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Congratulations Lindsay Smith for Winning the '1st'  Valentine's Bake-Off!

Exotic Dessert Quartet

Mango Saffron Italian Sponge Cake with Hibiscus Meyer Lemon Gelato, Rose Pistachio Brittle, and Hibiscus Riesling Reduction

Cake –

Mango top-

  • 1 large mango, cut into 1 inch slivers

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ stick butter

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Sponge cake –

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • 4 extra large eggs 

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 1 1/3 cup cake flour, sifted

  • 1 tsp saffron

  • 2 tbsp hot milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Steep the saffron and milk for the cake, set aside. Melt the butter and sugar in a sauce pan until bubbling and slightly golden. Add the mangoes and lemon juice and stir until coated. Pour into the bottom of the pan. To make the cake: beat the eggs, sugar until golden and thickened slightly. Sift in the cake flour and salt, alternating with the milk and gently folding into the batter with a spatula. Bake for 40 min or until toothpick comes out clean. Then turn off oven and let sit for another 10 min. Remove and let cool for 10 min before serving.


  • ¼ cup dried hibiscus flowers

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 2 cups half & half

  • 6 egg yolks

  • ¼ cup Meyer lemon juice plus the zest of 2 Meyer lemons

  • 1 ½ cups sugar

Place half & half, cream, hibiscus and half of the sugar over medium heat until almost boiling. Set aside for at least 15 min to steep. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow and thick. Combine the yolks and the steeped mixture. Heat until it thickens but not over 180 degrees or it will curdle. Let it cool at least ½ hr and strain out the hibiscus flowers and add the zest and juice. Refrigerate overnight or at least until cool. Churn according to ice cream maker’s instructions.


  • 1 cup sugar

  • ½ cup light corn syrup

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios

  • ¼ cup dried rose buds, chopped thin

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • ¾ tsp baking soda

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and nonstick cooking spray. Wisk sugar, corn syrup and 2 tbsp of water over medium heat until the mixture dissolves. Use a candy thermometer to cook mixture until it reaches 290F. Stir in pistachios, butter, and roses until it reaches 300F. Should be a light brown color. Sprinkle in baking soda. Pour onto parchment paper and spread out. Break into pieces once cooled.


  • 2 cups sweet Riesling

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ¼ cup hibiscus flowers

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat. Once brought to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low. Let it reduce down to half until almost a syrup consistency and the color is deep red. Let cool before using.


To Serve-

Place a slice of the cake with a scoop of gelato and pieces of brittle on top. Drizzle with the reduction and add a few rose petals for a romantic theme.

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