Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mango Mousse Anniversary Cake

In a couple of days my husband and I are going to be celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary and I wanted to make something special and different from my normal baked goods of cupcakes. We got married in Hawaii, which I think is the best place on this planet to get married, or at least barefoot on a beach on any tropical island will suffice, and I have always made something tropical for our anniversary. When we left for our wedding we had an early am lay over in San Francisco and like at 7 am we decided to get some breakfast before our flight out to Kauai. There is this cafe at SFO that has all kinds of awesome cakes, pastries, desserts, coffees etc and we decided hey what the hell this is a major celebration and vacation so why not start off with cake for breakfast!!! I got a slice of this amazing mango mousse cake and the hubs got um something else. I can't remember. ha ha. I just remember how heavenly this mango mousse cake was. Mostly mousse and thin layers of a simple sponge cake. Not overly sweet and a nice tang from the mango, one of my favorite fruits. 

So I decided to recreate this cake for our anniversary. My husband is working on the actual day so we decided to celebrate on Saturday ( last night).  The cake by itself is really easy and simple, not many ingredients. I chose a simple genoise, or sponge cake. I think the cake could have been a little better, not exactly what I liked, but maybe it was the recipe I chose to make. It worked with the whole cake put together, but I think if I make a genoise again it wont be this recipe. I used the one from my Williams Sonoma Cake book, from this recipe here. After I had made the cake I looked up other recipes for sponge/foam cakes and genoise cakes. I think there might have been a typo with the Williams Sonoma one since it said to raise the temp of the eggs/sugar mixture to 140 deg F and all the other recipes I had found said to raise to 100 to 104. As I was whisking and watching the temp the eggs seemed to be cooking a little. Scrambled egg cake anyone? Ew. BUT once I had it whipping the texture and color did what it was supposed to according to the directions so I thought it was going to be ok. It was - but not my fave type of cake. A little dry on its own and I baked it less than the directions said to. I also used another recipe from the Williams Sonoma Cake book for directions on cake assembly, the pumpkin mousse cake, which looks really good too and probably a nice alternative to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving time for those of you out there like my self that aren't fans of pie but still love pumpkin in desserts.

I also was trying to figure out recipes for the mango mousse and the mango mirror ( The glassy looking mango gelatin mixture on top of the cake) and was having a hard time finding them not in metric. Apparently this cake is a popular asian/thai cake so most of the recipes don't use standard American measures and I really hate converting because I hate math. I do have a food scale but I am thinking mine isn't as sensitive as it used to be ( it is well worn) so it might be time for an upgrade. So I did find a recipe and I converted it to the best of my abilities and the mousse and mirror came out awesome.

So here we go with my step by step pics.
Mise en place.

The mangoes were keeping the parchment paper flat in my cake pan. But since this was a mango cake I thought it made for a nice visual. ha ha
There is no chemical leavener in a genoise such as baking powder.. The whipping of air into the eggs and sugar is what gives the cake its height. Which isn't much so this is why there are only a few ingredients to measure out.

Whole eggs and sugar in mixing bowl of a stand mixer 

Whisking over a pot of simmering water to get to the right temp ( use a candy thermometer to watch the temp as you whisk)

Notice the color and volume of the eggs and sugar mixture after it had been whisked on high speed for 8 min.  Sift the flour over the mixture and carefully fold in so you don't deflate the air out of the eggs/sugar mixture. Like 10-15 folds each addition of flour
Poured into pan. There is only parchement paper on the bottom of the pan, it is not greased at all. No need. The recipe calls for a 9" x 3" pan but I only had a 9" x 2" and hoped that it wouldn't puff up and out of. It didn't. I think I might have deflated it a little when folding in the flour

Baked til golden brown and cooled in pan until needed for next step

Making the mousse
Whipping the cream first and chilling it until the mango gelatin mixture is ready to be folded in. I thought the mousse could have been a touch sweeter, next time I will add a few tbsp of powdered sugar to the whipped cream.

Softening the gelatin

The gelatin is added to the mango puree

Folding the puree into the whipped cream. The puree sort of sank to the bottom didn't really mix in that well and I noticed it when it was time to add the second layer of mousse so I stirred it better and when you see the cut slice of cake you can see one layer of mousse is slightly lighter than the other.

Cake assembly time

I LOVE my giant cake cutting knife. This cake was pretty thin so laying the knife against the counter was the perfect level to cut it into even halves

Peeling off the parchment on the bottom layer. You can see how thin this cake is

Bottom layer cut side up in a 9" springform pan

Topped with about half the mousse mixture

The other cake layer placed on top and trimmed around the edges so the mousse will fill in the sides

And the rest of the mousse. You can see this layer is slightly more orange since I mixed in the mango puree that had sank to the bottom of the bowl and didn't notice until I went to spread it on the cake the second time
Off to chill in the fridge a few hours to set the mousse

Mango Mirror Making Time

Mango puree, gelatin, sugar and water

The heated and dissolved sugar and gelatin mixture and the mango puree

All mixed together and cooling to room temp

The chilled cake with the mousse nicely set

Straining the mirror through a sieve so its a nice somewhat clear topping. I thought this was  a pretty cool thing to add to the top of the cake. 

I SUCK at piping lettering. But I wanted to add something to the cake being that it is our anniversary and all. I had "3 Years" on it as well but it looked BAD so I took it off. I hope this doesn't end up on Cake Wrecks blog. ha  ha

It really wasn't that bad taking it out of the spring form pan. I had to run a knife around the top to loosen the mirror but the rest slid right out and not too much had to be smoothed out

I overcompensated with sweetening the whipped cream I decorated with more than I normally would have since the mousse and cake weren't very sweet at all. It actually was perfect tasting all together.

I just LOVE the colors of the cake

It looks really neat sliced too and the mousse worked with the cake afterall. I still would make a different recipe if I do make this cake again. It was a touch dry for my taste even with gobs of mousse. The mirror was a neat touch. Both the hubs and I really liked it, great mango flavor and texture.


Classic Genoise Recipe

  • 4 eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3⁄4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

To make the génoise, preheat an oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar by hand until combined. Place the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan. Gently whisk until the mixture registers 140°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 minutes. Put the bowl on the mixer and beat with the whisk on high speed until the mixture is pale and almost tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift the flour over the egg mixture in 2 additions and carefully fold in with a large rubber spatula. Fold a large dollop into the melted butter, then fold back into the egg mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top of the cake is browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Run a table knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a work surface. Turn the cake right side up, leaving the parchment paper in place. Cut the cake into 2 equal layers. Put the top layer, cut side up, on a serving plate.

Mango mousse (adapted from Aran's roasted plum mousse)

  2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 packet plus 1 1/2 tsp gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
2 cups mango puree (about 2 -3 mango's or frozen mango thawed and pureed)
 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks. Cover and put it in the fridge.
Soak the gelatine in the water for a few minutes. Meanwhile mix the mango puree with the powdered sugar. Heat the gelatine/water mixture in the microwave until dissolved. I popped it in for 30 seconds at a time and stirred every time. 40 seconds was perfect
Add the gelatine mixture to the mango puree and mix well. Add the mango mixture to the whipped cream until well combined.  Pour half on top of first layer of cake in a springform pan. Place other layer on top of the mousse with edges trimmed 1/2 inch all the way around. Pour the rest of the mousse on top ( there will be a little leftover) and smooth with a spatula. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight covered with foil

Mango mirror

1packet plus 1 1/2 gelatin
150 ml (cold) water
1 ½ oz granulated sugar
4 ½ oz mango puree

Soak the gelatin in about half of the cold water. Meanwhile heat the rest of the water with the sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat. Add the soaked gelatin to the water/sugar mixture. Stir until all the gelatin has dissolved. (Heat gently if the gelatin doesn't dissolve).
Add the gelatine mixture to the mango puree and allow to cool down to room temperature. Pour the mirror through a sieve on top of the chilled mousse. Allow to set in the fridge.


  1. Wow this is amazing, I love the layered look you achieved, it must have taken you ages but it was definitely worth it! I wish I could try some! Happy Anniversary

  2. p.s how did you achieve your perfect piped writing?

  3. Thanks Gem!
    My writing needs work but thanks. I melted chocolate chips in the microwave ( 30 secs a time and stirred until melted)then I spooned into a plastic disposable piping bag with no piping tip and snipped off the end. I practced on wax paper and decided I needed a slightly bigger hole so I cut the tip just a teeny bit more. I was going to make the lettering and freeze on the wax paper and then transfer but the top of the cake with the mirror set was solid enough to pipe right on to it.