June 7, 2011

A Glazed Mango Pound Cake And The Baking Club!


I have been blogging about food for a while now, but for about the first half of that time, I wasn’t really very aware or interested in being on social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook. In my book, networking is a means to increase one’s visibility for whatever purpose one chooses and I’m really not very good at this sort of stuff. I find making small talk, even in the real world, a very difficult thing to do. So, I didn’t really see the point of my being in these places.

So when someone suggested that I should be on Twitter because it was fun, I joined in a rather half-hearted manner. And then a cousin asked me to join Facebook, as most of my immediate and extended family from all around the world is there, and it would a great way to keep in touch. Though I am not a very dedicated Tweeter or a Facebooker, I now know enough people there to drop in and talk to them on a regular basis.

Not only have I re-discovered friends from my student days, but I have also made some awesome friends with whom I connect beyond food and blogging, and these are friendships that will be with me for life. So what does social networking have to do with a glazed mango pound cake?




Nothing much other than the fact that this cake was the result of a discussion with some good friends on Facebook. A week back Arundhati and Arundati (Yes, namesakes but wait; there’s one more in this story!) were discussing some chocolate chip cookies they were baking together, one in India and the other in Singapore, and having fun doing it. That’s when Nandita remembered how much fun they had a long time back baking cake together. Enter one more Arundathi and myself and the five of us thought it would be a wonderful idea and even more fun if we all got together to bake a cake. And that’s the beginning of our very own baking group we call The Baking Club!

I’m afraid I lost track of who suggested what exactly, but given that it’s the season for mangoes in India, and that Indians who do not passionately love mangoes are a minority, it was a natural conclusion that we unanimously decided to bake a mango pound cake.




We decided to make it even more fun by deciding that we could use any recipe of our choice. Now pound cakes are called pound cakes for a reason. Traditionally, a pound cake was made with a pound each of the four main ingredients (flour, butter, sugar and eggs). Over time, pound cake recipes have changed and there are so many variations on the original that some don’t resemble the original pound cake anymore. Even I have one of those non-traditional type of pound cakes I make with home-made paneer.




My personal definition of a pound cake is that it is a cake which adds pounds to one’s frame! So I thought if I must make pound cake, maybe I could find one that wasn’t so heavy on the calories because frankly, I can do with less of them.
This particular pound cake looked promising, as I find I like the texture of buttermilk cakes. My adapted version is below.

I used Mankhurad mangoes, which is supposed to be the best of all Goan mangoes. The best Goan Mankhurad mangoes come from the Chorao Island, and I can assure you that they are indeed the best.




I used 3/4 cup sugar because my mangoes were very sweet, and as I was using a sugar glaze I didn’t want a very sweet cake. I tend to add a bit of lemon juice and a largish pinch of salt to most of my sugar glazes because I find it balances out the cloying sweetness of the sugar. You can choose to leave that out if you prefer.

I used only 2 egg whites in this cake and chose to use vanilla as the flavouring rather than my favourite cardamom. I have been overdoing the cardamom a bit so the change, but I must tell you that mango and cardamom is an unbeatable and the best combination.
Glazed Mango Pound Cake

(Adapted from CookingLight)



Ingredients:


3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup butter, at room temperature

2 egg whites

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla extract (powdered cardamom)

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup chopped mango pieces



For the glaze:


1 to 1 1/2 cups icing sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp salt

2 to 3 tbsp mango nectar/ pulp



Method:


In a largish bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter at medium speed for about 4 minutes). Add egg whites and beat well. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Lightly whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add flour mixture to and the buttermilk, alternately, to the butter-sugar mixture beginning and ending with flour mixture. Using a hand whisk, lightly mix after each addition till well blended.

Add the mango pieces and fold in lightly so it is evenly dispersed in the batter. Scrape the batter out into a greased and floured bundt pan (or loaf pan - 8” by 4”/ 8” cake tin).

Bake at 180C (350F) for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

Mix all the ingredients for the sugar glaze, adding the liquid in bits till you have a glaze of a thick pouring consistency. Pour the sugar glaze on a slightly warm cake and let it cool completely. This recipe serves 12.

Verdict:


This is a slightly dense but soft cake which delightfully surprises you with mango in every bite. The taste of mango and slight tang of lime/ lemon in the sugar glaze just adds to the cake. It’s a good summery cake which you could serve with coffee or tea. It also makes an excellent but light dessert with some fresh mango on the side. Otherwise leave out the glaze and serve it was some mango sauce on the side.


The Baking Club:


Arundathi : Mango Pound Cake

Arundati : Mango Cardamoma Pound Cake (Eggless)

Arundhati : Cardamom Mango Pound Cake


I’m also giving away a cookbook to one lucky person and if you would like a chance at winning it, please leave a comment at that post. The giveaway is open till the 12th June, 2011.

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