Mango Tango Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

Mango Cupcakes 012 Edited Mango Tango Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

When mangoes went on sale this time around, I chose the cupcakes over the hot sauce. I can confidently say they (the mango cupcakes and the mango hot sauce) are equally unique. In fact, I was surprised by just how much I liked these cupcakes. Yet I also know this is not a cupcake for everyone. The mango is subtle and works well with the ginger that really shines through, but it is certainly not destined to become a classic like yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

I was skeptical about the ginger both in the cupcakes and in the frosting. Even though I have developed a taste for it, I thought that was a lot of ginger. The two worked well together though, and each had enough flavor to stand on its own. Nothing bums me out more than a bite of tasteless cake that relies on its frosting for flavor or a dollop of frosting that tastes like airy wax.

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I think this cupcake could pair well with quite a few different frostings. I substituted coconut for the macadamia nuts called for in the original recipe, so I also thinned my icing with a bit of coconut milk. To up the coconut flavor, one could easily omit the ginger and add a teaspoon of coconut flavor extract.

The original recipe actually called for 1/4 cup of rum in the frosting, which I omitted. With one to two tablespoons of liquid, the recipe below creates a fairly thick frosting that can stand when piped into a fairly tall top. When thinning frosting, I highly recommend adding any liquid just one tablespoon at a time, or the next thing you know you, will have a glaze.

As you have likely deduced by now, I messed around with this recipe a fair amount. The first thing I did was halve the ingredients. The original recipe called for a yield of 14 cupcakes, and the last thing I need is more than a dozen cupcakes sitting around. I didn’t really need the seven I anticipated, much less the 10 I actually got. I see a future for them as cake balls…

Mango Cupcakes 014 Edited Mango Tango Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

To make your baking life a bit less frustrating, take note that these cupcakes do not rise all that much and they bake with flat tops. I filled my cupcake liners just over 3/4 of the way full, and I probably could have taken them a bit closer to the edge given the baked cupcakes also seemed to shrink a bit.

They are incredibly moist – to be expected, I suppose, given pureed fruit and canola oil are main ingredients – so they do not like to keep their cupcake liners on once they cool. For this reason, I think this cupcake recipe would bake especially well in a mini muffin tin. Just pop them out and ice for a nice addition to a dessert platter. The moist cake is so densely rich with flavor, one or two bites is really all you need. The next time you find yourself with a ripe mango and you feel like making something sweet, these are definitely worth a try. Enjoy!

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Mango Tango Cupcakes with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves: 10
  • For the Cupcakes
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅓ cup coconut
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • For the Frosting
  • ½ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (coconut) milk, as needed
  • Optional Garnish
  • mango slices
  • toasted coconut
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt and coconut; set aside.
  2. Use a blender or food processor to puree the mango until smooth.
  3. Transfer the mango to a large bowl and add the oil, sugar, apple cider vinegar and almond extract.
  4. Fold in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and fill nearly to the top with batter.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting.
  8. Mix the butter, cream cheese and ginger until smooth.
  9. Add the confectioners’ sugar,1/2 cup to 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
  10. Add the (coconut) milk one tablespoon at a time to thin the icing as needed.
  11. Continue to beat at high speed until light and smooth.
  12. Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish with mango or toasted coconut if desired.


A Valentine’s Day Quickie

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You can blame that title on  my sister. Sometime last summer, we were discussing the content found on this blog. She suggested posting more recipes that would be easy to pull together when the week and its many obligations are in full swing.

As nice as a dish may look or as delicious as a recipe may sound, who hasn’t shut the door on something after a glance at the ingredients list (Forty-four ingredients for soup?!) or time requirements (What do you mean this needs to sit overnight?!).

I joked I could title a series of quick-to-prepare recipes Evening Quickies. This led my sister to don her best Issac Hayes voice and say, “Well, you’re blog is called looooove.”

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If you find yourself wanting to do something nice for someone today but have not yet decided what that something is, well then, you are probably out of luck. Unless you are up for baking cupcakes from a box of cake mix, a box of pudding mix and milk. I don’t know though. All that mixing and baking seems like a lot of effort.

And then you have to make a frosting which requires a whopping four ingredients. Another box of pudding mix and the milk has to come back out along with heavy cream and powdered sugar. Plus, whipping it up requires two mixing bowls. Just thinking about the effort involved makes me tired.

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Next to cupcakes, one of my favorite things to make for people are mixed tapes. I am not so sure how excited people are to receive my mixes, but that is another point altogether. I especially like making mixed tapes that follow a certain theme, though I have made only two.

I gave my Dad an Ohio mix that contained songs with Ohio in the title (somewhat surprisingly, there are quite a few). I also made my niece a Jolene mix that contained songs with Jolene in the title (also quite a few).

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Because I like you guys as much as I like those two characters, I have made you a love music mix*. In my defense, quite a few cookbooks nowadays include musical pairings along with their recipes. So if you burn your cupcakes, turn to plan B and burn a CD instead. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. Gonna Make You Love Me – Ryan Adams
  2. No One’s Gonna Love You - Band of Horses
  3. Crazy in Love – Beyonce
  4. Too Afraid to Love You - The Black Keys
  5. Skinny Love - Bon Iver
  6. Lovesong - The Cure
  7. Heartlines - Florence + The Machine
  8. Baby, I Love Your Way - Peter Frampton
  9. Shake Your Love - Debbie Gibson**
  10. I’m So In Love With You - Al Green
  11. Cupid’s Chokehold - Gym Class Heroes
  12. Valentine’s Day - Linkin Park
  13. Is This Love - Bob Marley & The Wailers
  14. I Love You - Sarah McLachlan

* I am not in the know about good music. In fact, I have been criticized for my musical tastes. The only criteria for this mix were the words “love, heart, cupid or valentine” in the title. Listen at your own risk.

**Sorry, my inner third grader could not resist.

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Three Ingredient Cupcakes with Whipped Pudding Frosting
Serves: 12
  • For the Cupcakes
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) instant pudding mix (I used coconut cream)
  • 1½ cups cold milk
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • For the Frosting
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) instant pudding mix (I used coconut cream)
  • sprinkles for decorating
  1. Whisk together the instant pudding and the cold milk.
  2. Sprinkle in the cake mix and use a spoon to mix until well combined.
  3. Fill each well of a paper-lined cupcake tin about ¾ of the way full with batter.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the centers of the cupcakes should come out clean when done.
  5. While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting.
  6. Whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form.
  7. Whisk together the package of instant pudding and the cold milk.
  8. Fold the pudding into the whipped cream and pipe or dollop onto cupcakes. Garnish with sprinkles, because sprinkles make everything better.
The delicate nature of the frosting makes it best to eat these cupcakes within 24 hours.


Happy Mardi Gras Cupcakes

King Cake Cupcakes 002 Edited Happy Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Happy Mardi Gras! Last year, I baked a King Cake flavored with cinnamon and lemon. This year I opted to bake King Cake cupcakes flavored with nutmeg and lemon. The slightly different flavors had nothing to do with my choice, but the lack of a sweet yeast dough did. The cupcakes offered the path of least resistance.

I got the idea from a recipe that came through in a King Arthur Flour email. They offer readers a great blog post complete with step-by-step photos of baking and decorating as well as a mention of Fiori di Sicilia. Huh?

I have never baked with it, but from what I understand, Fiori di Sicilia (Flowers of Sicily) is a flavor extract that combines vanilla, citrus and floral flavors and aromas. A descriptor I frequently found accompanying it was “creamsicle.” Sounds delicious. Has anyone else used this in their baking?

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Since I did not have any Fiori di Sicilia, and since I was willing to bet the majority of people who want to bake these cupcakes would not have it either, I improvised. I used what I had in the form of vanilla and lemon extracts,and the cupcakes turned out just as delicious as I expected. Orange extract would be a fine substitute as well. As for the spices, if you are not a nutmeg fan, simply swap out the nutmeg with cinnamon instead.

In my post last year, I wrote a bit about King Cake history. This year, I wondered about the colors. From the official Mardi Gras website I learned purple represents justice, green faith and gold power. The King of Carnival, Rex, both selected the colors and assigned their meanings in 1892. On to another tradition. That baby.

It is easy to keep up with the tradition that whoever gets the piece of King Cake with the baby baked inside makes the cake next year. Simply bake the plastic baby into one of the cupcakes. King Arthur Flour suggested using a chocolate kiss or similar candy in place of a plastic baby since, like Fiori di Sicilia, most of us probably do not have bite-size plastic babies hanging around with our baking supplies. But if you do, get to baking.

King Cake Cupcakes 009 Edited Happy Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

King Cake Cupcakes
Serves: 12-14
  • For the Cupcakes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • For the Icing
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4-ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • purple, yellow, and green colored sugars
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
  2. Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer at low speed until the mixture looks grainy like sand.
  3. Add the milk and flavor extracts and increase the mixer to medium speed.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each egg until fully incorporated.
  5. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl as needed to ensure the ingredients are fully incorporated into the batter. Mix just until the batter becomes smooth.
  6. Scoop the batter into paper liners sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and placed into the wells of a muffin tin. The batter should fill the papers about ¾ of the way.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cupcakes are light golden brown around their edges and they spring back when pressed gently on top.
  8. While the cupcakes cool, prepare the icing.
  9. Beat the butter, cream cheese and flavor extracts in a medium-sized bowl until light and fluffy.
  10. Continue to beat while gradually adding the confectioners’ sugar.
  11. Add milk as needed to create a spreadable consistency.
  12. Spread each cooled cupcake with icing, then immediately decorate with the colored sparkling sugars.
The original recipe listed a yield of 12 cupcakes. I was able to get 14 cupcakes when the liners were filled ¾ of the way. Because it is necessary to spray the paper liners with non-stick cooking spray, you may want to double-line the muffin tins with papers to avoid a greasy look or to keep the look of pretty papers.