix until pieces are distributed thoroughly. Then pour batter into cake pan, drizzle with 1/4 cup caramel sauce and top with streusel.
  5. Bake cake for 50-60 minutes until top is brown and cake tester comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Tres Leches Cake

If you know someone who is gluten-free, then you probably know all the pains that accompany a gluten-free lifestyle (including how difficult it is to find a decent cake that is gluten-free!). At a friend’s house the other week, I learned that it was going to be her little sister’s birthday soon and that she so dearly wanted a tres leches cake from Cafe Latte (a neighborhood bakery). Unfortunately, Cafe Latte’s tres leches cake wasn’t gluten-free. I jumped at the chance to bake her a birthday cake and try my hand at some gluten-free baking. I wanted to bake her the perfect birthday cake – exactly identical to Cafe Latte’s, but just gluten-free!


Well, ladies and gents, here is the final product taken by her wonderful father! He was so kind and wonderful to take some professional photos for me 🙂 While I never got to taste it, her family ended up loving it. The recipe is fairly simple and can be adapted to fit any sort of sponge cake that you may want to bake for your gluten-free friends (or just ALL your friends!). I stumbled upon this recipe from one of my favorite websites, Food 52 and I’ve adapted it for my own uses.


The key to light and fluffy sponge cake is to make sure your eggs are at room-temperature. Room-temperature eggs end up holding more air when you beat it, leading to a lighter and fluffier cake. I hope your adventures in gluten-free baking bring you as much joy as mind did!


TRES LECHES CAKE (SPONGE ADAPTED FROM EMIKO’S FOOD 52 RECIPE)
INGREDIENTSfor the Cake (makes two 8inch cake layers)

  • 150g (~1 cup) Potato starch
  • 150g (~2/3 cup) Sugar
  • 6 Eggs (at room temperature)

for the Tres leches syrup

  • 1 can Evaporated milk
  • 1 can Condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup Heavy cream

for the Whipped cream

  • 3 cups Heavy whipping cream
  • 1/8 cup Powdered sugar
  • Box of raspberries
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS for the Cake 

  1. Sift potato starch in a bowl and set aside
  2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and mix 1/3cup of the sugar in with the egg yolks
  3. Using an electric mixer, mix all 6 egg whites on low speed for 2 minutes, medium speed for 2 minutes and then add in the remaining sugar. Then beat on high until the peaks formed are stiff (check by taking the whisk off the mixer and inverting. If the point on the egg whites don’t droop or fold over, then stiff peaks have formed).
  4. Beat the yolks and the sugar together for about 10 minutes, or until the yolks are lightened in color and the mixture has become creamy
  5. Alternate folding in the potato starch and the egg whites into the egg yolks until you have a well-combined batter (do not over mix!)
  6. Pour batter into lined cake pans and bake at 350 ºF for 20 minutes or until golden brown
  7. Invert and cool cakes

for the Tres leches syrup

  1. Mix together entire can of evaporated milk, entire can of condensed milk and 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I find it is easiest pouring this all into a large water bottle and shaking well)
  2. Once cakes are cooled, divide syrup mixture evenly between cake layers and soak (the cakes will absorb more liquid than you think they will!)

for the whipped cream

  1. Mix heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer
  2. Beat until cream has reached your desired consistency (I usually beat it for about 4-5 minutes, or until cream is medium-stiff).
  3. When cake layers have soaked in all the syrup, assemble the cake layers and outline the edge of the cake in raspberries cut a big slice and enjoy!