I’m down to my last few mangos of the season, which usually lasts about a month — at least for the tree in my grandparents back yard. It’s a Julie mango and the fruit is heavy with a tangy, honey-sweet perfume. For eleven months of the year, this tree provides shade and beautiful foliage. But for one month, it bestows an abundant crop of beautiful yellow and pinkish fruit. It’s heaven.
My grandfather picks them slightly green and lets them ripen on the back porch. He enjoys slicing off a disc from one side of the mango and scooping the flesh with a spoon for an afternoon snack. Since my grandparents grew up in Martinique, where mangos are a staple, eating this fruit is reminiscent of their youth.
It also reminds me of my childhood in Virginia. Each June a box would arrive from my grandparents in Ft. Lauderdale. It was loaded with ripe mangos. I remember the anticipation as my Mom and I opened the package. The smell of the fragrant produce enveloped us and it was only a matter of minutes before we were cutting into the flesh and greedily slurping it while standing over the sink. Good times.
Since I live in the tropics now, I don’t have to wait for that box to arrive and I’ve always got more than I know what to do with. This mango-lime cake makes good use of the bounty. When I served it to my grandfather, he nodded and said in his French accent, “You can really taste the mango! Very good, Leesaa.”
This is essentially an upside down cake, but I use a bit of cornmeal in this recipe to give the cake a heartier crumb.
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, divided
- 3 cups peeled, sliced ripe mangoes from 3-4 mangoes
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 lime (you'll need the zest from the whole lime and juice from half the lime)
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar, if desired
- *special equipment - 9-inch springform pan
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Zest lime and transfer to a small bowl. Set aside. Slice the lime in half, reserving half for another use.
- Slice the mangos and toss with lime juice in a medium bowl.
- Melt 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter. Pour the butter into the bottom of the springform pan. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Arrange the mango slices in a sunshine pattern along the bottom of the springform pan, overlapping as you go.
- In a food processor, add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse to combine. Cut the remaining butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Whisk together egg and milk in a large bowl. Add flour mixture and lime zest, whisk until just combined.
- Pour batter evenly over mangoes and bake until golden brown and a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake, comes out clean. About 45-50 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Run a sharp paring knife around the edges to loosen the cake. Remove the collar from the cake pan. Set a cake plate on top of the cake, and quickly invert the cake onto the plate. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan from the top of the cake.
- Can be served warm or chilled.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired - pour sugar into a fine sieve and tap the side of the sieve with your hand over the cake.