Saturday, May 28, 2016

Summer Special: Tropical Mango Vanilla Cupcakes

Make way for the king of fruits! The matchless, marvellous, magnificent MANGO is here!

Like the saying goes - better late than never! I had to feature a recipe with mango in it....I just HAD to. For starters, I love mangoes. There is something about this bright sweet juicy fruit that makes me go weak in the knees. Second, mangoes are seasonal, so for us people living in the tropics, there is a limited window of time where we can enjoy them at the peak of their flavour before the good ones start dwindling from grocery store shelves. Third, there is only one other recipe on my blog that features mango. Only ONE! I just had to fix that 

In India, different varieties of mangoes are available during summer but I have always been partial to the alphonso mango. It is widely considered to be among the most superior varieties of the fruit in terms of sweetness, richness and flavour. Unlike most other mangoes, alphonso mangoes have a rich, tender and creamy texture devoid of fibres, which makes it extremely easy to eat and dangerously addictive!

Every year, during mango season, me and my family would gorge on these luscious fruits. And it wasn't enough that we savoured the fruit in its raw natural form. In either a subtle or obvious way, mangoes would make its way into salads, chutneys, milkshakes/smoothies, juice, ice-cream, desserts and rasayana (a sweet accompaniment made with mango and coconut milk) be it at home, at restaurants or social gatherings.

One can never have enough of mangoes!

I had been hassling my husband to go to Little India in Singapore and buy some Indian mangoes. My little ones had never tasted them before and I was very keen to introduce it to them. Once I got my hands on a sizeable stash of alphonso mangoes, I was determined to keep aside one or two to whip up a mangolicious dessert. I almost didn't end up doing it because one of my girls demonstrated such an affinity to the fruit (the other one still cannot get over her banana craze) that I didn't think I could reserve a single one! But I did manage to sneak one away from her prying eyes and what you see in this post is the result of it!

This is a very good and super easy recipe. I tweaked the original recipe slightly and I now ostentatiously declare it is near perfect. I say 'near' because the buttercream is still a bit too sweet for my liking but I couldn't reduce the sweetness without compromising on the consistency. This comes under the category of American buttercream and therefore does tend to be sweeter than say an Italian meringue buttercream or Swiss meringue buttercream. That said, these vanilla cupcakes are rich, soft and moist. The gorgeous orange-hued buttercream tastes sweet and tangy, and is bursting with fragrant mango flavor. The mango I used in this recipe was ripe and sweet but it also had a teeny bit of tartness which actually worked really well to offset the intense sweetness of the buttercream.

I had made these cupcakes as a post-dinner treat while entertaining guests and they were unanimously well-received. I hardly have experience with cupcake decorating but I did the best I could. If you can improve on it, please do and give me some pointers too. Haha! I have a long way to go in the area of cake decorating but I'll (hopefully) get there someday! I wish I could have taken better photographs of the cupcakes but on that day, I was in such a tearing hurry to get most of the cooking done (in the midst of other chores and attending to my kids incessant needs) that I could spare hardly 5 minutes for it. That explains the insipid imagery in this post!


Anyway, my time-management and photography woes aside, do try these cupcakes especially if you are a mango-lover like me. It is the perfect way to celebrate summer in style! 

Tropical Mango Vanilla Cupcakes

Preparation time: 20 mins; Baking time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Makes: 12 medium-sized cupcakes
Recipe category: Dessert/Western
Recipe level: Easy
Recipe source: Adapted from here

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
1 & 1/3 cup cake flour (you could substitute with all-purpose/plain flour)*
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vanilla flavored yogurt (or you could substitute with plain yoghurt)*
1/2 cup whole milk 
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract

* refer notes

For the mango buttercream:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup mango puree (using a handheld or stand blender, puree a generous ½ cup of diced mangos until smooth)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar

Method: 

1. Before starting, bring all the ingredients to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners. 

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.


3. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand held electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar very well for at least 5 mins on medium speed until the mixture turns white. You may have to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times while doing this. 


4. Add the egg and beat on low speed until just incorporated. 


5. Add the yogurt, milk and vanilla and stir together with a spatula (if your milk and/or yoghurt is cold, the mixture will curdle....not to worry, this will sort itself out later). Then slowly add in the dry ingredients in batches. Fold with a spatula until smooth. Try not to over mix.


6. Fill the paper liners 2/3 of the way using a spoon/scoop and bake in the centre of the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cupcakes slightly cool in the muffin pan for a minute or two and then remove and place on a wire rack to complete the cooling process.




7. To make the buttercream, whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the mango puree, salt and vanilla, mix until somewhat incorporated. Add the icing sugar, one cup at a time, blend until smooth.




8. Pipe the buttercream on to cupcakes that have completely cooled down. Or else you can just slather it on with a spatula. Decorate with fresh mango pieces if desired. 



Notes:
  • Cake flour has a lower protein content than traditional all-purpose flour, which results in a more tender, delicate crumb in the finished product.  If you cannot find or access cake flour, feel free to substitute with all-purpose flour, but note that your results may vary from mine. To make cake flour at home - measure out the amount of flour needed for your recipe. For every 1 cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tbsp of flour. Now replace it with 2 tbsp of cornstarch. Sift 5-6 times and it is ready-to-use cake flour!
  • If you want to add extra flavour to the cupcakes, you can use coconut flavoured yoghurt or mango flavoured yoghurt instead of vanilla. If you want to avoid yoghurt altogether, you can substitute with sour cream
  • Mangoes that are ripe yet slightly tart work well since they cut through the intense sweetness of the buttercream 
  • If the cupcakes are still warm, the buttercream will melt so make sure the cupcakes have cooled down completely before frosting
  • The cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The cupcakes are best served at room temperature.

Cheers,


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