Mango Bravo Cake
Cashew Wafers, Chocolate Mousse, Cream, Mangoes
Cashew Meringue Wafers:
12 large egg whites (room temperature) [360 g]
1 tsp cream of tartar [3.4 g]
3/4 cup granulated sugar [150 g]
1/2 cup powdered sugar [60 g]
1.5 cups toasted cashews [225 g]
1/4 cup cornstarch [30 g]
1 tsp vanilla extract [5 mL]
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate (1 and 1/3 cup chocolate chips) [226 g]
6 tbsp unsalted butter [85 g]
4 egg yolks [80 g]
1 tbsp brandy (optional) [15 mL]
1 cup very cold heavy cream [237 mL]
2 tbsp sugar [25 g]
1/4 tsp salt [1.4 g]
Mango Filling / Topping:
2 fresh ripe mangoes (can substitute with about 2 cups frozen mango cubes) [320 g]
Whipped Cream Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese [226 g]
5 cups heavy cream (very cold) [1185 mL]
1 cup powdered sugar [120 g]
2 tbsp cornstarch [15 g]
2 tsp vanilla extract [10 mL]
1 tsp orange zest [2 g]
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate (about 1/3 cup chocolate chips) [57 g]
2 tbsp coconut oil [30 mL]
Separate 12 eggs into egg whites and egg yolks. Keep the 12 egg whites together. Separate 4 egg yolks from the rest in a small mixing bowl. Let the 10 egg whites and 4 egg yolks come to room temperature. Save the 8 egg yolks to use for another dish.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put 1.5 cup of cashews in a sheet pan, and toast cashews in the oven for 10 minutes, until they are golden brown. Set aside and let it cool.
Turn down the oven to 225 degrees F. Line one large sheet pan (13x18) and a smaller sheet pan (10.5x15.5 or 9x13) with parchment paper.
In a food processor, add in the 1.5 cup of toasted cashews, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup of cornstarch. Pulse till they are mixed and the cashews are very fine - looks like a powder.
In a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl, add in the 12 room temperature egg whites. Beat on low speed till the egg whites become frothy. Then increase to medium speed, add in the 1 tsp of cream of tartar, and mix it in. Then very slowly add in 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time. When all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high. Continue beating till you see stiff peaks.
Carefully fold in the cashew powder mixture into the meringue, one third at a time, as well as 1 tsp of vanilla extract, just until it is evenly mixed.
Place two 8-inch cake rings on the large prepared sheet pan, and a third 8-inch cake ring on the smaller prepared sheet pan. Do not grease the sides. Divide the cashew meringue evenly into the 3 prepared pans. Smoothen and flatten the top with a spatula. Bake it in the preheated oven at 225 F for 8 hours, or until the meringue wafers are completely dry, crispy and golden brown. Depending on your oven, it may take up to 8 hours at 225 F, but it could be done earlier. It should sound hollow when you knock on it, and very crispy.
The low temperature (225 F) and long baking time (8 hours) is needed to remove all the moisture from the egg whites and create a hollow and dry wafer, without burning the outer layer of the meringue.
While still warm, lift the meringue wafers off the parchment paper and carefully remove the wafers from the ring - if needed, insert a small knife between the wafer and ring at points where it is stuck. If the wafer is completely dry, it should come off the ring and parchment paper quite easily.
Let them cool completely to room temperature on wire racks. While the meringue wafers are cooling, make the chocolate mousse.
In a small mixing bowl, take the 4 egg yolks (leftover from separating egg whites) and beat it for 1-2 min till it is lemon yellow in color. Set aside.
Place a small heatproof (stainless steel or glass) mixing bowl over a water-bath on medium-low heat. Add in 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, which is about 1 and one-third cups of chocolate chips, and 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into six 1-tbsp cubes. Melt and mix them together until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat.
While chocolate is still hot, whisk in egg yolks, 1/4 tsp salt, and an optional 1 tbsp of brandy. Set this aside to cool till it is lukewarm.
In a separate mixing bowl, add in 1 cup of very cold heavy cream and 2 tbsp of granulated sugar. Beat this till you start to see stiff peaks.
When chocolate has cooled to lukewarm, fold in the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, one-third at a time, till it's smooth. Set this aside.
ASSEMBLY PART 1:
When the 3 meringue wafers have cooled to room temperature, wrap 2 of them well with plastic wrap, and wrap again with foil. Finally, seal them in an airtight zip-lock bag. Store them in the freezer overnight, or until you're ready to assemble the final cake.
Dab a little chocolate mousse in the middle of your cake board so the meringue doesn't slide around. Take the 3rd meringue wafer and place it in the middle of the ring, bottom side down.
Take an acetate sheet that's 30" long and 4" high, and place it around the meringue wafer, so that it's the same circumference as the wafer. Hold the acetate sheet together using freezer-resistant tape. Acetates sheets usually come with stickers - and I'm using the sticker that comes with the acetate sheet when I bought it. Alternatively, you can slip the 8" ring used for baking around the acetate sheet to hold it in place
Add the prepared chocolate mousse on top of the meringue wafer, and with a small spoon, level it so the top is as smooth and even as possible. Leave this in the freezer overnight (or until you're ready to proceed with Day 2 of the recipe), for the chocolate mousse to set.
Mango Filling / Topping:
Take 2 fresh ripe mangoes (can substitute with about 2 cups of frozen mango cubes), and slice them into small squares using cross-cross method. Include the mango flesh around the seeds.
Keep the slices from 2 mangoes in 2 separate bowls. 1 bowl is for the filling and 1 is for the topping.
Whipped Cream Frosting:
Beat 8 oz cream cheese in a bowl till it's slightly softened. Then add 5 cups of very cold heavy cream, and continue to beat till it's slightly thickened. Then slowly add in 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tbsp cornstarch, 2 tsp vanilla extract.
Continue whipping until the cream forms stiff peaks. Once it forms stiff peaks, add in 1 tsp of orange zest, and manually fold it in with a spoon.
Leave this frosting in the fridge till you're ready to use it.
ASSEMBLY PART 2:
Take your meringue base + chocolate mousse layer, as well as one of the wrapped meringue wafers out of the freezer.
With the acetate sheet still on, take your 2nd meringue wafer and place it on top of the chocolate mousse, squeezing it into the acetate circle.
Take 1 bowl of sliced mangoes (half of total mango cubes), add in 1 cup of your whipped cream frosting, and mix them together.
Spread this mango and whipped cream mixture evenly over the 2nd meringue layer, making sure it touches the sides of the acetate sheet, and the top surface is as flat as possible.
Take the 3rd (and last) meringue wafer out of the freezer, unwrap it, and place it on top of the mango-whipped cream layer, bottom-side up, so that the top of the cake is as flat as possible.
Then evenly spread a very thin layer of whipped cream frosting on top of the 3rd meringue layer, making sure the top is as flat as possible.
Doing your best to estimate by eye, use the back of a spoon to make dots around the top surface about 1 inch away from the edge of the cake, as a design marker or landmark when decorating the cake. Rest the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes, for the layers to firm up a bit.
While the new cake layers firm up in the freezer, transfer the remaining whipped cream frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Rest it in the fridge till you're ready to use it.
When the cake layers have firmed up in the freezer for 20 minutes, take it out of the freezer, and remove the sticker (or slide of the cake ring), and peel off the acetate sheet to reveal the layers of cake.
Pipe frosting along the side of the cake starting at the bottom and going straight up, ending at the landmark dot we made earlier.
Repeat this until you've piped these vertical walls of frosting around the entire cake. Try to keep the strips of frosting as close to each other as possible, so it looks like a continuous wall with evenly spaced ridges.
With a small spoon, flatten out the ends of those vertical strips, about half an inch from the landing, to create an even surface to pipe a shell border. Put the cake back in the freezer for another 20 minutes so the newly piped whipped cream walls can firm up a bit. Rest the piping bag full of whipped cream frosting in the fridge.
After 20 minutes, take the cake out of the freezer, and create a shell border around the top surface, about 1 inch away from the edge of the cake. To make the shells as evenly sized and shaped as possible, try not to lift your tip when pressing. Just press to create the shell bulb, then decrease pressure while dragging to create the tail. Again, rest the cake in the freezer for another 20 minutes for the shell border to firm up.
After 20 minutes, take the cake out of the freezer. Take the remaining half of mango slices and fill the center of the shell border with the mangoes. Let this rest in the freezer for about 20 minutes, then begin preparing the chocolate shell mixture.
Set up a double boiler over simmering water. Add 2 oz of semi-sweet chocolate (about 1/3 cup of chocolate chips). Stir until melted and smooth.
Add in 2 tbsp of coconut oil. Stir until smooth and combined - about 1 minute. Turn off the heat, but keep this mixture lukewarm (with residual steam) until ready to drizzle over the cake. It will solidify within seconds of touching the cold cake.
Spoon some of the warm chocolate drizzle into a disposable piping bag or small Ziploc bag. Seal it. Cut a very small hole at the tip. Take the cake out of the freezer, and immediately drizzle the chocolate over the cake.
To imitate the Conti's Bakeshop design, drizzle the chocolate over the mangoes, almost creating a puddle around the mangoes. Drizzle a layer of chocolate over the shell border itself, creating a nice line of chocolate along the top of the shell border. Then finally, drizzle chocolate along the outer edge of the cake, so that it drips down the vertical strips of whipped cream frosting, as it solidifies.
This is a frozen cake - leaving it at room temperature or in the fridge will make the meringue wafers soggy. Let it rest in the freezer overnight before serving for all the layers to firm up completely.
Store it in the freezer until you're ready to cut and serve it. Cut it with a serrated knife. Enjoy!