Friday, January 7, 2011

Mangomisu for Christmas Day

Home Cooking

Yeh, yeh, it's nearly 2 weeks since Christmas. Maybe more. I'm a bit late for relevance. But let's set the clock back a short while. I was given the task of making dessert for Christmas and by now, y'all should know me. I take that kind of thing very, very seriously.

Many recipe browses, online searches, and dessert fantasies later, I settled on a Mangomisu (recipe from with my modifications). In my mind, it was perfect for the following reasons.
  1. I was keen on something to impress but at the same time, we know what happens to people who try crazy things on a special occasion. Common narrative formula states that its bound to fail, and great embarrassment ensues. The recipe I found was quite simple and there wasn't anything that could really go wrong.
  2. The concept of seasonality has been drilled into me by all the current-day celebrity chefs. I thought about making a black forest cake but despite the fact that cherries are 'Summer', the idea of black forest seemed too Wintery for me... Mangomisu is suitably Summery for obvious reasons.
  3. It's got booze. And to me, that's essential for a Christmas dessert.

I complicated things (perhaps unnecessarily) by making my own sponge cake. The recipe I used was from Woman's Day and was weird in that it has no actual flour, just cornflour. I read and reread the recipe several times to make sure I wasn't seeing things. Luckily it didn't explode in the oven and things turned out OK in the end. Please note that despite my saying that, I did end up with way more mascarpone cream than necessary... so I reckon you could halve the quantities of that below. Do that at your own risk.

Serves ~ 8


For the sponge
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup (100g) cornflour
  • 1/4 cup (30g) custard powder
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the cake
  • 500g mascarpone cheese
  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 1/3 cup (50g) icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) triple sec
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 200g white chocolate, grated
  • 2 mangoes, flesh sliced 1cm thick (reserve some for decorating)
For the raspberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
  • 250g fresh or frozen raspberries
  • Juice of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour two deep 22cm-round cake pans (I lined them with cheap baking paper which might explain why everything stuck together in the end).
2. Beat eggs and caster sugar with electric beater about 5 minutes or until thick and creamy.
3. Sift dry ingredients over egg mixture. Gently fold ingredients together.4. Divide mixture evenly between prepared pans.5. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes. Turn the sponges immediately a onto baking-paper-lined wire rack. Turn top-side up to cool. Slice both in halve horizontally.6. Meanwhile, line the base of a 22cm springform cake pan with plastic wrap or baking paper.
7. Place the mascarpone, thickened cream, icing sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until thick and well combined.8. Combine the triple sec and orange juice in a separate bowl.
9. Place one sponge layer down. Brush with 1/4 the juice mixture. Spread the mascarpone mixture and top with one-third of the mango slices. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the white chocolate. Repeat the process until all the sponge layers are used.
10. Coat with the remaining mascarpone mixture, reserving the remaining mango slices to serve. Cover the cake and chill for 2 hours or until firm.11. For the raspberry sauce, place the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small pan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
12. Cool slightly, then add the berries and lemon juice.13. Whiz in a food processor until smooth, then pass through a sieve. Chill until ready to serve. (You can store the sauce, covered, in the fridge for 3-4 days).
14. To serve, carefully remove the sides and base of the cake pan and transfer the mangomisu to a platter. Decorate with curls of the reserved mango and sprinkle with some white chocolate curls. Slice and serve with berry sauce.

I'm not completely happy with how the cake looks (cake decorating is not my forte) but I can definitely vouche for taste. Byron actually said it was the greatest dessert he'd ever tasted though he could be just saying that (unlikely because he's not the type to butter me up).

It was overall just a great combination... soft sponge soaked with tangy orange liqueur, creamy mascarpone, sweet white chocolate and fresh, fragrant mango. It just all works!

There are a lot of components to this cake but don't let it deter you because its mostly just a matter of whizzing and mixing. If you buy pre-made spongecake or sponge fingers, it'll be even easier to put together! Byron thought the raspberry sauce was excessive but I personally thought it added a nice zing to the whole thing. It was a beautiful sauce. I'd recommend it as a compliment to other desserts too, and who could resist the color?


  1. looks delish make one for me? birthday wish? :P

  2. What does the sponge made with cornflour taste like? I remember replacing some of the flour for cornflour in a sponge recipe and there was a strange aftertaste of cornflour... but perhaps after soaking it in the orange liqueur, everything tastes good :D
    It sounds like an amazing combination!! Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Hi Bonnie...

    From what I know, a lot of cakes already use corn flour. 'Cake flour' has a bit of corn flour in it and they say if you don't have cake flour, you can substitute with plain flour + custard powder, which is basically corn flour plus vanilla.

    Having said that, I've never actually used a recipe that was pure corn flour... I tried a bit of the sponge on its own and couldn't detect any odd flavor. But the texture was different to a normal sponge - it was gloriously light but also sticky. In fact, why I had to eat some of it (and couldn't use it for my recipe) is because it stuck to my baking paper.