Mango Upside-Down Cake

 I know I just posted a mango recipe yesterday, but the universe seriously wants me to eat all the mangoes right now. Trader Joe’s has mango everything (even Joe-Joe’s!) and my beloved green market is positively bursting at the seams with them! And when they’re two for $3, how can I resist?!

I’ve been eating them with strawberries and lime, blitzing them into smoothies, making salsa, throwing dried mango into my granola and eating it with the fresh stuff. If there’s a way to eat a mango, I am doing it. I’m like Bubba in Forrest Gump…but with mango. 

I usually enjoy my mangoes raw, but today I’m switching it up a little bit with this Mango Upside-Down Cake! It’s a soft brown sugar cake topped with thinly sliced mango and a simple brown sugar caramel. It’s super easy and perfect for entertaining this summer. 

Since this cake is served upside-down, the mangoes are baked underneath the cake batter. This recipe starts with melting butter and dark brown sugar together until the sugar is no longer grainy. Once this happens, take the mixture off the heat, stir in some salt, and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Top the mixture with an even layer of thinly-sliced mango, cutting small pieces to fill in any large gaps. 

Next comes the cake batter, which is basically my Vanilla Layer Cake batter with more brown sugar and the tiniest bit less vanilla extract. It’s a moist, soft, slightly dense cake that pairs perfectly with the juicy mango and caramel. Bake it all together for about 35 minutes, or until the smell of brown butter and caramelized mango makes you totally insane!
Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting it onto a cake stand or large serving plate. Don’t worry if a few pieces of mango stick to the pan–just use your fingers to nudge them back into place. Nobody will ever know it didn’t come out in one fell swoop. 

 My favorite thing about this cake is that you don’t need to wait forever to serve it. There’s no worrying about melting buttercream or fretting over your piping skills. Nope. Mango Upside-Down Cake doesn’t require any decorating and can be served warm, room temperature, or cold! The cake pictured here was still slightly warm from the oven, and was amazing with a little scoop of coconut gelato.

Mango Upside-Down Cake is perfect for any occasion this summer, whether it’s Fourth of July, or that you came home from Trader Joe’s with eleven mangoes 😊

 Mango Upside-Down Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Mango Layer:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 small (or 1 1/2 large) mangoes, thinly sliced

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk,* room temperature

For Serving:
Vanilla or Coconut Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightlu grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter.

Make the mango layer. In a small saucepan, combine butter and dark brown sugar. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly until butter and sugar are melted and no longer grainy, 3-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in salt. Pour mixture into prepared pan, using a silicone spatula to spread it over the entire bottom of the pan. Top the brown sugar mixture with one even layer of mango slices. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in dark brown and granulated sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. With the mixer on low, mix in vanilla and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter over mango layer, and spread with a silicone spatula to even out to top. Tap pan on the counter two or three times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan a couple of times before inverting onto a cake stand or large serving plate mango layer-up.

Serve cake warm, room temperature, or cold.

Cake is best the day it’s baked, but will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Note:

If you do not have buttermilk on hand, make your own! Pour one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk up to the 1 cup mark. Let sit five minutes before using as instructed in the recipe. I do not recommend using skim or fat free milk.

Tropical Cashew Granola

 It’s officially summer, and I can’t wait to get to the beach. I’m only four weeks away from a trip to Maine with a bunch of friends–it can’t get here soon enough! It’s super woodsy and we definitely won’t see any palm trees, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be eating tons of tropical fruit while we’re up there.

How, you may ask, will we have tropical fruit in the wilds of Maine? In the form of my new favorite granola! 
Yes, I am that person who packs homemade granola into her luggage. And why wouldn’t I? It’s full of whole grains, nuts, and fruit, so it’s super satisfying. It’s also refined sugar-free, gluten free, and vegan, so this is one recipe that will fit all my friends’ various dietary needs.

Between easy breakfasts and snacks, I know we will go through the full two-quart batch in no time. I mean, who can resist this Tropical Cashew Granola?! It’s loaded with dried mango and pineapple, toasted coconut, and cashews–perfect for any day at the beach. 
Normally, I am not a huge fan of dried fruit (especially in granola), but I make exceptions for dried mango and pineapple. I’ll eat a whole six-ounce bag in a day! The sweet mango, tangy pineapple, and toasted coconut work incredibly well with the crunchy oats and cashews. A moderate amount of sweetener and a full teaspoon of salt keep it all just sweet enough to enjoy with your favorite yogurt and fresh fruit. I can’t get enough. 

Having made a lot of granola in the last few years, I can tell you that the homemade stuff is a snap to put together and infinitely better than any boxed variety. When you make something from scratch, you can control the ingredients and customize it to your taste.

For instance, I love my Maple Pecan Granola (which I used as the base for this recipe), but sometimes I want my granola to have more clusters than that recipe allows. So, I took the basic formula and swapped half the maple syrup for brown rice syrup. It’s super thick and allows the oats and cashews to cluster a bit without adding excessive amounts sweetener. And since brown rice syrup has a mild flavor, the maple is still front and center!

Tropical Cashew Granola is like summer in a bowl! Don’t be surprised if the combination of mango, pineapple, coconut, and buttery cashews has you packing a jar for your vacation, too! 

  Looking for more granola? Check out my Peanut Butter Granola!

Tropical Cashew Granola
makes about two quarts

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup*
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups raw unsalted cashews, chopped
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
6 ounces unsweetened dried mango, chopped into bite-size pieces
6 ounces unsweetened dried pineapple, chopped into bite-size pieces

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in oats, cashews, and coconut. Spread mixture on prepared pan. Bake 40 minutes, stirring at the 15 and 30 minute marks to prevent burning.

When granola is done baking, let cool five minutes before stirring in dried mango and pineapple pieces. Let granola cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

Note:

Brown rice syrup can be found near the honey and syrups at most well-stocked grocery stores, or on Amazon. If you cannot find it or do not wish to use it, you may use an equal volume of mild honey or maple syrup. Your granola will not have many clusters, but it will still be delicious.