I’m sure we all have some crazy streak in us somewhere and when it pops up we do the weirdest things on impulse. I like to believe I’m a reasonably level headed person not given to too many crazy impulses (do I sound boring?), but ever since I have started blogging about food I have developed some minor eccentricities.
For one thing, I look at food very differently now, as I’m sure most of you do. It is no longer something to be just cooked and just enjoyed. It is about colour, texture, wondering if and how it would photograph well, amongst a lot of other considerations. Oh yes, it still has to be good to taste, above all.
Even my routine vegetable and fruit shopping isn’t the same anymore. I’m always running my eye around the market stalls to see if there’s something new, or different fruits or vegetables-wise. Many days, how and what I shop for is decided by what I want to blog about in the next couple of weeks!
My regular vegetable/ fruit vendors recognize this streak in me, and are always helpful with their suggestions with what more I could add to my already over stuffed and heavy shopping bags. They’re even nice enough to help me carry them to the car, on days when the bags are a bit too heavy for me.
So it isn’t surprising that I was overjoyed to see ripe mangoes being sold by a lady at the market. I have a lot of difficulty resisting mangoes, but how could I just walk by them without a second glance in September? In India, summer (April – June) is the season for mangoes. Then come the monsoons and by end of September, the rains have also disappeared. But mangoes in September, is something I’ve never seem before.
So I came back from the market clutching half a dozen mangoes, looking like I had just won a lottery! And knew I was going to make a Mango Crumb Cake I had bookmarked quite some time back. I like crumb cakes for the nice contrast of textures from the soft cake and the crunchy and crumbly topping.
If you are Indian, you would know that mango and cardamom make a fantastic pairing and if any nuts had to be used here, it would have to be cashewnuts or almonds. So I adapted the original recipe, by reducing the butter a bit (for obvious reasons, but also because my butter comes in convenient 100gm slabs), eggs and sugar. I also made some other changes, including adding oats to the crumb topping.
This is a really good cake to serve with coffee/ tea time, especially when you have company. The mango, cashewnuts and the cardamom make it special.
Mango Cardamom Crumb Cake
For the cake:
- 100 gm butter , softened at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar granulated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 mango , cubed (about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup cashewnuts broken (or chopped)
- 1 tsp ghee (browned butter or butter)
Crumb/ streusel topping:
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup oats rolled
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 30 gm butter chilled
- 3 to 4 pods cardamom powdered ,
- First make the cake. Start by heating the ghee/ butter in a pan. Add the broken cashewnuts and pan fry them, stirring frequently, till they turn golden. Remove the cashewnuts and keep aside. Add any remaining bit of ghee to the butter and sugar while making the cake.
- You can do the mixing in a food processor, but I used my hand held mixer. Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat, on low speed, till everything is blended. Add the egg, milk, flours, salt and baking powder and beat again on low speed till well blended.
- Scrape the batter into a greased and floured 8u201d (or 9u201d) cake tin and lightly smooth the top. Uniformly scatter the cubed mango pieces and then the cashewnuts over the top.
- Bake the cake at 190C (375F) for 15 minutes. Then take it out and sprinkle the topping evenly on top.
- In the meanwhile, make the streusel/ crumb topping.
- Powder the oats to a coarse powder. Put this and all the ingredients for the topping, except the butter, in a bowl and stir together. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and, using your fingers, rub them into the flour till the mixture forms small clumps.
- After 15 minutes of baking, take the cake out and sprinkle the topping evenly on the cake. Put the cake back in the oven and continue to bake at 190C (375F) for about 30 to 40 minutes, till the crumb topping/ streusel is brown and the cake is cooked.
- Cool the cake completely and then slice. Serve with coffee or tea, or perhaps for dessert with sorbet or ice-cream.