This mango upside down cake has a fluffy, moist vanilla cake with a buttery, caramelized mango top. The cake mixes up in just a few minutes with simple ingredients.
Upside down cake
This is a a one-layer cake that is baked with a butter and brown sugar (or coconut sugar) syrup and sliced fruit on the bottom. Once baked, the cake is flipped over, making the top a glossy, caramelized, sweet fruit top. Pineapple is the traditional fruit used in upside down cakes but mango takes it to another level.
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 difficult to handle and too wet. 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, whole milk or low-fat. Do not use Greek yogurt (not enough liquid) or nonfat yogurt (will make the cake dry). 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, use a vegan butter if you prefer. Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks work well. Use the unsalted version if you can find it.
Baking the Cake
This cake can be made as an 8″ or 9″ cake. You will 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 it 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 vanilla cake, spice cake, or for something new and different try my butternut squash cake with warm spices.
Mango Upside Down Cake
- 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*
- 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 or bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously grease an 8" or 9" cake pan with oil spray or butter.
- Bring eggs to room temperature by placing in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes. Heat 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 it 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, being sure not to overmix.
- Beat the yogurt, oil, eggs and vanilla together in a small mixing bowl. Or mix it right in your measuring cup if it's big enough. Measure the oil first, then add the yogurt, then eggs and vanilla. Mixing the wet ingredients in this 4 cup measuring cup to save using another bowl.
- 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 45 minutes 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. Then flip it over onto a wire rack to cool.