The taste of a cake

>> Thursday, 1 July 2010

Juicy, soft flesh, melt in the mouth texture and the scent of exoticism. Mangoes are a truly gorgeous fruit! and a proven happy food...

The vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants contained within are just part of the story. Mangoes also contain an enzyme which acts as a digestive aid, making your tummy happier and more content. Fact!
My first memories of mangoes are from childhood holidays. Lucky enough to experience far-flung destinations, I recall being mesmerised by platters of fruits I had never seen before. Slices of ice-pink watermelon speckled with black-as-black seeds. Vibrant papaya, in firm, fleshy stacks. Sticky pineapple worlds away from the Del Monte cans and slices of golden, glistening mangoes fanned-out and teasing you to taste. Every morning I greedily devoured platefuls, as if I would never see these precious fruits again. For a child, it was the taste of Um Bongo but warmer, sweeter and more intense.

Thankfully, mangoes now are easy to come by (distribution in Lincolnshire in the early 1990s was somewhat limited!), thus making cooking with them less of a luxury. The problem though, is what to do with them?! Flesh scoped out and eaten fresh is decadent treat, but it’s not really going to impress at the dinner table……Fruit salads and salsas all seem pretty standard fare…I want something more exciting and happiness-inducing on my table!

Armed with some perfectly ripe mangoes and a kitchen full of pots, pans and productive intent, I set about finding something special to create. Settling happily on a twist to the classic upside-down cake, with the addition of cardamom to add fragrant intrigue……. It's sticky, soft and full of juicy mangoes...perfect!

Mango & Cardamon Upside-down Cake (inspired by Paul Rankin)

• 110g caster sugar
• 250g self raising flour
• 175g butter (separate into 100g & 75g)
• 2 large egg
• Milk (small amount required)
• ½ lime (zest and juice)
• 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
• 2 cardamon pods, seeds crushed
• 1 mango (peeled and sliced

Step 1: Preheat oven to 200c

Step 2: Mix the flour, sugar and 100g of butter in food processor/by hand to create a breadcrumb-like texture

Step 3: Beat eggs and mix into flour mixture. You need a thick-ish cake batter, so add milk as required to develop the right consistency

Step 4: Crush cardamom pods (use a pestle mortar/flavour shaker/rolling pin), remove husks and gather seeds.
Step 5: Melt remaining butter in a saucepan, add sugar, cardamom seeds, lime juice and zest. Allow to bubble gently and add mango slices. Cook for 2-3 minutes (don't stir too much or the mangoes will break-up)

Step 6: Pour mangoes and cardamom sauce in a cake tin (I used a deep sandwich tin, but use whatever you have – it needs to be about 5 cm deep minimum). Next, pour over your batter mix (you may need to spread this to cover the mangoes)

Step 7: Place in the oven, after 10 minutes turn the temperature down to 180c and cook for a further 10 minutes until the sponge is golden and springy to the touch

Step 8: Remove the cake from the oven. Using a plate large enough to cover the tin, place it, wrong-side up, on top of the cake and flip the dish over. Wiggle the tin around and the cake should drop out in the centre of your plate

Step 9: Serve warm or cold with crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt

As an aside, I did a little bit of googling into what became of Um Bongo....(You Tube video of the original advert is a fun flashback) and found out that EU legislation means only 3 fruits can now be included in Um Bongo (bananas, apples & pineapples). So, no mango! Apparently, the taste is completely different and there is a campaign to bring back the original which you can sign-up to....Add your support, if the passion runs deep, at

Hope you enjoy!

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