Ever since I started baking, I have been making birthday cakes for my family, no more store bought ones ;) I used to get a little nervous at the thought of making a cake for a special occasion, but I am now so used to the task that I am using it as an opportunity to hone my baking and cake decorating skills.
This is one good example of my recent cake-making experiment. This 'made-to-order' birthday cake was created based on just one piece of information I gathered, "lots of fruits, no cheese please".
I was in no mood to baked a sponge layered cake so I settled for a no-bake chilled cake. Instead of digestive biscuits, the cake base is made with crushed oreo cookies, to make the oreo-cookie monsters in my house happy. I removed the cream in the oreos...and it became an instant treat for my child...he gathered the cream and rolled it between his hands to form 'candy balls'! It was really an unpleasant sight!!
I have decided on a mango mousse filling since I have been buying mangoes in 'bulk'. However, I wanted to do away with the whipping cream or heavy cream that is called for in every single recipe that I looked up in the internet. I had no luck with whatever cookbooks I have on hand too. Since I was quite determined to make the mousse filling without any heavy cream or whipped cream, I went ahead to create my own recipe.
I blended fresh mangoes, passion fruits and some non-fat yogurt, the blender I borrowed from one of my siblings came in handy :) To help the mixture set, I added some gelatin powder (melted in water). Even though I used a 7" pan, the mousse, or rather pudding-like filling was too little. The filling layer came up to only 1.5", as a result, I had a very short cake :(
Decorating the cake was easy, I simply loaded it with chunks of fresh fruits...mangoes, strawberries and blueberries. Little did I know the mousse layer was not really firm enough to take the weight of the fruits, and the cake started to 'sink'! I guess if I were to add the whipping cream, the texture would be firmer? So after I was done with the decoration, I had to wrap the sides of the finished cake with a plastic strip (cut out from a cookie bag) in order to hold the mousse layer together. I left it to chill in the fridge again hoping it would firm up.
Despite the flaws and a rather odd combination of flavours (oreo with fruits?!), the cake tasted very refreshing, full of fruity flavours...sweet, juicy, and a slight tang from the passion fruit. The filling tasted just like pudding. With everyone asking for second helpings, our family of four wolfed down the entire cake in one setting. It was the first time we didn't have to have leftover birthday cakes for breakfast the next day ;)
Note*: I have posted the recipe here for my own reference. In case you are interested to try this, do note that the ingredient amount for the filling needs further fine-tuning, unless you don't mind a short cake.
Mango Yogurt Pudding Cake
(makes one 7" cake)
for the biscuit base:
110g oreo cookies (remove cream and finely crumbled)
40g butter, melted and cool
for the filling*:
300g fresh mangoes (use sweet, ripped fruits)
juice from 1 passion fruit (remove seeds)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
200g mango flavoured yogurt (I used peach-mango flavour)
1 tablespoon gelatin powder#
3 tablespoons (45ml) water#
some fruits for decoration
(# I would use 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of gelatin, and 60ml water the next time I were to make this again.)
to make the biscuit base:
Place oreo crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with a spoon until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into the base of a 7" round pan (with removable base). Use the back of the spoon, smooth out the crumbs and press firmly. You can also use a glass (with a flat base) to press down firmly. Freeze the base for at least 1 hour.
to make the filling:
Measure water into a bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin (without stirring). Set aside to allow the gelatin grains to swell (10 mins) before setting the bowl over a pot of simmering hot water. Stir with a spoon and once the gelatin melts, remove the bowl from the pot and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Blend mangoes, passion fruit juice, sugar, yogurt until the mixture becomes smooth. Add in the gelatin solution to the mixture, mix well. Pour mixture onto the biscuit base. Cover with cling wrap and leave to chill in the fridge over night or for at least 4-6 hours. Remove cake from fridge, unmold and decorate with fruits as desired. Keep the cake in the fridge before serving.