My back and neck are a little better, the kitchen finally got a good clean and I'm back on my feet after a couple of tough weeks with my neck injury flaring up, my back giving up and the anniversary of my friend John's death all within a few days. I am still not driving, but I am able to type for short periods of time without pain, so to throw some much needed cheer in my life, I decided to finish this post, which was on draft for a few weeks.
If you follow my instagrame feed, you probably saw the two versions of this cake I made and that featured in my last post. This is one of my favourite homemade cakes. It is called 'Mostachon' (big mustache)... no idea why, but it is sort of a specialty in my hometown of Monterrey, Mexico. I absolutely adore the light and chewy texture of the base of the cake, which is a cross between a meringue and a pavlova with a fabulously creamy and summery topping full of delicious fresh fruits. It is summer on a bite and when I have it here, it transports me into a sunny terrace at home. Quite easy to make. My cousin Chiquis gave me the recipe for the base and I had to adjust the topping a bit to witstand the lovely Irish weather! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Preheat the oven at 170º. Take the springform cake tin and release its bottom. Using tin foil paper, lined the bottom part of the tin, making sure to leave it a little loose, so when the ring gets reattached, it does not tear the tin foil. Reattach the ring and fold any excess tin foil under the tin (you can also cut it if you want). Grease the now lined cake tin with butter. Make sure all the sides and the tinfoil bottom are well greased.
Let us start with the base of this cake: In a big bowl, whip your cold egg whites with the electric mixer (if you have a free standing one even better) until they start to form soft peaks; keep the mixer going while you add the baking powder, gradually followed by the sugar.
In Spanish we called this gradual, but constant addition of the sugar 'the rain method' (metodo de lluvia). It means the sugar must 'rain' softly into the egg whites to prevent any loss of air. When all the sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla extract. Only when the vanilla extract has been fully incorporated we stop whisking. By now you should have a pretty stiff egg white mixture.
Put the crackers in a plastic bag and bash them a little in the counter. You want to crumble the crackers without pulverizing them completely. Like the pecan nuts, we want them roughly crumbled so that both ingredients can add some texture to the meringue base.
So when you have the crackers crumbled, gently fold them and the chopped pecan nuts into the egg white mixture using a spatula and making sure not to over mix. You want to incorporate the ingredients without beating any air out of the meringue.
Carefully pour the meringue mixture into the lined cake tin. Don't try and smooth it over, it doesn't have to be perfect, just level it with a few bangs on the side of the tin. The less you handle this the better. Bake in a preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake has gone brown and firm. Don't worry if it is uneven or cracked a little, we'll take care of that later.
When the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and into a wire rack. Run a spatula or a knife around the ring of the cake, to make sure it's not attached to the ring. Carefully detach the ring and let the cake cool down like that. The cake is very delicate, so handle it carefully. It must be completely cold before you can assemble it. A word of advise, as the cake cools down, it becomes more delicate and easier to break.
While the cake base cools down, get on with the topping. Pour the double cream into a bowl and start whisking. As soon as the cream starts forming soft peaks, start adding the cream cheese in large knobs, one at a time, until it is all incorporated. Follow by adding the icing sugar all while whisking. Finally, cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the seeds and the juice into the creamy icing and mix again. Put the icing in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the cake.
When the cake base is completely cool, carefully peel the tin base and the fin foil from the bottom of the cake and place the cake on a nice plate. Take the icing from the fridge and spread it on top of the cake. Top it all up with the chopped mango and enjoy!
This is a gloriously light and delicious cake. Quite summery and with loads of variants. It is wonderful with fresh berries, like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc. The possibilities are endless. The base is wonderful and chewy... almost cake like. It can be done a day in advance, but will become quite soggy after that... not that it matters, every time we make it at home, we eat it on the same day! :)