Mango Upside Down Cake

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Makes 1 9-inch round cake
Adapted from: Martha Stewart
Originally from June 2015 on my old blog

With summer just coming around the corner, I was looking for something tropical, and this was a perfect fit. With the flavors of mango and banana and some coconut extract that I added, taking a bite out of this felt like swinging in a hammock in the Hawaiian breeze.

This cake is dense, almost like the texture of banana bread. I love that it’s not nearly as sweet as most cakes; there is a good balance between sweet and bitter and fruity. Also, I love how pretty it is! Most of the time, when you see the picture of a recipe, you can pretty much assume yours isn’t going to look like that, but every once in a while, there’s a recipe that actually turns out looking just like the picture, and this is one of them!

I made this for my boyfriend and I’s one year anniversary because he loves mango! I made a cute little scavenger hunt in Mercer County Park and the final clue led him to find me on a picnic blanket by the lake with this cake, some watermelon, and a couple cans of soda. I can be a decent girlfriend sometimes.


  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup safflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons golden rum, such as Bacardi Gold (optional; I didn’t use it– I replaced it with ¾ a teaspoon of coconut extract)
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed until smooth (1/3 cup)
  • 2 large or 3 small ripe mangoes (2 pounds, 6 ounces total), peeled, 2 sides cut off each, and each side sliced into 5 pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over high, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let boil, without stirring, until dark amber, swirling pan to color evenly and washing down sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Be careful here!! I accidentally left the sugar cooking just a little too long and it ended up becoming a little burnt, making it a bit too bitter. I suggest cooking until the mixture becomes a light to medium, not dark, amber. Immediately pour into a 9-inch round cake pan; swirl to evenly coat bottom of pan.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and remaining 1 cup sugar in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, rum, egg and yolk, vanilla, and banana. Whisk buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until smooth and combined.

Arrange mangoes in pan on top of caramel, in a tightly packed single layer. Pour batter into pan.

Bake until a tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan, invert cake onto a plate, and let cool completely before serving.

Happy dining!!


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