JJ and I celebrated five years of marriage over the weekend, and I decided to create a cake reminiscent of our honeymoon trip to the beach at that time. Unfortunately, the cake pictured above was not JJ’s favorite (I probably shouldn’t be admitting that, right?). My son and I loved it, however, and a good friend of mine graciously taste-tested a piece and really enjoyed it as well, so I’m sharing the recipe with you all anyway.
This dessert is undeniably tropical in taste, where fluffy coconut cake combines with tangy, mango lime sauce topped with creamy white chocolate mascarpone. I went the extra mile and toasted some shredded coconut for the sides of our cake and also dried some pineapple slices to look like flowers on top. It took a lot of work, but I was very pleased with the end result. This cake would look just as beautiful, however, with dried/fresh mango slices, nuts, or white chocolate shavings. A fuller list of ideas is included below.
The mango lime sauce does not thicken significantly, so the assembly for this cake can be a bit tricky. Some tips are included below in the “assembly” section to address this issue. Alternatively, this cake could be baked as a sheet pan poke cake, with the mango lime filling used to fill in the holes. Or, to keep the fluffy texture of the cake and its distinct flavors, cut the cake into individual or bite-sized pieces, then spoon the mango lime mixture over each serving, topping each one with a dollop of white chocolate mascarpone (JJ absolutely loved the dessert like this, which I was able to make from some extra cake we had). For this last option, I suggest storing the cake in an airtight container at room temperature to maintain its freshness longer. All other forms should be stored in the refrigerator.
However you decide to make this cake, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have and that it will transport your taste buds to the tropics with each bite.
TAKE ME TO THE TROPICS CAKE
- 1 c milk, room temperature
- 1 T white vinegar
- ½ c cake flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 1 t baking soda
- ¼ t salt
- ½ c butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ c granulated sugar
- 2 t coconut extract
- ½ c canned coconut milk
- 5 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 ½ c shredded coconut
In a small bowl, mix the milk and white vinegar together (or substitute the milk and vinegar for buttermilk at room temperature). Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with oil, then dust each with flour, removing any excess flour from the pans.
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and coconut extract together with an electric mixer, then add the coconut milk until well combined. Next, incorporate the egg whites slowly while continuing to beat the mixture with the mixer. Once combined, add the flour mixture and milk in segments until well incorporated, then fold in the shredded coconut.
Bake for 27-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool before removing from the cake pans.
Mango Lime Filling:
- 2 large mangoes (I used Ataulfo variety)
- 2 large limes, juice of
- ¼ c sugar
- ¼ c canned coconut milk
- 2 T cornstarch
- 2 T water
Blend the mangoes, lime juice, sugar, and coconut milk together in a high-powered blender until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat over the stove on medium low heat. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch and water together until smooth. Once combined, slowly add the sauce to the mango mixture, stirring constantly. Cook the mixture over the stove for 3-5 minutes, until heated through, then let cool slightly before transferring to a storage container. Chill for two hours, or until cold.
TIP: My friend suggested putting some lime zest in this filling to really bring out the lime flavor. I have yet to make it like this but imagine it would be tasty. Feel free to try this option, if you desire.
White Chocolate Mascarpone Frosting:
- 4 oz. white chocolate baking bar*
- 1 c heavy whipping cream, cold
- 2 T powdered sugar
- 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 1 t vanilla
Break the white chocolate into pieces and heat over the stove on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, beat together the whipping cream and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until the whipping cream begins to stiffen and form peaks. In a separate bowl, beat together the mascarpone, white chocolate, and vanilla, then add the whipping cream mixture and beat with the electric mixer until well incorporated.
*You can use 4 oz. white chocolate chips instead. However, make sure you buy a brand that does not include oil among the ingredients. This will cause the chocolate to harden and form little clumps throughout the frosting.
Dried/fresh mango or pineapple, shredded toasted/untoasted coconut, macadamia nuts, and/or white chocolate shavings.
To Assemble the Cake:
Cut each cake in half horizontally to form four smaller cake rounds. Set the first cake round on a plate/cake platter, then pipe a line of frosting around the edge. This will help to keep the filling inside the cake. Cover the middle of the cake with the mango lime filling, then place the next cake round on top. Repeat until the last cake round is placed on the cake, then frost the cake with the remaining frosting.
TIP: I found the cake to be a bit difficult to frost at first. If this is a problem for you, I suggest placing the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes to allow the filling and frosting around the edge to slightly harden, which will in turn make the cake easier to frost. While chilling the cake, allow the remaining frosting to sit at room temperature so that it will be more easily spreadable. Stirring the frosting thoroughly will also help to soften it.
Lastly, garnish the cake with any optional toppings you desire and enjoy immediately! You deserve it after all that work! 😊 Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.