Rich, milk-soaked cake, filled and topped with fresh mangoes.
Yesterday was one of the best days of the past month for me. In the middle of a sweltering Delhi summer day, I broke my mini-hiatus from baking and decided to turn on the oven. Just. Because. Sometimes you need absolutely no reason at all.
I know I rant and rave a whole lot about the Delhi summer heat and how I can’t bear to be in the kitchen for long. But sometimes, a girl’s just got to bake. To be honest, I actually broke the hiatus over the weekend by baking a batch of Jamie & Gennaro’s Focaccia, but since I’m not going to be blogging it anytime soon, let’s pretend it didn’t happen. Until I can’t resist, and I do!
If you’ve been following this blog for long, you probably already know that I am not a mango-crazy person. Which is a shame, according to AK. But he is obviously the opposite. So for a few weeks, ever since mangoes hit the fruit vendors, there has been mango+ice cream for dessert and mango milkshake for breakfast almost every day. There have been a few attempts at Mango Sorbet & a no-cook Mango Ice-Cream as well. But that list is never ending!
One of the exceptions to my being not-so-crazy-about-mangoes is this cake. I first baked a variation of it a few years ago, on a Sunday for a summer lunch dessert. It’s inspired by the Tres Leches Cake – the Mexican three-milk-soaked cake. I just found it online, having never actually tasted it from a store or bakery. When I made it for the first time, it reminded me of the flavours of the Indian Sweet “Milkcake”, which is by far my favourite Indian Sweet. It seemed like a relatively shorter-cut to having my beloved milk cake, without the endless hours spend in reducing, evaporating and thickening milk until it became solid enough to shape! I fell in love!
Over time, I’ve made variations and combinations of various recipes from TPW, Bon Appetit, Brown Eyed Baker and many more. Some make it using a sponge cake recipe, others using a butter cake. But eventually, I found the easiest thing to do was to use my favourite Yellow Cake recipe from Real Simple and go from there.
A few weeks ago, I made this cake to take to a friends house for dinner, but AK didn’t get more than 1 serving! Which seemed unfair to him. So he’s been bugging me to make it again, ever since.
Normally, I just bake it in a 9×13 pan, cool it and pop it back in to the cake pan to soak up the milk mix and top with chopped mangoes. But this time, I thought to try and up the presentation a little. Just for fun. And I’m so excited with the result – it looks pretty as a picture and tastes delicious too.
If you just don’t feel up to making the effort, try the bake-and-serve pan version – it will taste just as good. I promise.
Here’s what I used for an 8″ round, layered cake:
1 cup (200 gms) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for the pans
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and levelled, plus more for the pans
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups castor sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
For the milk-soak:
1 x 400 gm tin condensed milk
1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp Malibu (coconut flavoured rum), optional
For the filling & topping:
200 ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
Here’s how I made it:
First, I turned on the oven to pre-heat at 177˚C / 350˚F and centred my rack. Then I prepped 2 x 8″ round pans by lining them with parchment paper and greasing them with a little butter and dusting with flour.
Next: dry ingredients. I placed the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisked them to combine.
Setting this bowl aside, I placed the butter and sugar in the bowl of my stand mixer and beat them together on high, using a paddle attachment, for about 5 minutes or until pale, fluffy and increased in volume.
Then I added in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating between each addition on medium speed to incorporate well. Along with the last egg, I also added in the vanilla extract.
Next, I added the flour mix and the whole mix alternately. Flour, milk, flour, milk and finally flour. At this time, I reduced the mixer speed to the lowest because a) the flour and milk will fly and splash all over the kitchen and b) we don’t want to over-beat the cake at this stage.
For the final flour addition, I removed the bowl from the stand and folded it in using a spatula, mixing only until no floury streaks remained.
Dividing the batter between the two cake pans, I popped them into the oven to bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted right in the middle came out clean.
While the cake was in the oven, I worked on the soak and the filling+topping. First, I mixed the condensed milk, whole milk and Malibu in a glass measuring cup to make it easy to ladle and pour later.
Popping this into the fridge, I prepped the mangoes. Of the 3, I needed some to fill the cakes and some to top. So I chopped 1 mango and mushed it up roughly with a fork. You don’t have to mush up the mango, but it’s going to be a moist, soaked cake anyway and big chunks of mango may obstruct the knife when slicing the cake through all its layers.
From the other 2 mangoes, I scooped out balls using the smaller side of a melon baller. I set these aside in the fridge as well.
Now for the whipped cream. Into the clean bowl of my stand mixer, I poured in the chilled double cream and the icing sugar. Using a wire whisk, I beat the cream until it formed soft peaks.
I set this aside in the fridge as well.
Once the cakes were done, I pulled them out of the oven and allowed them to cool in the pans for 15 minutes before transferring them to wire cooling racks and slicing off the dome from the top. Once they cooled a little more, about 20-25 minutes, I ladled the milk-soak over the cakes and allowed them to absorb it all.
Note: (1) I poked one of the cakes with a fork but it was unnecessary and I suggest you not do it. By slicing the dome off the top of the cakes, there’s no crust to obstruct the milk and the cake soaks it in very easily. By pricking the cake with the fork, I made it more brittle and it soaked up too much of the the milk and it flowed all the way to the bottom. (2) The milk mix is actually a lot and you can use 1/2 cup less — reserve the discarded amount and use it to make iced coffee or milkshake.
I placed the bottom layer (the more brittle one, in my case) onto the serving plate and spooned the mushy mangoes over it, followed by the second cake to sandwich it in.
Then I spooned the whipped cream over it – you can pipe out pretty designs too, but I like the rustic look of roughly spooned whipped cream.
I finished it off by piling the mango balls in the centre, leaving a little border of cream on the side.
All done! And you have a pretty, moist, rich, tropical fruit cake!
Garnish with a sprig, or many, of fresh mint if you like.
Slice it up and serve at room temperature or cold.
Can you see all the gooey-ness at the bottom of the cake? That’s all because of my fork poking! It made the cake a little more fragile but it tasted fantastic all the same.
Because of all the milk and whipped cream, this cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator and is best consumed within 2 days. Sooner the better.
PS – if you’re super observant and noticed a pair of hands in the photos that isn’t mine, then let me give you a little hint. I have a little helper in the studio for a few weeks and she’ll be working on a few recipes with me over the summer! More on that in the next post…
Have a favourite mango or tropical fruit cake recipe of your own? Share it with me by leaving a comment below.
Liked this recipe? Try some other fruit based cakes and desserts from the archives: Citrus Syrup Cake, Eggless No-Bake Strawberry Souffle, Easy Breezy Lemon Bars, Strawberry Crumble, Amrood Cesar Kulfi, Sponge Flan with Caramelised Plums, Spiced Pineapple Upside Down Cake.
- 1 cup (200 gms) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for the pans
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and levelled, plus more for the pans
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1-1/2 cups castor sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk
For the milk-soak:
- 1 x 400 gm tin condensed milk
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tbsp Malibu (coconut flavoured rum), optional
For the filling & topping:
- 3 mangoes
- 200 ml double cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 x 8" Round Cake Pans
- Parchment Paper
- Mixing Bowls
- Cooling Racks
- Melon Baller
- Serrated Bread Knife
- Glass Measuring Cup
- Set your oven to pre-heat at 177˚C / 350˚F and prepare the 2 cake pans. Line the bottoms of each with parchment paper, grease with softened butter and dust with flour.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set this aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the softened butter and sugar and beat on high speed for 5 minutes or until pale, fluffy and almost doubled in volume. You can do this using a hand beater as well.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well on medium speed between each addition to ensure that each egg is incorporated. With the last egg, add in the vanilla extract as well.
- Add the flour & milk little by little in alternate additions, beginning and ending with the flour (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour). At this point, reduce the speed of the mixer to minimum to avoid splashing and over-beating.
- Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes in the centre of the oven or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the milk-soak and the mangoes. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the condensed milk, whole milk and Malibu until well combined. Place in the fridge until needed.
- Cut one mango into small chunks and mush it up a little with a fork. For the remaining 2 mangoes, use a melon baller to scoop out as many small balls as you can. Keep these in the fridge until needed.
- Pour the double cream into a clean bowl for the stand mixer and add the icing sugar into it. Using the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Keep in the fridge until needed.
- Once the cakes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Transfer them to cooling racks and let them cool for a further 20-30 minutes.
- Using a serrated bread knife, slice off the dome on top of both cakes and discard (or eat!)
Assemble the Cake:
- Divide the milk soak between the two cakes: reserve about ½ cup of the milk soak and set aside to make yourself some iced coffee or a milkshake. Divide the rest equally into 2 and ladle over the cakes and allow them to soak for 10-15 minutes.
- Place one cake on your serving platter and spoon the mushy mangoes over it. Place the second cake over the mangoes and sandwich the 2 layers together.
- Spoon the whipped cream over the top cake layer and pile high with the mango balls.
- Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and serve at room temperature or cold.
Please note that this post has affiliate links and if you buy products using these links, it will help support the blog. I will only recommend products that I personally use and/or trust for my family.