There’s no way you can escape Kama’s (the Hindu God of love) arrows wreathed in mango-blossoms. Stories of his hapless, lovestruck victims, which include gods, goddesses, emperors and subjects alike litter the pages of Hindu mythology and literature. He chose his weapon wisely. The mango’s power of seduction is legendary. To us Hindus, it is a deliciously apt metaphor for knowledge, beauty, bountiful blessings, sexuality and fertility. We festoon our doorways with fragrant mango leaves as symbols of auspicious welcome on festival days and to welcome new brides. The smell of mango flowers announces spring and the luscious fruit makes hot and dusty Indian summers bearable, even welcome.
Living abroad, I miss the wildly perfumed Indian mangoes. South African mangoes aren’t nearly as fragrant but are delicious enough to satisfy my craving; and I shamelessly indulged all summer long. This upside cake is based on an old recipe on www.epicurious.com. But I tweaked it to my taste. I was quite nervous of it turning into sweet, soggy mush, because mangoes are pulpier than pineapples. So I was careful to use ripe but firm fruit and added lime zest and juice to the topping to round off the sweetness of the mangoes with a gentle tang.
Check out also this amazing recipe on Pineapple Upside-Down Cake by Amie Watson
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, with 2 separated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup mango pulp
- 2 - 2 1/2 ripe but firm mangoes peeled and cut into 3/8 inch slices
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- Juice and zest of 2 limes
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan over moderate heat and mix in the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is gently bubbling, add the lime zest and juice and simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes till very lightly thickened. Set aside to cool.
- In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In another, larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar on high speed till light and fluffy. One by one, add the whole egg and separated yolks.
- Mix in the vanilla and half the flour followed by the mango pulp and finally the rest of the flour.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the cake batter.
- Arrange the mango slices in a circle over the syrup so that the slices overlap each other.
- Pour the batter gently to evenly cover them and bake for 40-50 minutes till you get a clean toothpick.
- Rest the pan for 10 minutes outside the oven and lightly run a knife (if needed) to loosen the edges of the cake before unmolding on a plate.