Stunning Mango Kulfi Cake

READY IN: 1hr 25mins
YIELD: 1 cake




  • Make the cake:
  • Set an oven rack in the middle position. Heat the oven to 350? F. Spray the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray or lightly butter them. Line the bottoms with parchment rounds. Spray or butter the paper rounds and dust the pans with 1 tablespoon of flour each. Invert the pans and bang them out over the sink to remove excess flour.
  • Make your mango reduction by simmering the cup of Alphonso mango puree for about 25 minutes until it is reduced by ¼ of its original volume. when reduced remove from heat, allow to cool then chill while you make the cake.
  • Using a fork, mix the milk, egg whites, orange flower water, and vanilla extract in a bowl until well combined.
  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cardamom to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Using your thumb and forefinger, crush the saffron threads over the bowl. Using the paddle attachment (if using a stand mixer), blend the dry ingredients at low speed for about 5 seconds. Add the butter and beat at low speed until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, about 1 ½ minutes.
  • Add all but ½ cup of the wet ingredients and mix at medium speed (6 on a stand mixer, or high speed with a handheld mixer) for 1 ½ minutes. Add the remaining mixture and beat for another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 20 seconds.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans and spread it out to the walls and smooth out the tops. Bang the pans against the counter a few times to even out the batter.
  • Arrange the pans on the oven rack so that there is at least 3 inches of space around each pan (this allows for proper air circulation and even baking). Bake for 23-25 minutes; a toothpick should come out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then invert them onto a plate and then onto a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
  • After the cakes are done, spread the pistachios on a baking sheet and bake them at 350? F for 3-4 minutes to lightly toast them.
  • When the nuts are cool, place them in a plastic bag and lightly crush them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the crushed nuts for the top of the cake. (Optional: toss them with a small amount of green luster dust.).
  • Make the frosting:
  • Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in large pot. Reduce the heat so that the water is simmering.
  • Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Place this bowl on top of the pot of simmering water. Whisk the mixture for 1 ½ - 2 minutes – it will turn frothy and then white. (This is done to heat the egg whites and kill any bacteria that may be present and to dissolve the sugar.).
  • Transfer the bowl to a standing mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix on high speed (10) until the whites are thick and glossy and the bowl is cool – this will take about 8 minutes.
  • Add the butter one piece at a time, waiting a few seconds between each addition. (The frosting may appear curdled when you have added about 2 sticks of butter, but ignore that and just keep adding the butter – it will get smooth again.).
  • Add the mango reduction and beat until fully incorporated. Reserve ½ cup of frosting in a piping bag.
  • Assemble the cake:
  • Using a serrated knife or cake trimmer, level the tops of the cakes. (This recipe produced a pretty flat cake – very little doming – so I didn’t have to cut too much off.).
  • Place one cake cut side down (bottom facing up) on a cake platter or serving plate. (Before doing this, put 3" x 2" strips of foil or waxed paper around the edge of the plate, then put the cake on top – this will keep your serving plate clean.).
  • Spread ¾ cup of the frosting on the cake and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the crushed pistachios onto the frosting.
  • Place the second cake, cut side down, on top of the frosted layer. Spread about ½ cup of frosting on top and spread it out in a very thin layer along the top and sides of the cake, using more if necessary. (This is called the crumb coat – it traps any crumbs that come loose from the cake so that the final layer of frosting is clean.).
  • Refrigerate the cake until the frosting is hard, about 30-40 minutes.
  • Spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake to form a smooth, even layer.
  • Using the reserved frosting, pipe stars onto the border of the cake. (On the first cake, make just one row of large stars using. On the second cake, make three rows.
  • Sprinkle the reserved pistachios in a circle in the center of the cake. (Optional: sprinkle gold luster dust between the nuts and the border.).