Mango Upside Down Cake with Basil Ice Cream

or those of you not familiar with South Florida restaurants, let me introduce you to Michael's GenuineIt opened in 2007 down in the old Design district in Miami, on 40th St. (A while back, I wrote a brief history of this unique area HERE. ) Michael's is a contemporary American bistro run by Michael Schwartz, a Philadelphia native who launched the pioneering South Beach restaurant Nemo in 1994 and refers to his newest restaurant as “a chef’s interpretation of a great neighborhood place.” Michael was also named as Best Chef South at the James Beard Awards in 2010. Read more about Michael HERE.

Michael's new
cookbook is hot off the presses and I was practically first in line!

The recipes are familiar if you've eaten at his restaurant and very doable for the home cook. I've made two so far and can't wait to try some of the rest.  Here's the first: a mango upside down cake that is unexpectedly light because the egg whites are beaten separately and folded into the batter.
You'll find that basil, an extremely aromatic herb with a scent of pepper, anise and mint, makes a delightful ice cream. The taste is sweet with a hint of savory  and is a marvelous accompaniment to the cake. The caramel top studded with mangoes makes a lovely presentation.  

I hope you enjoy Michael's recipe!

Mango Upside Down Cake with Basil Ice Cream

From Michael's Genuine Food by Michael Schwartz


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
Two 1 pound mangoes (most mangoes are about that weight), peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1  1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup plus1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup buttermilk
Basil Ice Cream (recipe follows)


Put a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Then add the brown sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture looks like caramel, about 5 minutes. I didn't leave the stove (and I stirred more than occasionally) as things like this tend to burn quickly. 
Swirl the pan around so the caramel covers the bottom. Remove from heat and arrange the mango slices in a neat circle, overlapping the slices, remembering this will be presented as the top of the cake. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Place the butter in an electric mixer and beat. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar and beat until light, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add one egg yolk at a time and then the vanilla.
Add half the dry ingredients. Then add the buttermilk, beat until mixed, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients. 
Beat the 4 egg whites until frothy, add 1 tablespoon sugar and beat until stiff peaks.
Add a bit of the whites to the batter to lighten it, then add the rest and fold in. It's OK if there are still some white streaks. 
Pour batter over the caramel and mangoes and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Then loosen the sides with a knife, place a large cake plate over the cake and flip it upside down. Cool before serving with basil ice cream.

Bench Note:
I didn't use a cast iron pan. I melted the brown sugar in a saucepan and then heated a glass pie plate in the oven and when the caramel was done, I poured it into the hot pie plate and spread it around.

Basil Ice Cream

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
8 large egg yolks
pinch of salt

In a food processor, combine basil and sugar until finely ground. It should end up looking like pesto.
Combine the cream, milk and basil sugar in a large pan. Scrape out the seeds in the vanilla bean, add them to cream and then add the vanilla bean pod. Simmer gently  until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Do not allow to boil.
In a bowl, whisk the yolks until light and thick. Temper the yolks with a little of the hot cream, then add everything to the pan and whisk until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not allow to boil.

Pour custard through a fine seive and then cool over ice cubes. (I just let it cool in the pan, then poured it into a bowl and placed in the fridge overnight.)
Churn in your ice cream maker according to directions.

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