Mango Skillet Upside-Down Cake

Volteado de Mango
In my lifetime, we have gone from a complete dearth of mangos to a remarkable profusion of these luscious fruits. The mango infiltration started with a fairly short season, which has now morphed into a luxurious five months or more. May is when we more-or-less hit the peak for this tropical harvest, which is beautiful timing, since the greatest abundance of our nation’s summer fruits haven’t started filling the markets and grocery stores. There are dozens of mango varieties, but the most common kind I see in the market are the round ones with a red blush (many grown in the US, most of them descendants of the Haden variety; called petacón in Mexico) and the Mexican-grown flatter ones that are yellow (often labeled Champagne or Honey Manila; called ataúlfo in Mexico). Either will work in this recipe, but the yellow mangos, when ripe, tend to have a silkier texture and more complex, perfumier taste. This is a cake I make when my kitchen time is limited. I’ve made it even easier than most versions of upside-down cake by cooking it in an ovenproof nonstick skillet. (if you don’t have the skillet, line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment, prepare the butter-sugar-fruit mixture in a skillet, scrape it into the pan, top with the batter and bake as directed.) I suggest you bake the cake while you’re enjoying your main dish, then offer it warm from the oven for dessert.
Servings: 8


  • For the Fruit
  • 3tablespoons (42 grams) butter
  • 1/2cup (100 grams) granulated sugar or light brown sugar
  • 3cups (about 18 ounces) peeled, pitted and cubed mango (1/2-inch cubes; you’ll need about 2 ¼ pounds of mangos)
  • Thefinely grated zest of one lime
  • For the Cake
  • 1 1/2cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2/3cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2large eggs
  • 2/3cup full-fat sour cream or full-fat Greek-style yogurt
  • For serving
  • About 2 tablespoons añejo tequila or rum (optional)


Prepare the pan with the fruit. Turn on the oven to 375 degrees and position the rack in the lower third.   In a large (10-inch) nonstick skillet (it needs to have an ovenproof handle), melt the butter over medium heat.  When it has turned brown (but not too dark), sprinkle on the ½ cup sugar, then the fruit and the lime zest.  Cook for a few minutes, until the fruit released its juice, then remove from the heat.  

Make the batter.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and the ¾ cup sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, eggs and sour cream or yogurt.  Whisk the wet mixture thoroughly into the dry mixture (the mixture is thick), then dollop it over the fruit in the skillet (a bunch of small dollops is easiest to work with) and smooth flat with a spatula, making sure it extends all the way to the edges.  

Bake and serve.  Slide the skillet into the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake is golden and lightly springy in the center.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then upend a plate over the skillet and, holding the two securely with pot holders or oven mitts, reverse the two.  Wait for a minute for all the mango goodness to drip onto the now-top of the cake, then remove the skillet.  Sprinkle evenly with the tequila or rum, if you’re using it, and you’re ready to serve. 

Other fruits you can use for this cake: 3 cups of most fruit will work here, though each will give a different flavor, texture and juiciness.  Pineapple is a no-brainer, but I’d cook it in the butter for a few minutes to give a head start on softening.  Same goes for apple and pear.  Berries (even IQF—individually quick frozen—berries) work well here, though the end result is a bit juicier. It will come as no surprise that I am partial to pitted cherries (sweet or sour), since I live in a big cherry producing region. And any of the stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, apricots) show beautifully in this cake. 

For the professional:  This recipe can be easily scaled. When making large batches in a mixer, don’t overmix.  For individual upside down cakes, we have had great success mixing the butter-sugar mixture with the fruit, dividing it among 3 ½- to 4-inch cake rings set on a parchment-lined sheet pan, and topping with batter and baking.  

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