Pipe Dream #127: To Survive Recital – Vanilla Mango Cake

I think probably over 50 percent of American kids take music lessons. Completely made up statistic, but when you live with a piano teacher, you get skewed perceptions of the musical world. Anyway, I’ve found that a common experience among kids my age is “The Recital,” a dreaded cacophony of sweaty children who may or may not have been practicing the minimum amount so that they would scrape by with their gold star. That is, I they practiced enough to earn a candy bar every month, but not quite enough to approach The Recital with complete confidence that they wouldn’t freeze halfway through their piece.

As the scheduled start time approaches, the chosen sanctuary/gymnasium/Dunn Bros (yes, I once witnessed a guitar teacher’s 15 kids give a group recital in a crowded coffee shop–not pretty) fills with anxious eyes and Easter Sunday outfits. The crowd is hushed, tense with anticipation. The only sound to be heard is the careful flip, flip, flip of sweat-stained sheet music (unless you’re at my mom’s recital, in which case, you can hear me and my friends giggling and scraping away at some Haydn quartet from the front).

Once the music begins, however, the tension eases somewhat. Cameras start clicking; toddlers start fidgeting; the coffee beans start grinding. Besides the dreadful silence as the kid who completely biffs it all walks off the stage, there is a general feeling of resigned-ness. Like, “Well, at least I wasn’t as bad as that guy,” or “I survived. Until next year then.”

This was the basic idea of this cake. The after-party is always the best part of any recital. People are overly happy because their worst nightmares have been nullified in about 60 minutes. My mum usually gets a cake from a local store, but I thought I could make a cheaper/better one. I used a fabulous vanilla cake recipe topped with a no fail swiss buttercream. What you haven’t seen before is the mango curd I used to fill the cake. I had some random frozen mango puree to use up, so I put it to task. I found the curd itself to be a little runny. Heaven knows why, though. Probably curd is supposed to be that consistency and/or I just messed it up somehow. :] Ah well. It tasted like nectar.

Relishing the discord,

L

Mango Curd
Adapted from smitten kitchen

Makes 1 to 1.5 cups

1 15-ounce ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (I used key lime juice, expired)
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Puree mango, sugar, lime juice and salt in processor, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally. Add yolks; puree 15 seconds longer. Strain through sieve set over large metal bowl, pressing on solids with back of spatula to release as much puree as possible. Discard solids in sieve.

Set metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk puree until thickened and thermometer registers 170°F., about 10 minutes. Remove from over water. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

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4 Responses to “Pipe Dream #127: To Survive Recital – Vanilla Mango Cake”


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    They were all wonderful performers except for my daughter, of course, who was even better. The cake was delicious!

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