I have some of the fondest memories of my life with her. She introduced me to the fluffiest chocolate lamingtons , the hottest hot cross buns and the most moist marble cakes from the time I can remember. She let me buy a pair of expensive long black boots when I was 16, just so I could show them off at some silly teenage party. She lived to spoil me.
Today would have marked the 59th birthday of my mum who passed away 6 years ago shortly after her 53rd birthday. She was a woman filled with passion and a zest for life. Always pushing herself to the next milestone, never letting the hardships in her life and relationships slow her down. Her love and commitment towards oil painting, art & craft, knitting, sowing, crocheting and cooking, while having a full time job and taking care of me has never ceased to amaze me.
I miss her. A lot. I miss our shopping trips to swanky malls to quirky tailoring shops to flea markets and large food fairs to just window shopping. I miss those bargain hunting times along with her eloquent haggling skills. I miss her awesome cooking and whipping up quick & easy what-we-have-in-the-fridge meals. I miss riding pillion seat with her on our little scooter navigating the congested streets in complete pandemonium. Most of all I miss speaking to my best friend and confidante.
Her absence feels heavy at times. Most days pass by with me silently thanking her for my upbringing and helping me keep myself together amidst all the craziness in life. And then there is some sadness and some regret for not being around her during her sudden demise.
I do believe I am totally my mother’s girl in heart and mind. I secretly hope she is watching me learning to cook, trying to write in this space and juggling a full time job and home. She would be proud. Atleast I hope she would be :).
So here I bake a cake for mum, for her 59th birthday and for all the baking times spent with her in the kitchen. A cake for comfort and a cake filled with sweet memories. It is a simple and quick Victorian style sponge cake filled with pureed fresh Alphonso mangoes cream. In some way I wanted to recreate the fresh mango cake I had ordered for her on her very last birthday that I celebrated with her. The same birthday that strangely enough also fell on Mother’s day that year of 2008. It was a beautiful day.
I love you Mom.
For the cake
200 grams raw unrefined Demerara cane sugar*
100 grams AP flour + 110 grams wholemeal flour
200 grams good quality unsalted butter
4 free-range eggs
Zest of 1/2 a lime
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons raw baking cacao powder
For the Mango cream
2 big fresh Alphonso mangoes pulped and pureed**
2 tablespoons greek style yogurt
1 tablespoon good quality maple syrup or raw honey (optional)
Grated dark chocolate for sprinkling on top
Method of Preparation
1. Cream the butter and sugar together
2. Then whisk in the eggs
3. Separately mix all the dry ingredients together
4. Add the dry ingredients over the butter-sugar-egg mixture and mix well with a spatula
5. Add the vanilla extract and grated lemon zest and beat and fold with a spatula
6. Pour the mixture in a cake tin of your choice and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree centigrade for 40 min until the cake passes the tooth pick set
7. While the cake is baking, whip the pureed mangoes, greek yogurt and maple syrup in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator. The idea is to have a semi thick puree that is easily spreadable rather than thick pulp. The yogurt helps to achieve this consistency.
8. Once the cake is baked, let it cool completely before passing a sharp knife mid way to cut the cake into 2 halves.
9. Pour the chilled mango puree on top and middle like a sponge-sandwich cake.
10. Grate some dark chocolate on top
11. Chill the cake for a while before serving.
*Confused with the various fancy,raw and unrefined sugars like Demerara, Muscovado, Turbinado and the like ? The Kitchn shares these differences on this link here. (Just use brown raw sugar if that is all you can find.)
**Alphonso mangoes are the best you can use for this cake. If not available then use the next best fresh mangoes you have available.