Springtime Cake

I got sort of obsessed by the idea of making a springtime cake with mango curd and passionfruit buttercream frosting, decorated with fresh mango and edible forsythias, the sort of thing one might serve for Easter. Forsythias don’t actually taste like much, like most edible flowers, but v. pretty!

I usually do a lemon daffodil bundt cake for Easter brunch, and in fact, Lori Rader-Day would probably get cranky with me if I didn’t, because she loves it so, but that always made me a little nervous because daffodils aren’t actually edible, so I had to carefully make sure that however I decorated the cake with them, there was no risk of anyone eating a bit of daffodil. Usually I stuck them in a vase in the center of the bundt, but that’s kind of goofy. Anyway.

Once I get a recipe idea in my head, I have a really hard time letting it go, even if it’s not very practical. I even got a little cranky with the kids because they kept needing things from me when all I wanted to do was futz with my curd and frosting and cake (in the end, Kevin took care of both lunch and dinner so I could work on the cake).

I’m not going to give you all a recipe, because it’s not perfect — the mango curd was too sweet, it needed some tang from lime, and all of us agreed that we wanted, oh, twice as much fresh mango — a whole layer of it, along with the curd. And on top of all that, the cake itself, which I thought I could shortcut with a Trader Joe’s vanilla cake, was fine, but if I’m going to this much effort to make a cake, I want it better than fine, so clearly I’m going to have to work to get a yellow cake recipe I’m happy with.

The forsythias are only here for another week or so, and we really don’t need to eat another cake right now (especially since I just bought five different flavors of ice cream), so I suspect it may be another year before I come back to perfect this cake. I actually ended up giving half of it away to neighbors, leaving tupperwares on their doorsteps with a little note that we’ve been social distancing for more than two weeks, so hopefully they trusted the food enough to eat it. (Don’t tell me if you didn’t, neighbors, it’s fine!)

But the cake is a good idea, I think. I’ll get there eventually. And it’s certainly pretty, and Kavi said she liked it enough that she’d want it for a birthday cake, so I guess that’s not so bad then. The passionfruit buttercream really was pretty darn good — take a regular buttercream recipe, stir in 1/2 cup of passionfruit puree. Yum. SO GOOD. I had to fight the urge to just keep eating it straight out of the bowl.

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