Monday, March 30, 2015

Martha & Me - March



This month, with Martha's help, I baked something a little unusual: a delicious mango upside-down cake, made with bananas, rum and caramel. I chose this recipe because I love pineapple upside-down cake and often make it the lazy way, using canned pineapple rings and a box of yellow cake mix. It isn't difficult to make from scratch, though, and the mango cake recipe in the March issue of Martha Stewart Living was quite simple, even though the cake itself seems rather exotic. You can also find it here on Martha's website.


For me, mango has been an acquired taste. I personally did not taste mango until I was eighteen years old, and even then, it was dried mango that I ate. I think it was a few more years before I ate any fresh mango and it had to grow on me. I think this recipe would have seemed very extravagant when I first started cooking, but mangoes are much more widely available today and not as expensive as they once were. I bought two large mangoes, as per the recipe's suggestion, but I could have gotten away with just one of them (and should have tried to do so, since one of my mangoes was much riper than the other, even though I'd bought them together and both had been sitting on the counter for nearly a week by the time I baked this cake!).


Mangoes can be a little difficult to work with. I peeled the skin off with a veggie peeler, working downward from the stem end of the fruit. Then I stuck a corn-on-the-cob holder into that same end to give myself a little handle for slicing the fruit off the pit. That's the hardest part of working with mangoes, I think. The corn-holder works pretty well, though. I picked up that trick from some cooking show of yore; I'm thinking maybe it was Rachael Ray? I don't remember. But it works, if you want to give it a try sometime.


Two mangoes was too much. No matter, the small Bears loved having mango slices with their breakfasts and lunches for a few days afterward. The small bowl in the above photo contains mashed banana; I ended up mashing two small, very ripe bananas; I'd been letting them ripen just for this recipe and one of them went a little too far, so I had to remove part of it. An extra one gave me just enough for the recipe.


Making the caramel was my favorite part. I'd only done this once or twice before and was a little fearful. It was fine, though, and once poured into the cake pan, it hardened almost immediately and looked really pretty too, glassy and dark-amber colored.


I enjoyed arranging the mango on top of the hardened caramel. I tried to make it look like Martha's, of course. Meh...this might take some practice.


The batter was simple to make, done in muffin style with the wet ingredients added to dry and lightly stirred to combine. The wet ingredients included eggs, oil (I used canola oil instead of the recommended safflower), the mashed banana, buttermilk (I use the reconstituted powdered type), vanilla and a little rum. Martha suggests golden rum, such as Bacardi Gold. Not being big rum drinkers, we tend to keep a less luxurious version on hand. Ours is light rum in a big plastic jug labeled PRESTIGE RUM (ooh-la-la, fancy), but I don't think it matters much when you're baking with it. The batter was sort of thin and I wondered if I'd done it right, but I poured it over the layered mango and caramel and popped the pan in the oven. The baking time was perfect for my oven, for a change.


Once cooled, the cake is inverted onto a platter. This was sort of problematic for me. First, I don't own a totally flat platter, only the kind with slightly raised sides, good for serving meats with their juices. This, combined with the fact that I used a baking pan with side handles, made it difficult to turn the cake out of the pan neatly. One section of the edge broke as it descended, as you can see above. But it came out okay otherwise, and it looked really pretty with the caramel and cooked mango on top. The caramel hardened a little as the cake cooled, becoming thicker and slightly chewy, a nice contrast to the mango which was very soft.


I really liked it. The cake itself was like very moist banana bread. You could taste the rum a little, but I thought the vanilla came through more. The mango was delicious. I think the caramel complimented the mango really well; it was sweet but there was still that sharpness, almost astringency, of mango. I could definitely taste the difference between the riper mango and the less-ripe one, so I'd recommend using the ripest mango possible in this recipe to maximize the flavors. I'll remember to use a different cake pan next time for a nicer presentation, but given that the cake was gone in a couple of days, I don't think anyone around here was inspecting it closely! We all liked this cake very much and I enjoyed baking it too.

36 comments:

  1. Yum! I love mango and definitely want to give this recipe a go. I've made it with pineapple and plums in the past but not, as yet, mango. I'm really enjoying your 'Martha and Me' posts. Have a great week. x

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  2. Interesting because here we cook that pie with apples only.... thanks for sharing it ! Have a lovely day !

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  3. It looks delicious, I have made a pineapple upside down cake with caramel before so I would imagine it is in the same vain. So nice to have something special now and again.

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  4. I was thinking that yours looked exactly the same as the one in the picture, so I suspect that you are, as well all do, being too critical of your work! I wondered what the taste of the cooked mango would be like so that is good to find out and I am also surprised that the different mangoes of different ripeness tasted differently. Funny how these things work out isn't it! Good to read your post, I had been thinking about your Martha cooking as I was sorting through some old Martha recipe cards last week! xx

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  5. I love mango! Your cake looks decadent and pretty too. I bet that caramel taste good with it.

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  6. Sounds delicious. Thank you for that method of peeling and slicing mangoes, I also find that so difficult on the rare occasions that I buy them :)

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  7. It looks and sounds lovely.
    Rosezeeta

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  8. I think I have been drooling from beginning to end, reading this blogpost... Jennifer, lucky you - if we would live on the same continent, your doorbell would be ringing at this same moment ;-) !!! That looks sooo incredibly good !!!

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  9. My stomach is growling :-) really. I think it wants lunch, and since this luscious looking cake can't be sampled through my computer screen, I guess I will have to go foraging else where. Before I do though, Jennifer, thanks for making the time to share your latest Martha & Me project. I appreciate your gift in sharing through photos and narrative. [your rum comment made me chuckle] xx

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  10. It looks delicious and a great tip about using a corn holder as a handle.

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  11. mmm mangoes.. we live for mangoes..
    I have never baked with mangoes before but that looks and sounds interesting and yummy.. i can almost taste the mango.

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  12. A delicious idea. My eldest is a huge fan of mango, I know he'd love this. CJ xx

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  13. If it tasted as good as it looks, then you've definitely got a winner there, Jennifer! :o)

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  14. It lasted a couple of days? We would have scoffed it in one sitting! The cake looks delicious. I didn't know it was possible to get powdered buttermilk, I must look out for it here. x

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  15. My oldest son loves mango, I will make a note of this recipe for him! Thank you, yours turned out beautifully X

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  16. Can you believe I've never tried mango? (And I'm 54!) It's not real common here, and is therefore expensive. I hate to pay a lot for something I might not like, but I really should expand my horiszons, right? Your cake looks so pretty, and yummy too.

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  17. It looks and sounds so amazing friend! I love how pretty it looks as well!!! A job well done!!! Wishing you a great week Jennifer!!! Nicole xo

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  18. It sounds scrummy. But then anything with caramel is great in my eyes (or mouth)!!

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  19. I adore mango, and they grow well in our climate. But I have never seen a mango cake before! It looks truly delicious Jennifer, and very tempting indeed. Well done!

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  20. I always find it amazing to think that someone doesn't like mango. I grew up in a part of the world where mangoes are grown and even lived on a mango farm for a while. As a kid I learnt how to peel a mango with my teeth and just eat the flesh like any other soft fruit, letting the juices run down my arms up to the elbows :) For me, that is still the best way to eat these gorgeous fruits! However, your cake does look scrumptious and if it made you like mangoes even more, it was a success all round xx

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  21. Looks delicious. I love mango so much. I have a nifty little tool for splitting a mango in half and removing the stone. It's very handy.

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  22. Oh my...that looks amazing, Jennifer! Thanks for the tip for using a corn cob holder when cutting the mango. I love eating them, but they can be a pain to prepare. I'm really enjoying your Martha posts!

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  23. That sounds delicious (except for rum), it looks really good too xx

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  24. I am *VERY* impressed with your cake baking skills! That looks delicious and fancy! I could almost taste it from your excellent description. My DIL is making 2 birthday cakes this week as the boys' birthdays are 5 days apart.. so.. I get cake! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  25. Oh yum, that looks totally delicious! I love mango. You're right - it's hard to work with. Hard to peel and then the fruit itself is slippery, so you have to be careful when cutting it. A friend of mine gave me a mango cutter/slicer tool (I think it was made by OXO) but I never use it. One of those gadgets that I just don't bother with!

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  26. Your picture reminds me of a pineapple upside cake that I haven't made for years! Mango looks a good alternative your cake looks delicious. Sarah x

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  27. Oh goodness, that looks delicious.

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  28. What a glorious cake - the caramel is very impressive! Nice work on the mango arrangement too. It's fun to faff about (as the Brits say) with fruit and pastry and make things look as pretty as possible.

    I'm not a mango lover, but Mr. M is. I should try this for him. :)

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  29. What a pretty cake, Jennifer! Kudos to you for continuing with your Martha challenge! I don't think I've ever tasted mangoes, but I would definitely try your cake!

    Happy Wednesday,

    Poppy

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  30. My 3 love mango, so mangoes never last long here. I rather suspect they wouldn't like them cooked.
    But I think the cake looks yummy!
    Jillxo

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  31. Oh boy that sure looked Yummo xoxo

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  32. Yum! I really will have to join you in your monthly make from a magazine :)

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  33. Your Martha & Me project is fun for all of us - this recipe is so unusual, it would be special to serve to guests sometime. So I'll bookmark it. Thanks!

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