Mango cake combines the moist, tropical flavor of mango with the light texture of a flour-based cake batter. Most recipes call for the mango to be integrated into the batter and then baked, but there are recipes that incorporate the mango into the cake differently. Frostings, fillings or even large mango chunks can all be used to make a mango cake. Some ingredients have become common in many mango cakes, including buttermilk in the batter and cream cheese frosting on top. The actual type of mango called for varies from recipe to recipe but includes fresh diced mango, canned mango puree or even a gently cooked and sweetened mango pulp.
As the key ingredient in a mango cake, it is important that the mangos used are fully ripe. A ripe mango will have a sweet odor. When squeezed, a ripe mango also will have some give, making it possible to push a finger into the fruit with minimal resistance. The skin of the mango should look clean and not have any large black areas or other irregularities that could indicate it is rotting.
The most basic recipe for a mango cake involves mango puree, flour, sugar, baking soda, eggs and buttermilk. All of the ingredients are mixed together and baked in a greased pan until it has cooked through. This creates a cake that has a resilient texture but is still moist and a little thick from the addition of the mango. The tart buttermilk helps to create a subtle contrast with the tropical fruit. Other ingredients, such as vanilla and walnuts, can be added to provide texture or a different flavor.
An example of a mango cake that uses large chunks of the fruit is an upside down cake. This is similar to the basic cake recipe except that the bottom of the baking pan is coated in brown sugar syrup and layered with cubes of mango before the batter is poured over top. The cake is baked and then unmolded from the pan so the bottom becomes the top. This cake accents the sweetness of the mango.
Other methods used to create a mango cake include using mango only in the frosting or filling for the cake. A mango frosting can involve simply adding mango puree to a standard frosting mixture. A filling can be made from a mango curd with puree, sugar, limes and egg yolks. Some recipes also involve layering whole slices of mango on top of the finished cake or layering them in the center.