The vanilla cake in this mango upside down cake is moist, light and fluffy and pairs perfectly with buttery, caramelized fresh mango. This gluten-free upside down cake is a fun and delicious twist on classic pineapple upside down cake.
What is an Upside Down Cake?
An upside-down cake is a one-layer cake that is baked with a butter and brown sugar (or coconut sugar) syrup and sliced fruit on the bottom of the pan. Once baked, the cake is flipped over, revealing a glossy, caramelized, sweet fruit top. Pineapple is the traditional fruit used in upside down cakes but mango takes it to another level.
How to get an Upside Down Cake out of the Pan
I know you may be concerned that removing the cake from the pan will be scary or difficult or disastrous. But fear not! It is way easier than you are thinking. First, the cake pan will be generously greased. Second, the syrup that is poured directly on the bottom of the pan contains plenty of butter. That will also help with easy removal.
- Let the cake cool for 5-10 minutes (no longer).
- Use a knife to gently loosen the cake from the sides of the pan.
- Place a wire rack on top of the pan (wire rack is top-side down) and flip. The cake will easily drop out of the pan and onto the rack to cool.
How to Store an Upside Down Cake
Does upside down cake need to be refrigerated? – Yes and no. This cake can sit out for 24 hours with no problem. But the moisture in the mango top shouldn’t stay at room temp for too long. So if you haven’t completely devoured it after a day, it should go into the refrigerator. Cover it with a cake dome or lightly with plastic wrap and it should stay fresh for 3-4 days.
Can you freeze an upside down cake? – The cake part is ok when frozen and thawed. But fruit tends to break down quite a bit when it thaws. It gets mushy and soggy and all the moisture will seep into the cake. So the answer is yes, you can freeze this cake but the top will not retain its texture. I recommend wrapping individual pieces of cake with plastic wrap before freezing.
Mangoes – The mangoes are best if they are are on the more firm side of ripe. They should have just a little bit of give when you press with your fingertips. If too soft, they’ll be wet and difficult to handle. See the video for the best way to to remove the peel and slice.
The fluffy vanilla cake has just the basics – flour, eggs, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Nothing complicated.
I prefer oil over butter for making cakes moist especially in gluten-free cakes. Use avocado, sunflower, safflower, canola or any neutral flavored vegetable oil.
The cake recipe includes plain unsweetened yogurt – either whole milk or low-fat. Do not use Greek yogurt (not enough liquid) or nonfat yogurt (will make the cake dry). You can make it completely dairy-free by using plant based yogurt. Kite Hill Vegan Almond Milk Yogurt (unsweetened) is an excellent alternative and my go-to. Just expect that the cake will not brown as much with plant-based yogurts.
For the mango topping syrup, use a vegan butter if you prefer. Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks or Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter both work well. Use the unsalted version if you can find it.
I have seen recipes that call for haphazardly tossing a bunch of sliced mango in the pan and covering it with batter. For a more attractive presentation, I prefer to arrange the mangoes in a pattern. They will shift a little when the batter is poured in, but as long as you pack the sliced mango in tightly, it will mostly retain the pattern. Once you invert the pan and see the result, you won’t be sorry!
Baking the Cake
This cake can be made as an 8″ or 9″ cake. You’ll need more mango slices for the 9″ but 2 medium-large sized mangos should still be enough. Get a third mango if you’re not sure if you’ll have enough. The 8-in pan will take about 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes to bake. In a 9″ pan the baking time will be 45 to 55 minutes.
If making the cake in an 8″ inch pan the cake will rise and then may lose its dome while cooling. This is not a bad thing. This will give it a nice flat bottom once you flip it over. And it will still be fluffy and wonderfully moist.
More Cake Recipes
Be sure to check out my full list of gluten-free (mostly dairy-free) cake recipes, including my, gluten-free spice cake, or for something new and different try my butternut squash cake with warm spices.
Easy Mango Upside Down Cake (Gluten-Free)
- 4 Tbsp butter vegan butter works
- 1/4 c brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
- 2 medium sized mangos firmer side of ripe
- 1 1/4 c gluten-free flour blend* gluten-free, rice-free flour option
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 c plant based or whole milk plain unsweetened yogurt* room temperature
- 1/2 c oil sunflower, safflower, avocado, canola
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, powder or bean paste homemade gluten-free vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously grease an 8" or 9" cake pan with oil spray or butter.
- Bring the eggs to room temperature by placing in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes. Heat the yogurt for 10 seconds in the microwave to take the chill off.
Make the Mango Topping
- Remove the skin from the mango by trimming a thin slice off the top and bottom. Stand it up on the cut bottom and pare off the peel starting at the top, following the contour of the mango. (see video for visuals).
- Cut the wider sections off and slice 1/4" thick.
- Place the butter and brown sugar in a small pot or skillet and heat on low, stirring often.
- Cook until the sugar has melted and the mixture is uniform.
- Pour the mixture into the cake pan and swirl the pan to spread it.
- Arrange the mango slices on top of the syrup.
Make the Cake Batter
- This cake can easily be mixed with a fork and a rubber spatula. Use an electric mixer if you prefer, but be sure not to overmix.
- Beat the yogurt, oil, eggs and vanilla together in a small mixing bowl. Or save using another bowl by mixing the liquids right in your measuring cup. Measure the oil first, then add the yogurt, then eggs and vanilla. This 4 cup measuring cup has enought space for all of the liquids.
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine.
- Pour in the liquid ingredients and stir until smooth.
- Gently pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.
- Bake 40 minutes for a 9" pan and 50 minutes for an 8" pan or until the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Gently run a butter knife or small metal spatula around the edge. Place a wire rack (top side down) on top of the pan. Then flip it over to cool.
- This cake can sit out for 24 hours, but after a day it should go into the refrigerator. Cover it with a cake dome or lightly with plastic wrap and it should stay fresh for 3-4 days.