Monet's Mango Surprise: Lemon Pecan Spice Cake filled with Blueberries and Mango

May  9, 2012
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Author Notes

The basis of this riff on a recipe by the wonderful Maida Heatter came about because I wanted a heavier cake with more texture, the nuttiness of whole wheat and pecans, and significant cardamom and lemon flavors. (To achieve the latter, I used my technique of grinding together the sugar,zest and spice.) I filled the cake with mangoes and blueberries, which remind me of the beautiful blue and yellow breakfast room at Monet's Givergny, where I wish I could have served him this as a breakfast coffee cake! —LE BEC FIN

  • Serves 8-12
  • Lemon Pecan Cardamom Cake:
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups AP white flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces ( 2 sticks) of softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup toasted pecans, roughly ground
  • Blueberry and Mango Fillings; Lemon Glaze
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  • 1 cup ripe mangoes**( about 7 ounces gross weight) peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice, drained
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, optional
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • hot water
In This Recipe
  1. Lemon Pecan Cardamom Cake:
  2. Spray with non stick spray the bottom and insides of a 9" or 10" x 3" H cake pan with removable bottom. Place a parchment round on the bottom; spray.
  3. Combine the sifted whole wheat and white flours; sift again.Remove 2 cups and sift in baking powder and salt. (Add leftover flour mix back into white flour.)
  4. In a mini processor, grind together 1/2 c. white sugar, zest of 2 lemons, 3 T. freshly ground cardamom, til almost soupy. Transfer from machine to a bowl .
  5. Beat 2 sticks of softened unsalted butter in a mixer w/ a paddle until soft and light. Add above sugar mixture, remaining 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 tsp vanilla,1/3 cup packed light brown sugar. Add 2 lg.eggs while beating , just until incorporated. Add 1 c. sour cream and beat til just incorporated.On low speed add the flour mixture and beat just until smooth. Add 2/3 c. roughly ground toasted pecans and mix very briefly.
  6. Turn half the mixture into the pan, smooth the top, spoon the blueberry filling on top of it, keeping it 1/2 to 1 inch away from the pan edges.Repeat with a layer of the chopped mango. Turn the other half of the cake batter onto this. Smooth top.
  7. Bake about 40-60 min. for the 10" pan; more for the 9", til the top of the cake springs back when pressed lightly with a fingertip. and skewer comes out with no traces of batter . Remove from oven and let the cake stand on a rack for 15 minutes.
  8. Run knife around inside pan edge;push up base to remove cake from pan sides. Place on a rack .Spread glaze over cake and let it drip down the sides. Let it cool and set up. Taste improves overnight.
  1. Blueberry and Mango Fillings; Lemon Glaze
  2. In a colander, rinse and dry 1 c. fresh blueberries. In a bowl, combine berries, 3 T. granulated sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon ,1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg and 1 tsp lemon juice*. Stir. Let sit. (* Before juicing the lemon, finely grate the peel of 2 lemons for the batter . Rasper/micro plane works best. ) In another bowl, combine the mangoes and sugar; let sit.
  3. While cake bakes, prepare the glaze . In a bowl, combine 1 c. powdered sugar 2 T. lemon juice and just enough hot water til glaze is just thin enough to pour. Set aside.
  4. Note**- If you choose to use only blueberries,you can add another 1/2 cup.

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I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom. I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??! While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines. Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!) I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me. I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.