Ch. 64: Mango-Mansi Cupcakes- a flavor infusion

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The other week, I had gone through the process of defrosting some frozen mango that was given to me and spent some time blending it and cooking it down to a puree. Even after making the Mango Coconut Pie, I still had a considerable amount of homemade mango puree and not much of an idea of what to do with it. I had already made a Mango Pie, and Mango Cheesecake was so four months ago (literally- see my post on Mango Cheesecake). I looked through my fridge and saw that I still had some leftover calamansi concentrate from another recipe (that post will be up next week) and that’s when the wheels started turning. Here on Guam, one of the local coffee shop chains has a signature drink called a Mango-Mansi which is one of my favorites. I decided I wanted to take those flavors and combine them into a cupcake, using that drink as an inspiration. Now I don’t know if I’ve ever seen calamansi cupcakes before- but I have seen lemon and calamansi is basically just lemon’s more interesting, and ethnically diverse friend. So I looked to Preppy Kitchen for a recipe for Lemon Cupcakes and did a little swap. 

I’m giving a warning that I didn’t measure too much while doing this, as I kept adding in more ingredients until I felt the taste was there. In any case, I loosely followed John’s recipe. Since I was using concentrate, I ended up adding some lime zest to the sugar in place of lemon zest. Everything else was pretty standard, with the dry ingredients getting mixed up while I measured out the wet. Instead of lemon, I did a one for one swap for the calamansi concentrate (though I would reduce the sugar the next time- more on that later.) I’ll post the full recipe below, so you don’t have to try and follow along to my meandering baking process. Eventually, I ended up with a nice batter that baked up pretty well. The tops were a bit browned, likely due to the added sugar in the concentrate- but that’s nothing some frosting can’t cover up. 

The frosting is the real star of this show. I decided to go with a simple American Buttercream because it’s easy and doesn’t take too long to whip up. Sure, you could make this using something a little more fancy like Swiss or Italian Meringue Buttercream, but I just couldn’t be bothered that day. I whipped up the butter until it was pale and fluffy, before adding in the mango puree. Be sure to set aside some for later. Once that was well combined, I slowly added in some powdered sugar. Most recipes will call for absurd amounts of sugar, but I tend to go a little easy because you can’t really fix an overly sweet frosting. I usually add enough to get the right consistency to pipe, so use caution because you can always add more, but you can’t take away. I ended up finishing the buttercream off with some fresh lemon juice mixed in to really make that mango flavor nice and pronounced, as well as balance the sugar. Once that was ready to go, I filled up a piping bag and piped the frosting in that classic cupcake swirl. I filled up another piping bag with the remaining mango puree and snipped off a small end to drizzle on top of the finished cakes. 

These turned out a lot better than I had hoped. Upon first bite, the mango hits you first- with a mouthful of that fresh and bright flavor. The buttercream is undoubtedly mango, with the puree offering some nice freshness. The lemon also does wonders, with the original frosting tasting a bit flat before I added the acid. The cake itself is quite good too- with a nice softness that you want from a cupcake. One of my gripes about cupcakes is that they often end up pretty dry and dense, and so I was happy with how airy these were. The calamansi flavor is pronounced, and offers a puckery zing against the sweet buttercream. Really, the two are a match made in heaven. I saved a single one for myself, but packed away the rest to give away to family which got some rave reviews. My youngest cousin absolutely loved them, with my auntie recording a video of her saying how cute they were. Three year olds can be pretty hard to please, so I’ll take that as a win. Really, the only thing that could have made these better would have been a 20oz  Mango Mansi from Infusion.

My Recipe for Mango-Mansi Cupcakes:

Calamansi Cupcake
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp zest (calamansi or lemon)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup thawed calamansi juice concentrate (can substitute for fresh)*
*If using fresh calamansi juice, increase sugar to 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 and line a cupcake pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, add the sugar and zest. and whisk to combine. Add in the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and whisk together. Heat up the milk and sour cream in a microwave safe bowl for 30-60 seconds to warm. Pour into a medium bowl and whisk in the eggs, melted butter and calamansi concentrate until everything is smooth. Add the dry mix and whisk until smooth. Portion with an ice cream scoop into the cupcake pan and bake for 17-20 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t worry if they brown or sink, as they’ll be frosted.

Mango Buttercream:
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2-3 cups of powdered sugar
3/4 cup mango puree (3-4 ripe mangoes or 1 small bag frozen mango)
1/4 cup mango purée (for drizzle)

To make mango purée, blend fresh or thawed frozen mango in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pass through a sieve and cook purée in a medium saucepot on medium heat until thick. Purée should coat the back of a spoon. Let chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

In a large bowl, whip the butter with a hand mixer or stand mixer for 3 minutes on medium high or until fluffy. Add in the mango purée and mix to combine. Gradually sift in the powdered sugar and beat to incorporate. Adjust with additional sugar until desired sweetness. You can also add more purée or some lemon juice to decrease the sweetness. Frost either by hand or with a piping tip onto cooled cupcakes. Drizzle with additional mango purée and serve.

Recipe based on Lemon Cupcakes from Preppy Kitchen:

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