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Mango-Turmeric Chiffon Cake
My lola made this chiffon cake—akin to Taisan but layered with fresh, ultra-ripe mango, and a Red Ribbon Bakeshop classic— for many birthdays, in many shapes: sheets, rounds, dramatic tiers. My mom made it, too, and devoted serious time to decorating, drawing from a suitcase full of vintage piping tips and pillars. My version is humbler: I adorn it with nothing more than sunflower petals, a nod to my mom’s other great hobby, floral arranging. (Be sure to use organic flowers that haven’t been exposed to pesticides, or look for other edible flowers at the market or online—or be like my mom and freestyle your own decoration.)
You want the ripest fruit, preferably a Manila mango from the Philippines (which the government has officially christened the Manila Super Mango) or a Mexican Ataulfo (also known as champagne mango), descended from Manilas brought over by Spanish galleons. The whipped cream frosting gets a little cream cheese, to keep it from deflating and give the cake a touch of salt. (Note: There’s no sugar in the frosting, because I think the sweetness of the chiffon and the mango is enough, but you’re welcome to adjust to your taste.) And I add a swirl of turmeric to half the cake batter, for a tie-dye effect. It brings a subtle earthiness—and is good for you, too.
Reprinted from the book Filipinx: Heritage Recipes from the Diaspora by Angela Dimayuga and Ligaya Mishan, published by Abrams. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Alex Lau
tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
cups (250 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting