May Cake – Orange and Mango Sponge Cake
For the week we start off in May, I made an orange and mango cake with a bright coloured icing to reflect the sunlight and new feeling of optimism.
This is another variation on the One True Sponge Cake – the Genoese sponge which is the only cake recipe you really need to know. My Mum made a 2-egg sized one of these, every few days and baked them in what we would see now as very tiny cake tins. We usually had cake and a cup of tea when we came home from school, but it was a small slice. The buttercream icing I use in the recipe below was reserved for birthdays, so we had four buttercream-iced cakes in the year, and all the rest of the time we had jam in the cake and it was dusted with icing sugar. As always, when using a genoese recipe, I need to acknowledge Pam Corbin, @the_pam_the_jam, in the River Cottage Cakes book of infallible cake recipes.
This variation is lightly flavoured with orange in the sponge and has an orange and mango buttercream filling enriched with white chocolate. For the juice used in the filling and icing, I bought a small bottle of mixed orange and mango juice, which had a good flavour of both fruits.
Our Seniors Lunch Club had its second week back meeting in person. The members were more confident now they knew what they were doing. We were going to discuss Poetry, as it was Poem in Your Pocket Day this week, but in fact we got into such a nice gossip about what we’d been up to and the new arrangements for meeting up that we never got to the poetry debate. We’ve saved that for another time. People are feeling more positive about meeting friends and relatives but everyone was amazed at how tiring being social again can be – we’re learning to pace ourselves and not do too much all at once.
Makes 16 squares. Timings: 1 hour to prepare and bake the cake, another hour to cool and ice.
For the filling: 200g salted butter, 50g white chocolate, 200g icing sugar, 10ml orange/mango juice
For the water icing: 200g icing sugar, 10ml orange/mango juice, orange food colouring
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Prepare a 24cm square cake tin, grease it and line with baking parchment.
Make a simple Genoese sponge: whisk the eggs and sugar together either with a mixer or over a bowl of hot water, until thick and creamy texture. This takes only about 3-4 minutes in the mixer. While these are beating up, melt the butter and sieve the flour and grate the orange zest.
Turn the mixer down to low and add the flour to the egg/sugar foam gradually, adding the orange zest at the same time. Turn off the mixer and using a metal spoon, stir in the melted butter. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake about 30 minutes till golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the tin and turn out onto a rack, remove the parchment. Leave to cool.
When cool, cut the cake in half through the equator carefully using your biggest breadknife. The cake will keep fresh in a sealed tin for at least a day at this stage. It also freezes very well wrapped up in cling film, so it can be made well ahead of time.
Ice the top of the cake with water icing. Make the orange icing with most of the icing sugar, the fruit juice and the orange food colouring and make up a white icing in a small bowl with the rest of the sugar. Ice the cake with the orange icing and then drizzle lines of white icing vertically. Use a skewer to drag the white icing attractively through the orange and leave to set.
For the buttercream icing, start to melt the white chocolate in a bowl above hot water. Whisk the softened butter thoroughly and start to add the icing sugar one spoonful at a time. You will need to cover your mixer with a tea towel to stop the icing sugar rising up in clouds and covering your kitchen. Keep adding the sugar and add a little of the fruit juice. When you’ve added all the sugar, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure you’ve got all the butter into the icing and no lumps left on the side. Then pour in the melted chocolate and whisk again. Even the small amount of melted chocolate gives a lovely mousse-y texture to the buttercream.
Fill the cake with the buttercream and pat a little round the outside too for decoration.
Cut into 16 squares and serve. Eat within 2 days of icing, or keep in the fridge.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.