During the spring time here in the States, I find an abundance of mangoes in the markets so I make a no-bake Mango Refrigerator Cake. Thinking back, I recall it is also mango season in the Philippines during May, summer over in Asia. I have always associated mangoes, my favorite fruit with summers and my mom. She knew what to do with the surplus of mangoes we enjoyed when I was growing up. We had a bounty of mangoes from trees growing in our farm.
Mom had an abundance of mango recipes. One of them was this easy dessert. She used to call it ‘mango icebox cake’. All one needed to do was slice the mangoes, layer the butter cake slices, fruit and and heavy cream filling. After a few hours, presto, dessert was ready. Often mom made this icebox cake, as she called it with leftover broas or lady fingers. I always helped her put this dessert together. My task was to lay out the cake-like lady fingers neatly in a straight row. Then mom slathered on the heavy cream. And finally, she gently placed the sweet, succulent yellow-orange mango slices. It took her only a few minutes to make this heavenly treat then she would keep the cake refrigerated till it was dessert time. As a little girl then, I used to clap my hands in glee when I saw this magnificent mango cake assembled and ready to be chilled.
These days, when I recreate this dessert for my own family, I use leftover butter cake slices or the Taisan butter loaf I often bake. And right on cue, my own sons used to exult with joy once I was done making this easy mango cake. It is a sweet reminder of mom and the love she showered on us through the meals she prepared daily, three times a day.
Mango Refrigerator Cake
- 1/2 cup mango puree or juice freshly squeezed (or use canned), from fully ripe sweet mangoes, for syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar for syrup
- 1 cup water for syrup
- 1 whole butter loaf cake about 9 x 4 inches, sliced (or use store bought loaf cake) butter loaf cake, Taisan de Pampanga, homemade or store-bought
- 2 cans (7.6 fl oz or 225 ml each) Nestle's cream or use heavy cream
- 1 cup whipped cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar for the cream filling
- 3 to 4 whole fresh ripe mangoes peeled, pitted, sliced or cubed, Ataulfo variety
- 1/2 cup chopped unsalted cashew nuts optional
- Prepare mango syrup by mixing 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup mango juice and 1 cup water. Bring to a quick boil in about 5 to 6 minutes over medium high heat. When done, remove from stove top and let cool for use later.
- In a bowl, beat together the chilled Nestle's Cream and whipped cream. Add the 1/4 cup sugar and blend well. Refrigerate till ready to assemble the cake.
- Prepare the butter loaf cake by slicing it evenly. You should have 12 to 14 thin slices, of 1/2 inch thick each, for the cake.
- To assemble: prepare a large transparent- glass bowl with about 8 inches in diameter and a depth of 5 inches.
- Here is the order of layering: put some butter cake slices in the bottom. Then put a layer of the cream and spread over the slices. Next put some mango slices or cubes over the cream. Pour a few tablespoons of the mango syrup. Sprinkle a few chopped cashew bits over the mangoes and syrup. Repeat layers, ending with mangoes, syrup and nuts.
- Cover the cake with plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours or more. Serve chilled. Keep refrigerated any leftovers.
- Ingredient tips: if Nestle's Table Cream (widely used in the Philippines) is not available, use heavy cream and beat till frothy. For mangoes, I suggest the Ataulfo variety or referred to as 'champagne' mangoes in Asian markets. In the Philippines, the counterpart is called 'carabao mangoes' for the large size. Use fully ripened mangoes at the sweetest stage.
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- Recipe for my Taisan Butter Loaf Cake is in my cookbook "How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks" by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. It is sold on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format.