Middle of the Night Awesome Idea: Mango Lassi Genoise

Mango Lassi Genoise 026I grew up eating straight-up UhMERkin food. Solid. Filling. Nourishing. But not exotic. And honestly, as a kid, exotic would have scared me. But still.  I don't think I even had "Chinese" food--and by "Chinese," I mean sweet and sour chicken--until I was in college. I had tacos maybe 14 times over the course of my Formative years, and I had never even gone to Taco Bell until I was moving into my second rental.  How does anyone make it out of college without ever going to Taco Bell? I don't really know, but I did.

I tell you these things so you will understand Exactly Where I Am Coming From when I say that Indian Food is my Favorite.  I don't even know how it happened.  I probably have told you before, but my first experience with Indian food was at a restaurant in Charlotte back in 1989-ish.  I was probably 23-24 (I'm bad at math), and I was Trepidatious when some friends suggested Indian for a night out. But I was game, and didn't want to wuss out by cramming a hastily assembled PB&J into my purse.

When we got there, I looked at the menu and decided that Things Would Be Okay. Aside from all the words I couldn't pronounce, I found references to a Number of foods that I really, really liked. Lamb? Check. Chicken? Check. Bread? Check. Potatoes? Check. Garlic? Check. Rice? Check. Peas? Check. So, I held my breath and ordered. And then the lovely man (as I think of him now) brought me my food, and I fell in love. Even though the spices could not have been more alien, and even though I didn't even like yogurt or cucumbers, and even though they had the nerve to serve me some non-starchy Vegetables, all the food felt instantly familiar and comforting.

Mango Lassi Genoise 031But the beverage.  The lassi. The mango lassi. This--this...elixir...transported me.  I had never had a mango. I didn't like yogurt. But I could not get enough of that silky/creamy/just-sweet-enough lassi.  I mean to tell you that I plowed through the ludicrously overpriced (they always are, but I don't even care) beverage/dessert/cure-all in about 3.7 seconds. I couldn't help myself. I still can't.  I order one. I drink it. It's gone.  The stuff is like Nestle Quik--I can't drink it slow cuz it's Quik! (Doh-doh-dee-oh)

Well, the other evening, I had a Thought. I thought that it would be Keen to make a mango lassi into a cake. I've made it into a panna cotta before (highly recommended) for my plated dessert final in culinary school, but I wanted some Cake. So I thunk and thunk about how to do it. First I considered just making a mango pound cake, but I wanted something a bit more special. Then I thought: chiffon cake! But decided against it.  I wanted the dessert to be very light in texture. And kinda fancy. Genoise? Perfect. Light and airy and able to hold some tasty syrup.

more genoise 003And then I had a Specific Thought regarding the yogurt portion of the activity. I thought that, if I strained the yogurt long enough that it might act like butter in a standard American buttercream.  (This turned out to NOT be the case, but how's a girl to know if she doesn't try)? So I started Playing.

Genoise--no problem. Mango curd--no problem (well, a little bit of a problem. I hadn't added enough gelatin to let it set up the way I wanted, so I just took a couple of tablespoons of orange juice and bloomed a bit more gelatin, added a scoop of the runny curd and heated it all up together. Then, I whisked the gelatinized batch into the rest, et voila--she was perfect). Strained yogurt--no problem. Cardamom simple syrup--no problem (and miraculously fragrant and wonderful).

Assembly was simple, more or less. I cut the genoise layer in thirds, used 1/3 of my syrup to moisten the first layer, globbed on about 3/4-1 cup of mango curd, topped with another layer, then syrup, then more curd, then the last layer and syrup.  Since the curd would set softly like pudding, I decided to use some of it as the crumb coat.

Filling and Crumb Coating 004Plus, it would add more mango flavor to the top and outside of the cake.  So far, so good. And then this morning: a Stumbling Block.

Here's what happened when I decided to whip powdered sugar into reasonably fluffy yogurt/mango curd/honey: sweet soup.

Mango Soup 003Sweet chalky soup.

Poo. Ever undaunted, I Rallied. How to thicken up the soup? Butter! So I ended up making a hybrid American/European--Ameripean? Ew.--buttercream.  I used 8 ounces of the soup, warmed it slightly, and then whisked in 8 oz of soft-but-cool butter until I had a beautiful, fluffy buttercream.

Mango Lassi Genoise 014Hooray!

But then, I realized that there was no longer enough yogurt in the buttercream to make me feel lassi-ish, so I took the straight-up strained yogurt cheese, whisked in a bit of the mango soup, and used it to add a layer of yogurty goodness just on the top of the cake.

Mango Lassi Genoise 011I frosted the whole shebang and there it was. My cake. My cakish ode to the mango lassi.

And how was it? Light, creamy, flavorful, airy, not-too-rich, not-too-sweet. Pretty darned perfect, even with the mango soup detour.

I have a bunch of that mango soup left over. I will figure out what to do with it. Honest.  The cake, though, I know Exactly what I'm going to do with that.

Mango Lassi Genoise 034

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mango Lassi Genoise
Recipe type: Big Old Cake
Serves: 12-16
The genoise is Rose Levy Beranbaum's Genoise Classique with a couple of slight modifications. The curd is incredibly loosely adapted from Smitten Kitchen's mango curd. The rest, sweet chalky soup included, is all me! I am reporting exactly what I did and what I used, although I would do things differently next time. See the notes at the bottom of the recipe. To make the strained Greek yogurt, place 1 quart of Greek yogurt in a strainer lined with a damp coffee filter. Cover the top with plastic wrap and weigh place a weight on the top. I used a saucer with a couple of containers of leftovers on top. Strain for 24 hours. You'll end up with something the consistency of the tub kind of cream cheese.
What You Need
For the Cake
  • 1.25 ounces beurre noisette--If you click the link to the original recipe up there, you can find out how to make it.
  • 7 ounces whole egg (about 4 eggs)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3.5 ounces Demerara sugar (you can certainly use regular white granulated, if you want)
  • 1.75 ounces cake flour
  • 1.75 ounces corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground cardamom seeds
For the Soaking Syrup
  • 4 ounces water
  • 2 ounces Demerara sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground cardamom seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Mango curd
  • 9 oz Odwalla Mango Tango Smoothie*
  • 4 oz mango chunks (I thawed out some frozen)
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon Demerara sugar
  • very heavy pinch of salt, about ¼ teaspoon or so
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 oz butter, cut into pieces
  • 1½ teaspoons gelatin
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice (or more Mango Tango if you didn't go ahead and drink it all)
For the Rather Unfortunate Mango Soup
  • 8 oz. strained Greek yogurt
  • 4 oz. mango curd
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • heavy pinch of salt
  • splash of vanilla
  • 8 oz powdered sugar
For the Greek Yogurt Layer
  • 1½ cups strained Greek yogurt
  • enough mango soup to thin to spreading consistency, about ½ cup
For the Mango Buttercream
  • 8 oz mango soup
  • 8 oz softened butter, cut into 16 pieces
What To Do
For the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Spray an 8"x3" (or 9"X2") pan with pan spray. Line the bottom with a parchment circle, and spray again. Set aside.
  3. Stir the ground cardamom into the hot beurre noisette and set aside.
  4. Put the eggs, sugar and salt in your mixing bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the egg mixture is warm, not hot, to the touch.
  5. Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment and beat the eggs on high speed for at least 5 minutes, although it will not hurt them to go for longer.
  6. Sift together the flour and corn starch.
  7. Once the eggs have whipped for at least 5 minutes, stir one cup of the batter into the warm butter/cardamom mixture. Pour this back into the mixing bowl with the rest of the batter, but pour it down the side of the bowl.
  8. Sift the flour/corn starch mixture over the top of the eggs.
  9. Fold the batter, butter-batter and flour mixture together gently but thoroughly.
  10. Pour/scrape into the prepared pan, smooth the top and immediately place in the oven.
  11. Bake until done, between 25-35 minutes. You will know it is done when the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan--no need to impale with a skewer.
  12. Remove cake from pan immediately, peel off the parchment and let cool, right side up on a rack, until room temperature.
For the Soaking Syrup
  1. Bring the water, sugar and cardamom seeds to a rolling boil, and let it boil for a few seconds.
  2. Remove from heat and cover until cool.
  3. Stir in the vanilla.
For the Mango Curd
  1. Put the butter pieces and the vanilla in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small glass, bloom the gelatin in 2 tablespoons of MT or orange juice. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, combine the Mango Tango, mango chunks, sugar and salt. Blend until smooth.
  4. Scrape the mango mixture into a medium sauce pan and add the yolks.
  5. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly. The mixture will bubble up and thin out a bit. Eventually it will start to steam and then thicken.
  6. Continue whisking madly until the foam you have whisked up subsides--about 170F, if you have a thermometer.
  7. Strain the mango mixture into the bowl with the butter and vanilla.
  8. Scrape the gelatin mixture into the bowl on top of the hot mango curd.
  9. Whisk everything together.
  10. Chill until very softly set.
For the Rather Unfortunate Mango Soup
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the strained yogurt, the mango curd, honey, salt and vanilla. Look dubious.
  2. Whisk in 8 oz of powdered sugar. Be sad. Then rally.
For the Mango Buttercream
  1. Heat 8 ounces of mango soup until just barely warmish.
  2. In your mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip in the butter, a pat at a time, until you have a lovely, fluffy buttercream. Be happy.
To Assemble This Guy (the rules are above in the post, as well)
  1. Slice the top and bottom crusts off the genoise (the top crust will be thicker and easier to remove).
  2. Torte the genoise into three layers. Use a serrated knife for this. I tried with dental floss and it didn't work--the genoise is just too boingy.
  3. Put a dab of mango curd on the center of your serving platter. and place the bottom thin layer of genoise on the platter.
  4. Brush with ⅓ of the cardamom syrup.
  5. Pile on about 1 cup or so of mango curd and spread almost to the edges.
  6. Add another genoise layer, another ⅓ of the syrup and another cup or so of mango curd. Spread almost to the edges.
  7. Top with the last layer of genoise and brush with the last ⅓ of the syrup.
  8. Spread a very thin layer of curd over the top and down the sides of the cake. This is the crumb coat and will keep your icing from getting crumby.
  9. Refrigerate until set, covered with plastic wrap.
  10. Peel off the plastic wrap and spread a ¼" layer of Greek Yogurt/mango soup just on the top of the cake. Spread smoothly.
  11. Ice the top and sides of the cake with the mango buttercream.
  12. This will taste better the next day. But you can go ahead and have a piece. You've earned it.
Other Stuff to Know
*I was going to use mango nectar, but the ingredient list showed HFCS. I didn't want to use just straight mango because of possible stringiness. So, Odwalla it was. I made the cake layers, syrup and curd on one day. I also assembled him through the coating-with-curd stage. I made the yogurt layer and buttercream and finshed the cake on the next day. If I make something similar again, I will add some extra sugar to the mango curd that will go in the frosting--heating it up carefully while whisking madly so the sugar dissolves. Once it was just barely warm, I'd whip in the butter. No mango soup needed. My gut says about 8 ounces of curd and 8 ounces of butter. The yolk in the curd should be sufficient to help hold the emulsion.

Wow, that was a long one! But very doable. Honest. Or just make the curd by itself. It is very, very good.  And the cardamom syrup was quite a surprise. I had no idea it would be as lovely as it was.  So, make the Whole Deal, or just pick and choose the components you think sound good. Regardless, enjoy, and have a lovely day.





  1. says

    You are all kinds of awesome!! My middle of the night ideas are usually incoherent but here you are whipping up a cake of Magnitude 6.Awesome.

    Guess what? My very first experience with Indian cuisine was also in North Carolina — a small restaurant across the street from DH Hill Library at NCSU. The waiter was a 6ft tall Sikh who never smiled or spoke the entire meal. I was hooked from my first taste of lamb korma and mango lassi! 8-D

    • says

      If I had had a big, mute, non-smiley waiter, I might’ve been put off of Indian food! The first yum I put in my mouth was those little minced lamb kebob thingies. I may have moaned a little!

      And, Unfortunate Mango Soup notwithstanding, my idea did turn out rather well. Now I just need to give it away! 😆

  2. says

    Holy cats, this must have taken you all day, LOL! I love the mango sauce, can we just dip fruit slices in it:-). I love how thick of a layer of frosting that you made, that is beyond yummy!!! Simply gorgeous darling, Hugs, Terra

  3. says

    That’s a week’s worth of baking in that list! The cake looks magical though.

    I had to laugh at your post – I remember when the first pizza place opened in our small town in Maine. My father refused to taste it. “God made normal food,” he would say. He never did eat it. There was one small Chinese restaurant but it was only take out.

    My husband remembers when Chinese take out in Australia meant you had to bring your own dishes to collect the food. 🙂

    I failed at the captcha – a clock has hands! lol

  4. Joseph says

    I can’t even say how awesome this is, both in concept and execution. This is why pastry chefs are so cool. I wish I was you.

    I’m going to make cake today, and it’s all your fault.

  5. says

    OMG OMG Jenni you inspire me even with your not-exactly-successful moments! Reading this, I really felt like I was next to you in the kitchen.. You know, where it’s ALLLLL gooood. . .Now, I would suggest maybe freezing up that mango soup in popsicle molds? maybe with some frozen fruit and/or crushed pistachios layered in? “Cause I know you wouldn’t want to WASTE it. . . =D

    • says

      Nancy!!! That is the best idea ever!! The worst that could happen is that I’d have cold soup! 😉 It is my hope that most folks react the way that you do to my less-than-successful moments! 8D


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