best of the worst.

mango cheesecake

no joy in the kitchen these days. i had that cupcake fiasco, ruined a roasted turkey (all 17 pounds of it!), wrecked a couple batches of cookies....aww, it's too sad to get into. needless to say, my latest culinary endeavours have involved the words "reheat" and "takeout".

however, there was a request for cheesecake--not the typical new york baked style, but something slightly more asian, slightly more tropical. in saipan (a neighbouring island), the pacific gardenia hotel has a gelatin-set cheesecake topped with fresh mango, and that is what my mum was looking for; i don't have the time or dosh to hop on a (albeit 25-minute) flight over, so i had to make one. or two. or five.

still futzing with the recipe, as i found it to be lacking in depth and slightly too-soft set. however, this is the basic in case you'd like to experiment: sponge cake base, brushed with a sugar-orange liqueur syrup, followed by a mix of cream cheese, condensed milk and gelatin folded into whipped cream, and topped by "petals" of mango set in a mango-orange juice glaze. soft, light, whippy, and fruity. it doesn't taste as rich as you'd imagine, and it's easy to hoover up a good portion of it before you begin to worry about the alarming calorie content. i think i needed a bigger mango to make bigger petals for a prettier flower; however, the mango was about 2 minutes away from being overripe, and just this side of sweetly, stickily perfect. just like the cake over all.

now to make it perfect....

update 12april06: still by no means perfect, but here is the working recipe for the mango cheesecake.

mango cheesecake

1 prepared sponge cake (make your own, or store bought)

sugar syrup (you'll only need a scant amount)
orange-flavoured liqueur, to taste

2 packets unflavoured gelatin
1/2 c. water
2 8oz. packages of cream cheese
1 300ml can condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
16 oz. heavy whipping cream

6 large, ripe mangoes

1 packet unflavoured gelatin
1/4 c. water
1/2 mango juice
1/2 orange juice

cut sponge cake in half lengthwise, and fit into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. add orange liqueur to sugar syrup, and brush or drizzle this mixture on top of the cake. set aside.

sprinkle 2 packets of gelatin into 1/2 c. of water, leave for 2-3 minutes until dissolved. add the can of condensed milk to a saucepan, along with the gelatin mixutre, bring to a boil for a minute or so, then take off the heat. cut the cream cheese into chunks and whisk or blend into the condensed milk mixture. add the vanilla extract and blend well. leave to cool thoroughly. whip the heavy whipping cream in another bowl, then fold the cream cheese-condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream. pour on top of the cake base, then refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.

dissolve 1 packet of unflavoured gelatin into 1/4 cup of water, leave to sit for 2 minutes. mix the mango and orange juices in a saucepan, add the dissolved gelatin and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. leave to cool.

peel mangoes and cut the flesh along the pit into 2 "cheeks". slice the cheeks down the "short" side into uniform pieces (these will be your "petals"). arrange the mango slices by slightly overlapping each piece, and going around the pan in a continuous concentrical spiral--when it gets too difficult to continue, cut a chunk of mango off the sides of the pit to fit in the center. drizzle the juice-gelatin mix over the mangoes, filling in any gaps. chill again for another 2-3 hours, or overnight.

makes one 8-inch cake. note-i actually made these with dessert molds, and managed to make 6 3-inch desserts from the recipe.


Well - it looks very pretty indeed. I had a turkey disaster recently too,if that is any consolation, except it was more than 20lbs. I left it too defrost for one day too many and it started to pong so I had chuck the whole thing in the bin!

Ah yes, kitchen fiasco. My new thing is breaking plates and such. I recently broke 2 glasses and 2 plates, a Le Creuset ceramic dish, so I am trying not touch anything anymore.
Your cake looks nice. Great consolation!

Santos- you now must tell the story of the turkey disaster!

Your cheesecake looks beautiful. Also, what is Sam referring to when she says "pong?" I have to add that word to my vocabulary!

Completely unrelated to the topic - but i love the new look of the blog. Very nice.


Looks delicious.. hope i can get your recipe..same as tokyo girl.."pong" after html language.. I still do not perfect my english... maybe it is like french "l'argot"

That is absolutely brilliant! Not only the design, but the flavors as well. Bravo Santos. Bravo!

If it makes you feel any better it looks spectacular!

ms. sixy, i hear ya. i've done that, but luckily not with a 20+ pound turkey!

bea, oh no! not the le creuset! i've been through that phase before, but with glasses and coffee mugs--i have a whole set of cups without handles.

miss astrogirl of tokyo, it's not much of a story. i didn't separate the meat from all the roasting juices, nor did i allow it to cool down properly before shoving it in the refrigerator, so it didn't cool down properly. when i woke up in the morning, it was all bubbly and pongy.

and yes, isn't 'pong' an awesome word? it's a british colloquialism for "unpleasant smell" or "stench". it can be used as a verb, noun, or adjective, and can describe various states of, er, unpleasantness.

hi miñetta, thanks! it's still under construction, but for the most part done. just working on that darned banner on top!

hi relly, i will post the working recipe--perhaps you can improve upon it. yes, 'pong' is slang for 'stink' or 'stinky' :D

pinkstar, if only you were here--mangoes, mangoes everywhere!

ivonne, it is charming, isn't it? i would like it to look more distinctly flowerlike, but for a first attempt, definitely not bad at all.

That is one beautiful looking mango cheesecake! I love it!

I think we've all been through those funks where nothing comes out the kitchen right - you seem to be pulling out it very nicely though! I really like the mango flower!

mm, the mango really makes the dessert; without it, it would be so 'meh'.

anita, it's frustrating. nothing's quite turning out the way i hope, but at least i'm forced to improvise. you know, more than usual.

where are your mangoes from? try to get philippine carabao mangoes from guimaras. they're the best! and they're also available blast frozen in "cheek slices" or cubes - just thaw and they're good as fresh!

This cheesecake is a masterpiece! Mangoes...love them. Cheesecakes...love them more. Treadmills...hate them, but a good cheesecake is worth the hour of misery! As for "pong", my new vocab word...came home yesterday evening to find bowl of prepared tuna, which was used that morning to make lunch, was left on kitchen counter all day. Yes, it had left my home smelling quite pong.

Oooooo...prettiest cheesecake i have ever laid eyes on! Mangoes...yummmm

kayenne, i get mangoes locally or from the philippines--usually fresh, but when they're not available, i'll go for the frozen ones.

seamuscuddles, tuna pong! ick! :D

robs, yes, mangoes, mmmm!

kayenne, i get mangoes locally or from the philippines--usually fresh, but when they're not available, i'll go for the frozen ones.

seamuscuddles, tuna pong! ick! :D

robs, yes, mangoes, mmmm!

Would the recipe work if I used a box of Mango jello powder, instead of unflavoured gelatin?

towfiqa, i'm not sure, but you can certainly try! it would be sweeter from extra sugar, but maybe it won't be too noticeable or you can counteract it with lemon juice....