Mango Lemon Cake

It’s Tuesday – and that means a new challenge from the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group. I almost skipped this one.  The last two weeks have gotten away from me – mostly in a good way: dog classes, a photography workshop, social events, and even some gainful employment.

But really, my reluctance was mostly about the 1 ¾ cups of cake flour called for in this week’s recipe for Lemon Loaf cake. As I move more and more towards whole grains (if I can make bread without white flour, surely I can make anything without it!) I’m more and more reluctant to let more processed flours creep back into my diet.  But cakes without white flour are a big challenge. And I signed up for Tuesday’s with Dorie to become a better baker, so I don’t think it’s a great idea to pick and choose the challenges. If I’m in, I’m all in.

If anyone has a source for organic unbleached cake flour, or a good substitute please, please let me know. I’m going to need it. Right now, King Arthur is as close as I can get.

Whole wheat flour works great in some recipes, but I knew just by reading the recipe that wouldn’t be the case with this one. (You’ll find the original recipe on the blogs of our TWD hosts for the week, Truc, of Treats, and Michelle of The Beauty of Life).

This lemon loaf cake recipe comes from Norman Love – a master pastry chef, who was, at the time Baking with Julia was produced by WGBH, the pastry chef at the Ritz Carlton in Boston. He has since opened his own artesian chocolate business – and some of the flavors at Norman Love Confections look like they’d be right up my alley; say Hot Dark Chocolate, or Venezuelan Dark – confections looking to make a bold statement.

And some might say that a pound cake that calls for the zest of three lemons is also something bold. But not me.  I’m willing to suck it up and use cake flour, but only for a cake that packs some punch. So I juiced my lemons, and pureed them in the blender with 2 perfectly ripe mangos, and ¼ cup of yogurt. That went in the recipe in place of the ½ cup of cream from the original.

It made for a wonderful cake. Dense from all the extra liquid, of course, but, slightly under-baked, (think pudding cake), and served with whipped cream, it wasn’t Norman’s cake, Dorie’s,  or the whole grain  quick bread of my dreams, but it was something special. And that’s what I’m looking for.

Don’t miss out on all the links from this week’s challenge.  A big part of the fun is seeing the spin that every participating blogger brings to the challenge.


18 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Piebird on April 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I had the same reservations about cake flour as you. The copper molds and garnishes made your “loaf” into an elegant cake. And I’ll bet the mango really upped the flavor ante!


  2. Those are fun!!


  3. I love this!! I made a Thai inspired cake with lime, basil and coconut cream instead of heavy cream. Your cake sounds so moist and flavorful.


  4. Oh man that looks good. Love your pans!


  5. Great idea with the mango & lemon puree. Looks just lovely!


  6. gorgeous looking cake and I love your idea of adding in mango. Sounds wonderful.


  7. The copper brioche molds are just lovely.
    Mango sounds like a lovely addition.


  8. I love your molds! They are so beautiful! And your combinations sounds really tasty!


  9. I hear you on the whole grain/bleached flour rant.
    did you know you can make your own cake flour? I don’t recall the proportions now, but all you do is add corn starch to AP flour. Every time I need to do it, I have to google to get the proportions. but its much better than buying cake flour.


    • Thanks for the suggestion. My hope is to find a way to work in whole wheat flour, but I think it is a pipe dream.


      • Posted by P Daly on June 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm

        Master baker Rose Levy Beranbaum touts the discovery by “Kate” a contributer to her blog. Kate lives in England where, like the rest of Europe, bleached flour is outlawed.

        “Kate Flour” is Kate’s recipe for microwaving unbleached flour into flour useful for cake recipes that call for “bleached flour” or cake flour.

        It doesn’t answer your call for “whole wheat” but then again whole wheat probably has a higher protein content than what most cake recipes would want.

  10. Oh, your cake turned out wonderfully! It looks beautiful. The Lemon Loaf was the one Tuesdays with Dorie recipe I’ve tried so far that really flopped. It was easy to make and looked nice but was just… blah. Sent it to work with my husband for his normally voracious coworkers to eat, but when I stopped by several days later it was still sitting there wrapped in foil. I’m sure your additions of mango, lemon juice, and yogurt really helped the texture and flavor! Mmmm.


  11. Posted by P Daly on June 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Here’s a direct link (below) to “Kate Flour” at Kate’s blog in the UK. Kate leaves a May 2012 update that commercially heat treated flour is now being sold to homes in the UK. Prior to this, only businesses and not home bakers, had access to heat treated flour.

    That is why Kate resorted to microwaving her unbleached flour to make cakes:


  12. Thank you for the interesting feedback. The King Arthur cake flour I use is unbleached, but I still feel like it is a compromise. I think I just need to learn to bake with more whole grains!


    • Posted by P Daly on June 11, 2012 at 8:37 am

      I checked King Arthur’s website to see if they achieve unbleached cake flour by heat treating the flour –which produces changes in the structure of the wheat granules, allowing more water and butter absorption, similar to the response of flour that has been chlorinated (i.e., ‘bleached’).
      However, KA does not discuss how it makes its ‘unbleached cake flour.’

      According to a wikipedia entry on ‘cake flour’, King Arthur’s unbleached cake flour is merely corn starch added to unbleach all purpose flour which has been milled extra finely. Perhaps we could encourage KA to heat treat its flour.

      Check out the 3 part series of posts on ‘flour science’ by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
      They are from 2010 and earlier but still useful.
      She finds that potato starch is a better choice than corn starch to mix with all purpose flour.

      Here is Rose’s list of conclusions:
      1. bleached cake flour is suitable for cakes where a very tender texture is desired.
      2. bleached all-purpose flour and 15% potato starch to simulate cake flour results in a more even cake with smoother crust and better taste than cornstarch, but is not quite as tender.
      3. bleached all-purpose flour is preferable for cakes that benefit from more structure.
      4. bleached flour results in the best flavor.
      5. bleached flour results in the best volume.
      6. bleached flour results in the most tender and velvety texture.
      7. unbleached flour results in less volume.
      8. unbleached flour results in a coarser, chewier texture.
      9. unbleached flour results in a cornbread-like flavor.
      10. cornstarch substitution for part of the flour for bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour is less effective to improve structure than decreasing leavening, and alters the flavor.
      11. potato starch substitution for part of the flour for bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour is even more effective than cornstarch as it softens the crumb. For the unbleached flour it also improves the flavor by lessening the cornbread-like quality.


      You can also go to an active thread at her website to ask about your quest to bake cakes with whole wheat. She is good about answering questions on a regular basis.


  13. Posted by P Daly on June 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    You’re welcome.
    Rose Levy Beranbaum is an American treasure in the baking world–always searching for a scientific explanation for how baked goods turn out the way they do.

    I found an answer for you on whole wheat and baking cakes at Chow Hound.

    You may not like the answer. Rose Levy Beranbaum’s advice in the article is that white wheat should be used for baking cakes and whole wheat is best used instead for pie crusts and bread. Rose authored a book on Breads, in addition to her Cake Bibles(s), so you may find her useful in your quest to bake with whole wheat after all.


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