Learn how to make this amazing mango lassi cake. Layers of mango and cardamom sponge, mango curd, finished with a saffron buttercream.
Yes you heard that right, a mango lassi cake is here.
This is one incredible recipe (if I do say so myself) and it has been a fun process to test and develop. It’s basically been weeks filled with mangoes, and I for one am not complaining whatsoever.
I try to share an annual ‘summer bake’ on my Instagram. Last year was my Pistachio Kulfi Milk Cake, and this year it’s this mango lassi cake. This one is well worth making and indulging in.
This is a real treat.
Mango lassi cake
As the name suggests, this cake is mango infused through and throughout. It’s the perfect summer cake to show off and wow your friends and family. But you can absolutely make this any time of the year.
The cake is totally egg-free, as are all my recipes, but also very easy to veganise with just a few simple swaps.
It’s based on the famous mango lassi drink (arguably the best smoothie of all time). The flavours in this cake are so nostalgic, it reminds me of childhood summers with a jug of lassi on the table, to creates of alphonso mangoes lying in our kitchen.
If you’re unfamiliar with mango lassi I’ll cover that in the next heading.
This cake breaks down into 3 sections:
Two layers of a mango and cardamom infused sponge. A very delicate, soft and airy sponge is key here.
The addition of the mango pulp adds sweetness and flavour, but also provides a soft and light texture.
The cardamom goes hand in hand with the mango whilst staying true to the traditional mango lassi flavour.
A layer of mango curd between the sponges provides sweetness and acidity. It’s a great punch of mango flavour and one of my favourite parts of this cake. It’s glossy, smooth and rich.
Just how it ought to be.
A saffron infused buttercream adds richness, sweetness and flavour. I’m partial to adding saffron to my mango lassis, it adds a floral note that I love.
It is one of my favourite spices and also one that I find nostalgic. It adds an earthy, fragrant, floral note to the buttercream that works beautifully with the mango and cardamom.
As the mango adds plenty of sweetness and richness in itself, the buttercream is an element where less truly is more. I much prefer less buttercream here, just for that hint of buttery richness and saffron.
You can choose to add more buttercream if you desire, I certainly won’t stop you.
What is mango lassi?
Where to begin.
This is the drink that resonates with most Indians, it’s one that most of us grew up on and still thoroughly enjoy. Mangoes themselves, and more specifically alphonso and kesar mangoes are synonymous with an Indian upbringing.
To the extent that I’d argue that many of us are rather protective of them. There’s always queues of people outside the Indian supermarket every summer awaiting to purchase their crate of mangoes as soon as the season starts.
Mango lassi is essentially a smoothie normally made from alphonso or kesar mangoes blended with yoghurt and cardamom. Occasionally additions such as honey, saffron, rose and milk are also used.
It’s quite a thick smoothie, which is how I love it. However that’s where the milk comes in to play, in order to thin it out if desired.
Mango lassi is a drink that’s served cold which is why it pairs so well with warm summers as well as as Indian food. It’s very refreshing and that balances out the spices in the food perfectly.
Mango curd and why you need it
A layer of mango curd between the sponges provides sweetness along with some acidity. It adds a great punch of mango flavour that truly brings freshness to the cake.
The texture is like a thick, smooth mango puree however it’s not as set as a jelly.
The curd provides a smooth mango flavour with every bite and this mango lassi cake would definitely not be the same without it.
Curds are traditionally made with egg yolks, however this recipe will be totally egg-free. It’s a very easy component to put together.
If you’ve never made a fruit curd before, you’ll be surprised at just how easy the process is.
How to bake the perfect sponge without eggs
This is the key component of this cake, hence it’s crucial to bake it perfectly. Traditionally sponge cakes rely on eggs for richness, leavening and binding. They create structure within the batter and add moisture.
The process of creaming butter and sugar, as well as whisking eggs both help to aerate the batter. In turn producing that classic sponge texture.
This recipe has no eggs. I’ve never baked with eggs and begun my sponge cake recipe development around 15 years ago now.
I started with my Eggless Vanilla Sponge cake recipe and it took around 2 years to perfect and it’s barely changed since.
No one has ever questioned this sponge being eggless, it’s soft, moist, light and perfectly airy.
This sponge relies on oil for moisture, which is enhanced even further with the mango pulp in this particular recipe. The self raising flour along with the leavening agents such as baking powder/bicarbonate of soda add the necessary lift.
I also tend to use ground flax seeds reconstituted in water in all my bakes as this also adds moisture and some binding. There are no flax seeds in this recipe as the mango puree already adds plenty of moisture.
Baking this sponge low and slow will also ensure a smooth flat bake. However if you consistently end up with domed cakes that crack on top, perhaps try purchasing cake strips to wrap around your baking tins. These allow for a more even heat distribution as the cake bakes.
What you’ll need for this mango lassi cake
The full recipe can be found at the end of the blogpost
- Self raising flour – I’ll provide the plain flour/all purpose substitute at the end of the blogpost. But self raising provides the best texture
- Tinned alphonso/kesar mango pulp
- Natural yoghurt
- Milk – plant based works perfectly too
- Ground cardamom
- Baking power
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Butter – plant based works perfectly
- Icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar
- Vanilla paste/extract
- Fresh alphonso or kesar mango
Types of mangoes
Yes, there are different types. And the differences are huge! There are so many varieties but I’ll cover the main 3 that we find readily in the UK.
Brazilian mangoes are the ones sold in most UK supermarkets. These tend to have a green to red skin and a yellow to light orange interior.
These are most often the keitt or kent varieties. Both are sweet and fruity, with kent also having sour, tart notes to them. These are delicious mangoes however they’re not quite the right ones for mango lassi or this mango lassi cake.
The two main Indian varieties are alphonso and kesar mangoes. Both tend to have a green to yellow skin as they’re ripening, which turns to an orange/yellow colour once ripened.
It can also have reddish hues and patches. These are very sweet mangoes with a deep orange interior. The texture is soft and smooth, it almost melts in the mouth.
These are both perfect for making mango lassi out of, and hence perfect for this cake.
Fresh mango vs tinned mango pulp
Due to the increasing cost of the alphonso and kesar mangoes as well as seasonal availability, it can be difficult to rely on the fresh fruit for any mango lassi cake cravings.
Hence I opt to use the tinned alphonso pulp or tinned kesar pulp which is far more readily available. Using the tinned pulp also saves a step of making it from scratch, whilst also allowing you to make this cake all year round.
The fresh mango will always have the freshest flavour, however the tinned pulp works very well here. It’s also more consistent in flavour and texture than the fresh fruit, which will in turn provide more reliable results when baking this cake.
The tinned pulps also do often contain sugar syrup and some water, but it should have a mango content of around 95%. This is absolutely fine to use. I use the sweetened tin in this recipe and I recommend the same.
Tinned mango pulp is now readily sold in most supermarkets in the world food’s aisle and is also an easy find in any Indian supermarket. Just make sure to purchase the tins which say ‘kesar’ or ‘alphonso’.
It’s worth still buying one fresh alphonso or kesar mango if you wish to garnish the cake in the same way as I have.
Can this mango lassi cake be made vegan?
Yes it absolutely can. For the sponge swap the yoghurt and milk for plant based alternatives. Soy yoghurt and oat milk work brilliantly here.
For the buttercream use a vegan butter (Flora is my go-to) and any plant based milk of choice.
The results are indistinguishable from the dairy counterpart, not a single person has ever realised when I’ve made this without dairy.
How to make this mango lassi cake
Let’s first start with the sponge:
1) Kesar or alphonso tinned mango pulp is essential here. I love both but kesar has always been my first choice
2) Mix together the mango pulp, yoghurt and milk until combined (this is now a mango lassi – try not to drink it, save it for the cake!)
3) Whisk together the oil, sugar and ground cardamom
4) Add the mango lassi mixture and whisk to combine
5) The wet mix should now be completely incorporated
6) Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda
7) Sieve your flour mix into the wet mix then whisk till incorporated
8) Use a spatula to fold the batter to ensure everything is incorporated
9) Split the batter equally between two 7″ trays and bake
10) Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack
11) Allow the cakes to cool completely
Next, let’s make the mango curd:
1) Place the mango pulp and sugar in a saucepan
2) Mix together the lemon juice and cornflour until the flour has completely dissolved
3) Add the cornflour and lemon slurry to the mango mixture and whisk till incorporated
4) Place the mix on a medium low heat, continue to switch between a whisk and a spatula and keep mixing
5) The mixture should thicken like so
6) Then add the butter and milk and continue to mix on a low heat
7) The mixture should now be smooth and glossy
8) Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge until cooled completely
9) Once cooled, blend using an immersion blender or a regular blender until smooth
Let’s make the saffron buttercream:
1) Infuse saffron in warm milk. I recommend toasting the saffron on a low heat first, then coarsely grinding it between your fingertips. Heat milk in the microwave until steaming then mix both together and allow to infuse for at least 30 minutes
2) Prepare your softened butter
3) Whisk the softened butter until light and airy
4) Add the icing sugar and vanilla bean paste/vanilla extract and whisk until incorporated and airy
5) Finally add the saffron milk and continue to whisk
6) Place the saffron buttercream in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to slightly set up
Finally, let’s assemble the mango lassi cake:
1+2) Place the mango curd on top of the first layer of cake and smooth into an even layer. Leave a small gap around the edges for the buttercream to ensure a neater finish
3) Place the second layer of the mango lassi sponge on top
4) Then add the saffron buttercream and smooth into as even of a layer as possible (I’m not a cake decorator by any means!)
5) Finish with some sliced alphonso or kesar mango along with ground pistachios and cardamom. Place in the fridge for 3-4 hours for the curd to set up. Serve this cake straight out of the fridge for best results
Can we bake this in any other size or as cupcakes?
The batter will make:
- ~21 cupcakes which take 15-18 minutes to bake./
- One thick 7 or 8″ cake which will take around 60 minutes to bake
- One very thin 10″ cake at around 35-40 minute bake time
How to make this cake vegan?
Use plant based alternatives for the yoghurt, milk and butter. The plant based counterparts work perfectly and the results are indistinguishable from the dairy counterpart.
How to store the mango lassi cake?
Refrigerate the cake for up to 5 days. It tastes even better the next day!
Can this cake be made gluten free?
I’ve never tried myself however after seeing the great results that others have had using the Dove’s Farm gluten free flour with my pistachio kulfi milk cake recipe. I feel confident it would work fine here.
Can plain flour/all purpose flour be used instead of self raising flour?
Yes though I much prefer the results with self raising flour. You will need to add 10g of baking powder(around 3tsp) to the 285g plain flour to turn it into a close substitute for self raising flour.
You will still need to add in the additional 1tsp of baking powder and 1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda as per the recipe on top of this.
Mango Lassi Cake
- 2×7” round baking tins
For the cake:
- 285 g self raising flour
- 170 g white granulated sugar
- 175 ml neutral oil e.g. sunflower or vegetable
- 200 ml kesar/alphonso mango pulp
- 50 ml natural yoghurt
- 50 ml milk
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp salt
For the mango curd:
- 200 ml kesar/alphonso mango pulp
- 50 ml lemon juice from around 1-2 lemons
- 35 g cornflour
- 20 g white granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 75 ml milk
For the saffron buttercream: (see notes for further info)
- 125 g unsalted butter softened
- 115 g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- Pinch of saffron toasted and coarsely ground
- 1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
- For garnishes:
- Fresh kesar/alphonso mango cut into cubes
- Ground pistachios
- Ground cardamom
For the sponge:
- Preheat your oven to 160’C
- Mix together the mango pulp, yoghurt and milk
- Whisk together the oil, sugar and ground cardamom
- Add the mango mixture and continue to whisk
- In a separate bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt
- Sieve the dry flour mix into the wet mix and whisk till everything is incorporated
- Fold the batter with a spatula and pour equally into two lined and greased 7” cake tins. Bake for 45-50mins
- Allow the cake to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the tin and turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely
For the mango curd:
- Place the mango pulp and sugar in a saucepan
- In a separate bowl mix the lemon juice and cornflour together until the cornflour has completely dissolved
- Pour the cornflour slurry into the mango mixture and whisk to combine
- Place the saucepan on a medium-low heat and continue to mix using a whisk and a spatula
- Once the mixture has thickened, place the heat on low and add the butter and milk and continue to mix until glossy and thick
- Transfer this mixture to the fridge and allow to cool completely
- Once cooled, blend with an immersion blender or regular blender into a smooth mango curd
For the saffron buttercream:
- Place the milk in the microwave and heat until steaming. Be careful not to leave milk in for too long as it can splatter. Then add the toasted and ground saffron and allow to infuse for at least 30 minutes
- Whisk the softened butter until light and airy
- Add the icing sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk
- Finally add the saffron milk and continue to whisk
- Place the buttercream into the fridge for around 10 minutes to firm up slightly before decorating
To assemble the cake:
- Place the mango curd over the first layer of the sponge and spread into an even layer. Leave a small gap around the edge of the cake for the buttercream to fill in. This will ensure a neater finish
- Place the second sponge on top and then add the buttercream. Smooth the buttercream over the top and sides
- Decorate with mango pieces, ground pistachios and ground cardamom
- Place the cake back into the fridge for 4 hours to allow the curd to fully set up. Enjoy this cake cold, straight out of the fridge for best results