What I’ve learnt about the first month of having a new baby? Always have cake in the house.

March 5, 2012

mango and coconut cake

All in all it’s been going well. Lee is thriving and I, while definitely beginning to feel the effects of all that broken sleep, am doing pretty well. Yes, there are piles of laundry (mainly clean though sometimes it’s hard to tell) in almost every room in the house at this stage, hair-washing has become a luxury, dressing doesn’t happen until 4pm some days and the high speed approach taken has had some frightening results (why and how does baby spew seem to appear on things which haven’t even been near the baby – don’t I have enough to contend with????) and “me time” are those ten minutes at about 3.30am when I am alone and not holding anything before I go to bed.

A big development is that Auggie seems to have finally accepted Lee’s existence and even manages to say his name  (well, sometimes). I believe Lee’s amazing farting abilities sealed the deal. Both his brothers have been massively impressed and now can’t wait for him to grow up into some kind of Dennis the Menace as far as I can make out. Word of his amazing powers have even reached the school and crèche where he has attained almost celebrity status- not bad going for a four-week old……

Foodwise, we’ve been keeping it very simple. Paul is back at work and Lee pretty much feeds all the time so most days it’s a bowl of pasta in the evenings and whatever comes to hand the rest of the time. While hummus, cheese, olives etc are all brilliant for this, I’ve come to rely on sweet stuff  for much needed energy boosts throughout the day. Biscuits and chocolate just don’t do it. Cake is what I need. We’ve had Nigel Slater’s Moscovado and Hazelnut one a few times which the boys can pretty much make on their own if you give them the ingredients. It’s a firm favourite at ours and a cinch to make but rather than risk overkill I’ve been branching out and somehow managed to make this week’s mango and coconut cake a few days ago while my sister cuddled Lee.

Coconut and mango is one of those matches made in heaven. You just can’t go wrong. This cake is really a sort of tart but instead of pastry there’s a shortbread base made with coconut that has a gorgeous crumbly texture. Then a layer of mango which I simmer down with blood orange and rum until it goes jammy. Finally, there’s a sprinkle of the crust mix so you get a crumble style topping. The result is a cake/pie that is perfect on its own with a cuppa but which also makes a brilliant dessert with vanilla ice-cream.

I’ve been making this cake for a while now, tinkering around with proportions and ingredients. The first time I made it was for a celiac friend and I used rice flour which worked perfectly so I’ve kept that up. If you don’t have any, you can use regular plain white or whole-wheat. This recipe uses dried as opposed to fresh mango and the reason is that all the flavour of fresh mango completely dissipates when you cook it. It’s a complete waste. We had amazing Osteen mangos a few months back and I made a version of this cake with them and you couldn’t even tell it was mango. You can of course use other fruit, I’ve made a version with cranberry and cinnamon which was so nice that I bought up lots of half price cranberries after Christmas and froze them so I could rustle up impromptu desserts at a moments notice. Hmmm…like that’s going to happen any time soon.

Mango and coconut crumble cake

You’ll need:

100gr dried mango

2 blood or regular oranges juiced 100 ml approx

50ml rum (I used Captain Morgans)

150 ml water

1 heaped tablespoon cane sugar

For the crumble

150gr rice flour

90gr cane sugar

140gr butter

60gr desiccated coconut

A pinch fine salt

Mango and blood orange juice

Begin by preparing the mango – combine the slices with the juice, rum, sugar and water in a pot and gently simmer over a lowish heat for about 45 minutes leaving the mango soft and the liquid reduced to about 3 tablespoons of thick syrup. Allow this to cool while you get on with the rest

Mango and blood orange cooked

To make the cake crumble all the ingredients together with your fingertips as you would any other crumble. Lightly grease a cake tin then with your hand press 80% of the crumble mix to the bottom so it all sticks together.

Finely chop the mango conserving all the juice left in the pot. Spread all of this on the crumble base. sprinkle  the rest of the crumble mix on top of the fruit leaving the edges uncovered so some of the lovely deep red of the fruit can peep through.

Bake for 30 minutes are gas mark 6 til the topping is golden. Serve warm or at room temperature with a little vanilla ice-cream.

It’s now purple sprouting broccoli season and most of you have some in this week’s bag (sadly they weren’t quite able to harvest enough for us so a few of you have something else instead). For this special treat keep things simple – it’s lovely steamed then tossed with gently sautéed garlic, pasta, pine nuts and a squeeze of lemon or you can go all out try it on a bed of polenta with sundried tomato pesto and goat’s cheese (this really rocks). Whatever you do, do it asap so you get it at its best. Those of you who missed out this week can rest assured I’ll be doing my best to get more in asap.

Have a great week,


8 Responses to “What I’ve learnt about the first month of having a new baby? Always have cake in the house.”

  1. Jane Says:

    I too had a baby recently (2nd Feb) and can totally relate! Am looking fwd to checking out this cake sounds delish 🙂
    Best of luck with everything

  2. amparo Says:

    so.. the trick is the rum, for the grown up ones?

  3. homeorganics Says:

    babies love it too;)!

  4. sonia Says:



  5. Lee Lohan Says:

    Oh no! If only I’d seen this! When I got my dried Mango in the bag, I tried some, and it was just so good that I ate it all there and then! >.< haha! Oh, well! 🙂

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