It’s mango season in all the places I usually pine for. I can’t take a tropical vacation right now, so it’s a welcome sight to see mangoes at the market. A few weeks ago we brought home a case of Ataulfo mangoes; creamy and smooth, and fragrant and so sweet and juicy we ate them standing over the kitchen sink. And when we’d had our fill, we cut some up in pieces for our salad, and then made this mango cardamom cake with the rest.
I still sometimes can’t wrap my head around the fact that I live in a place without mango trees. We had mango trees all round when I was a kid. I’ll have to check with my mom, but I’m pretty sure mango was the first fruit I ever ate.
I remember the giant mango tree in front of the house when we lived out on our farm in the middle of nowhere, fruit hung from its branches like paper lanterns. We sat under that tree for shade; it was a cool and breezy spot. My little brother when he was born spent most of the time in his little crib under that mango tree.
Until I can sit under a mango tree again and catch some breeze, I’m content with bringing mangoes home from the market. This mango cardamom cake is one of my favourite things to do when mangoes are plentiful; I’ve made it a few dozen times over the years, and it’s gone through some adaptations.
I like to use very ripe mangoes, and usually Ataulfo mango (or Alphonso, if you can get it in your area) because it has buttery sweeter flesh. Sweet and spicy cardamom adds a lush layer to the mango, heightening the flavour of the cake. It has a lovely floral aroma and smells heavenly when baking. I add pieces of mango to the batter before baking to make the cake richer and fruitier.
This is a slightly dense cake, a simple snack cake, if you will. It’s moist, rich textured and luscious.
I like to make this type of cake for when we have company, or have a few other people to share it with, it unfortunately does not keep well because of the fresh fruit in it – I try not to hang on to it for more than a day. Although, I once sliced leftovers into thin pieces and slow roasted them to make crackers akin to Raincoast crisps.
- 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup or 4 oz. butter, softened
- 3/4 cup turbinado or regular sugar
- 1/2 cup mango puree (1 ripe medium-sized mango)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar + almond milk to fill up to 3/4 of a cup, left to sit for about 3 minutes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups white whole-wheat flour (regular whole-wheat or all-purpose flour works too)
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 cup chopped mango pieces (1 ripe medium-sized mango)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees f., and butter a square cake pan or your preferred baking pan
- Mix ground flax seed and water in a small cup or bowl, set aside and let mixture thicken for at least 5 minutes
- Cream butter in a mixing bowl until pale, add sugar and cream again until mixture is light and fluffy
- Add flax mixture and mango puree, beat to combine then mix in almond milk mixture, lemon juice and vanilla extract
- In another bowl, combine flour, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda and salt
- Combine the wet ingredients (mango and almond milk mixture) with the flour mixture, and mix to combine (do not overmix!)
- Add lemon zest and gently fold mango pieces in to the batter
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake until top is brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.
- Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 5 - 10 minutes, remove from pan and allow cake to cool completely before serving