the gift of gold – mango cupcakes

by hungryrabbit on February 15, 2013

Individual Mango Cakes

I recently read in University of California study that Asian Americans consume much more fruit than other groups. This reminded me that after Chinese meals, we often enjoy seasonal fruits as the finish in lieu of desserts. Most of the fruits in the local Hong Kong markets are imported from China, with others coming from other Asian countries, and even as far as Australia and America, so the varieties are endless.

During Chinese New Year and other festive occasions, the custom is to send baskets of oranges, clementines, tangerines and even mangos as gifts. This bounty resembles offerings of gold and thus carries auspicious intent and wishes of prosperity. In return, the recipient will send back one or two pieces of fruit along with a red envelope (with money inside) as a sign of gratitude.

These Mango Cupcakes are my offering to you during the celebration for the Year of the Snake. Each one brims with the golden fruit from the cake to the creamy buttercream. The center of tangy mango curd wakes up your senses and lets you appreciate the simplicity of a bake good that uses a single ingredient for it’s flavor profile.


Mango Cupcakes

yield: 12-14 cakes

Mango Pureé

Note: you will use portion of this recipe for the cupcakes


24 ounces frozen mango
1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar


1. Place mango and sugar in a blender, pureed on high until smooth and fully combined. Strain mixture through a sieve into a large bowl. Set aside.

Mango Curd

makes 1 to 1.5 cups


3/4 cup (12 ounces) mango pureé, from recipe above
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice. freshly squeezed
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


1. Place mango puree, sugar, lime juice, salt and yolks in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat,  whisk constantly, until thickened and thermometer registers 170°F., about 8-10 minutes.

2. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through a sieve into a container; place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of mango curd. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.



1/4 cup mango pureé, from recipe above
2 large egg white, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened


1. In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together mango puree, egg whites, egg, coconut milk, coconut oil and extracts. Set aside.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350℉. Grease and flour two silicon muffin pans or regular muffin pans, set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add both flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and mix until only pea-size pieces remain, about 2 minutes. Add half of mango mixture, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Give batter final stir by hand.

4. Place about 1/4 cup of batter into each cup of prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire rack completely, about 30 minutes. (Cooled cakes can be stored in air tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

Mango Buttercream


1-1/4 cups (8-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
5 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoons fine sea salt
28 tablespoons (3-1/2 sticks or 14 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mango curd, from recipe


1. Place sugar, egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until sugar has completely dissolved and mixture registered around 160℉, about 3 minutes.

2. Transfer bowl to the mixer. with a whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Reduce speed to medium and add butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. (don’t worry if buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added)

4. Switch to the paddle attachment, add vanilla, and beat on medium speed just until combined. Add mango curd in 1/4 cup increments, beat until fully incorporated. Place buttercream in a piping bag fitted with your choice of decorative tip. Set aside.

Recipe Notes

Buttercream can be stored in airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.


1. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter or a small paring knife, Cut or carve a cavity from the top, going 3/4 way down. Trim the removed portion of the cake to about 3/4-inch thick.  scoop out additional cake; take care not to puncture the sides. Repeat with the rest of the cakes.

2. Using a spoon, fill the cavity of cake with mango curd and cover with the reserved corresponding cake tops. Pipe buttercream on top of each cake. Serve.



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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian @ A Thought For Food February 15, 2013 at 8:14 am

I’m pretty sure the only reason Eric and I eat fruit is because of our CSA. We don’t usually purchase it from the store (except lemons and limes to make cocktails, of course).

These mango cupcakes look magnificent Ken!

Jessica @ Burlap and Butter Knives February 15, 2013 at 8:15 am

With piping skills like THAT I am wondering why you aren’t at the CIA my dear!!?!?! You really do have extraordinary piping technique. Trust me, I know 😉

This looks DELICIOUS, and I LOVE mango; and Caps and !, which you know. :-)

I need these in my life. xoxoxo

jenjenk February 15, 2013 at 10:55 am

oh, darn you!!! i love mango in all forms. now i’ve got to try this!!!!!

what a brilliant idea…

incidentally, some days when i’m really lazy, fruit is Breakfast, lunch or dinner!!! :)

Betty Ann @Mango_Queen February 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm

My knees just weakened after reading this post and drooling at the photos. Oh I must make these Mango cupcakes! The best thing is that I can make them with mango puree and don’t have to wait for spring when mango season comes around. Thanks for sharing! Missed seeing you at the cookbook conf.,Ken! All the best for the Lunar New Year :-)

leaf (the indolent cook) February 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Well, these fabulous cupcakes just gave us all another reason to eat more fruit! Looks so beautiful, so golden, so delicious.

Loretta February 17, 2013 at 12:24 am

This seriously looks decadent and your piping is dreamy! Pinning…

Laura Dembowski February 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm

These cupcakes look and sound positively amazing! I love mangos. Thinking of the amazing flavor that must be in the cake, frosting, and curd has my stomach growling. I made gingerbread cupcakes with mango frosting once and loved them, so I know these would be a huge hit.

Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen February 18, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Oh my gosh, these look and sound absolutely gorgeous! I love mango and I can’t wait to try making these!

Faye February 20, 2013 at 5:12 am

I love mango and the sweet flavor is a wonderful taste for cupcake surprises.

sweetsugarbelle February 21, 2013 at 11:51 am

I am going to have to conquer my fear of cake and try these! I LOVE mango, and your flavors and textures are so appealing. I love the symbolism behind these. WONDERFUL as always, Ken!

Lokness @ The Missing Lokness February 22, 2013 at 6:19 pm

It is funny that you brought up the story about Asian eating more fruits. That is so true! My dad is the typical Chinese man. Whenever he goes traveling around the world, the first thing that he wants to buy and try is the local fruits. I think it is a good habit. I really should learn to do that myself.

By the way, your mango cupcakes are fantastic. This reminds me of how much I love mango. Once I got my hand on some good mangoes, I am definitely making these. Thanks for sharing.

Li February 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm

My Asian parents nag me to eat fruit ALL THE TIME. I wish they nag me to eat your mango cupcake 😀 looks so good!!!

Sam February 26, 2013 at 1:32 am

I really just wanted to say these look delicious! I asked my bf what flavor cupcake he’d want this coming weekend, he said mango and this popped up!

Definitely excited to try making these, even if it’s not this coming weekend!

I also wanted to ask: since I don’t use a conventional oven for cupcakes (I received a small cupcake maker for Christmas), do you know how much self-rising flour I’d need instead of the cake/all purpose flour and baking powder?

hungryrabbit February 27, 2013 at 8:09 am

Hi Sam, I personally have no experience with cupcake makers. However, you might be able to find your answer on Apologies for not being too helpful. Happy Baking -Ken

Emma March 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I adore mango and I adore cake and you have mixed these two things beautifully. I can’t wait to try them they look simply divine. Thank you for sharing your recipe :)

Cherie March 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I have been searching for a mango cake – I have several birthdays coming up in my family. I’m not adverse to doing cupcakes for such occasions, but do you have any advice on whether or not you think this could be translated to a cake?

hungryrabbit March 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Hi Cherie, thanks for your interest in my Mango Cupcake recipe. You can try to bake the batter in two 8-inch cake pan. As far as baking time, it should be about the same, plus or minus 5 minutes. Since you are doing it for parties, I suggest you do a test run, so you can adjust whatever is necessary. Happy Baking. – Ken

Jodi March 15, 2013 at 3:28 pm

You mention mixing the egg whites with the puree, but you don’t mention the whole egg. I imagine you mix that in too? Hopefully so, because that’s what I’m doing!

hungryrabbit March 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Hi Jodi, thanks for pointing that out and thank goodness you are perceptive. You do indeed add the egg to that mixture. Happy Baking. -Ken

Heather March 23, 2013 at 1:22 am

Hi! I’ve been searching EVERYWHERE for a mango frosting, and yours looks divine! THANKS!!! 😀 I’m making it for a party, (40 cupcakes!). Should I quadrouple the frosting recipe? Ugh :(
Can I get away with tripling it??

hungryrabbit March 23, 2013 at 6:49 am

Hi Heather, I think you’ll be fine with 3 batches. Happy Baking! -Ken

Liza March 31, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thank you for this recipe!

When I first read through it I thought some of the ingredients (coconut oil and coconut milk) were strange for a cupcake and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them with my all-time favorite fruit, the mango. But I understood after one bite – incredible flavor combination!

I used fresh Manila mangoes instead of the frozen ones and they turned out so good! My only wish is that it yielded more cupcakes for the amount of mangoes :)

Thank you again!

cupcakeLOVER April 3, 2013 at 10:20 pm

I love this cupcake! But talk about the frosting, it seems like your just making flavored whipped butter!(Don’t get me wrong I would still go to town on a cup of frosting) I just don’t think it would hold up in heat and my kitchen gets hot! So any tips on how to make the frosting stay solid in the heat?

hungryrabbit April 3, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Hi there, most frostings are buttercream or variations of it. There’s also the whipped cream type. Heat is essential the enemy of frosting, so I suggest you don’t leave it out in the heat for too long. -Ken

Angelina April 16, 2013 at 7:45 am

Oh, this just looks absolutely gorgeous! I’ve got some leftover mangoes (lucky me) and I am SO trying these for my classmates to celebrate finishing mid-term exams! Will check back with the results by next week xo

Winnie April 28, 2013 at 4:57 am

LOVE the appeal of mango curd oozing out with each bite! I’m planning on making these for my friend’s birthday as she’s a big fan of mangoes. However, she’s not that big on frosting and never fails to scoop it all off every time we eat cake.

Do you have any alternative suggestions on how I could cover the hole made for the curd without frosting? Thanks a lot!

hungryrabbit April 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Hi Winnie, you can bake the cupcakes w/o the paper liner, cut the hole from the bottom, fill with curd, replace the cap and place it on a liner. Alternatively, you can do the same and dust the top with confectioners’ sugar or place a slice or two of fresh mango on top. Happy Baking! -Ken

Roshni May 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Thank you! I made the mango cupcakes for my luau-themed party and they came out wonderfully! I just made the cupcakes because I wanted to use kiwi frosting but the cupcakes came out perfectly. They were wonderfully light, cored really well, and the curd filling tasted great. I was worried about getting enough of a mango taste but there is no issue! great recipe and thank you so much. This one is a keeper.

olivia May 29, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Great recipe! But is there really 12 ounces in 3/4 cup of mango puree? That seems too heavy!

hungryrabbit May 30, 2013 at 7:25 am

Hi Olivia, the mango puree in the recipe is made from frozen mango, not fresh; therefore it does add a bit of water weight. -Ken

Olivia May 31, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Ok, thanks for the clarification, Ken. By the way, your pictures are amazing!

DT June 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Hi Ken, these cupcakes look delicious and I would love to try the recipe, but what is coconut oil and is there any substitute for it?

hungryrabbit June 5, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Coconut oil is exactly what it says, the oil from coconut. You can get it at health food stores, Whole Foods and most large grocery stores. Here’s an example Happy Baking! -Ken

DT June 5, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Thanks! I was quite uncertain as a I did an online search and some images showed coconut oil in a solid state.

hungryrabbit June 5, 2013 at 11:02 pm

They do sometimes solidify, just warm it up slightly to return to liquid state. The measurement in the recipe is in liquid state.

helen July 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I tried your recipe. it is very delicious, actually i forgot to put an extracts but still good flavor. i did not use a coconut cuz i don’t have on hand instead i used a vegetable oil, still taste fantastic, but i use a mango buttercream used a mango puree to have more mango flavor, it is fantastic. it is a keeper. thanks for posting your recipe.

amelie August 10, 2013 at 11:01 am

Does anybody know where I can get these gorgeous cupcake stands? Love them!

hungryrabbit August 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Hi Amelie, just google ‘cupcake stand’ and you’ll find lots of sources. I got mine at Macy’s. -Ken

Abril August 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Thank you for the recipe, can’t wait to try them. Do you know if the cupcakes would travel well? I live in FL and would like to send some to NJ.
Thank you.

hungryrabbit August 12, 2013 at 7:53 am

Hi Abril, are you delivering them in person? The cupcake should be OK but I’m not sure about the frosting. -Ken

zemog August 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

Hi! Can you feeeze this frosting?

hungryrabbit August 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm

It should be fine.-Ken

Faye September 11, 2013 at 12:42 am

Absolutely gorgeous photography. You really captured the essence of this cupcake and the recipe sounds like a winner. Can’t wait to try it out!

Crumblyandcrispy September 27, 2013 at 12:06 am

I made this for a friends birthday and he loved them … I loved them too and they are easier than I thought at first :) so tasty and beautiful !!

Camille October 15, 2013 at 11:37 am

These look delicious, and I would love to try it! I only have one problem: I’m from Europe, so I use a different system for measurements. Are ounces used for measuring weight or fluid? I tried googling it, but it just got me really confused..

hungryrabbit October 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Hi Camille, all the ounces are weight measure for dry ingredients. I’m not a fan of using the ounce measurement for fluids because all fluids have different viscosity, therefore it’s not an accurate measurement. Here’s a link to help you convert to metric system. Happy Baking! -Ken

Marianne November 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Will the frosting be enough for 24-28 cupcakes or will I need to double it as well?

hungryrabbit November 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Hi Marianne, there’s probably enough to make 16 cupcakes but for 28, you definitely should double the recipe. Happy Baking! -Ken

Matty December 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm

The butter creme didnt work for me. I did all the steps and it turned out very runny. I added icing sugar to thicken it up and it was still runny. I put it in the fridge so hopefully it works. Crossing my fingers

Matty December 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Why is my icing runny? I did all the steps and them had to add icing sugar. What can i do to it becuase its still runny?

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