Mango mithai cake by Tarunima Sinha

Summer for me is incomplete without the Indian mango. There is something about the sweet fragrant varieties that makes them very indulgent. This cake is inspired by the flavours of Indian sweets and paired here with the mango. (Mithai is a term used for Indian sweets.)

Serves 8-10
For the sponge
self-raising flour 250g
fine sea salt ½ tsp
cardamom powder 1 tsp, finely crush seeds from 10-12 pods
pistachios 75g, finely chopped
cashew nuts 75g, finely chopped
butter 250g
golden caster sugar 250g
eggs 5 large
soured cream 75g
vanilla extract ½ tsp

For the filling
mangoes 2-3 ripe
double cream 250ml
icing sugar 50g, sifted
cardamom powder ¼ tsp, or finely crush seeds from 4-6 pods
saffron strands 12-15, soaked in 2 tsp of lukewarm milk

To decorate (optional)
edible flower petals a few
icing sugar a dusting
pistachios 10-12, chopped, to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 160C fan/gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins with butter and dust with flour. Line the base with baking parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift the self-raising flour, salt and cardamom powder. Add the chopped pistachio and cashew nuts to the flour and keep aside.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, or using an electric hand beater, beat the butter and sugar until it is light and pale on medium speed. This can take 6-8 minutes. Then add in the eggs one by one, mixing after each addition.

Add the nuts, cardamom and self-raising flour mixture in two or three additions and fold through. Mix in the soured cream and vanilla and fold again.

Divide the batter equally into the two prepared cake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven. The cakes are ready when they have risen and are light golden in colour. A skewer test should come out clean. Let the cakes cool in their tins for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the tins and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are in the oven, peel and chop the mangoes into small cubes and keep aside. Discard the stone.

Whisk the double cream to soft peaks and gently fold in the sifted icing sugar. Add the cardamom powder and soaked saffron. Gently swirl together to get a rippled yellow-and-white cream.

To assemble, once the cakes have cooled, place one of the cakes on a plate or a cake stand. Spoon the prepared cream mixture on top. Add the chopped mangoes and then place the second cake on top. Press it gently. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with some edible flower petals and some chopped pistachios.

NOTE: The addition of soured cream makes a light and tender crumb. You can leave it out if you prefer. Regular mangoes can be used in the recipe but I highly recommend looking out for the Indian alphonso or kesar varieties in the summer, for a fragrant and sweet mango flavour. These are available in Indian grocers or online.