This Raspberry Mango Cake is the perfect way to celebrate summer! Raspberry cake layers and a mango Swiss meringue buttercream.
Anyone else grossly underestimate how long renovations take? And how easily things scale and multiply? And how much of your life you’ll spend at Home Depot? At this point I’ve spent more time in the past 3 months at Home Depot than Homesense, so you can just imagine.
It’s not a huge reno that we’re doing — we’re updating the main bathroom upstairs and relocating our washer/dryer from the kitchen to the basement. We’re trying to do as much as we can ourselves which, truthfully, isn’t much. We are FAR from experts in the DIY space, but these past few weeks has made us step out of our comfort zone and try to do some things ourselves. Smaller (but intimidating) things like doing most of the demo in the bathroom, changing out all the light switches, and replacing the light in the dining room (which was not in the plans, but remember how things multiply). All of this resulted in only two (somewhat) minor electrocutions and one trip to the emergency room for stitches. Did I mention we’re newbies to this whole DIY thing?? It’s a miracle the injuries haven’t been more severe. We’re not done yet though, so stay tuned.
The renovations have also been a bit more distracting than I had expected, so I’m feeling behind on all sorts of things in life, especially baking. I did manage to get this Raspberry Mango Cake baked up though, in between contractors and hospital visits.
How to make this Raspberry Mango Cake
If you’ve been following my posts lately, you know that powdered flavorings are my new favorite thing to use in baking. From peanut butter powder in buttercream (game changer) to various freeze-dried berries in cakes and frostings.
Adding fresh fruit to cakes or frostings is always a challenge due to the moisture content in them. Freeze-dried berries make the process so much easier. You can read more about the differences between dried and freeze-dried fruit here. They are NOT the same thing, and not interchangeable.
The challenge with freeze-dried berries is that they are harder to find locally and they tend to be more expensive. If you live in the US, you’re lucky enough that you can get a variety of freeze-dried fruit at your local Trader Joe’s. That’s actually where I got the freeze-dried mango for this Raspberry Mango Cake!
I had the foresight to purchase that when we were in the States a couple months ago, and I’m glad I did. The flavor intensity of the mango in this buttercream is amazing. AMAZING! I swear I only want to bake with freeze-dried fruit for the rest of my life.
The fruit usually comes whole (unless you can find/buy the powder), so you’ll need to process it in some way. I use a coffee/spice grinder to do this, and it works perfectly. You could also use a food processor. I always pass the powder through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of any larger chunks. The biggest pain in the butt is cleaning the coffee grinder after, to be honest. If anyone has any tips for this I would love to hear them.
I chose to pair mango and raspberry together because it’s a delicious combo and the colors go so well together. The color was actually my biggest struggle with this cake and, to be honest, I don’t love how it turned out.
How to make an Ombre Cake
This is one of those “no one knows what your original vision of the cake was, so just move on” kinda things. At least that’s what I had to tell myself, anyhow!
My goal was to do an ombre cake with dark pink frosting fading into pretty golden frosting. The mango color was really hard to match, and I didn’t do a great job. I mostly used Wilton’s Buttercup Yellow, then added some Americolor Orange and Wilton Golden Yellow. It only kinda sorta worked. The bigger struggle was the raspberry color.
I used Americolor Fuchsia and started out with just a toothpick amount of color. I don’t know what I was thinking. Literally like 10 toothpicks later I was nowhere close to the deep, dark raspberry color I was hoping for. I should have just squirted a bunch of color in there. It takes a ridiculous amount of time/color gel to achieve a dark color. Eventually, I just gave up and went with a pale pink rather than the dark color I wanted. I’m not sure why I didn’t keep going though, I still had a lot of color gel left!
Buttercream color issues aside, this is one delicious tropical cake. Both the raspberry and mango flavors come through so well!! I added fresh raspberries between the layers for some color contrast for the pictures (since my pink color frosting was ultra lame), but I would probably leave these out next time. The raspberry flavor in the cake is already so strong due to the freeze-dried raspberry powder, so adding the fresh berries may be a bit of overkill. By all means though, go berry crazy if you like, and even add some fresh chopped mango too!
One thing I totally love, love, love about this cake is the color of the rough chopped freeze-dried raspberries along the bottom and sprinkled on top of this cake. Is that a stunning color or what?? Amazing. That’s what I was hoping my frosting would be like, hah!
If you’re looking for a fresh and summery tropical cake, this Raspberry Mango cake is sure to satisfy your craving.
Looking for more Tropical Cakes?
Tips for making this Raspberry Mango Cake
- Recipe revised May 5, 2020 – A few of you have found this recipe a bit dense so I’ve revised it to be a bit lighter.
- The recipe as-is will also work in two 8″ pans. For three 8″ pans, 1.5x the recipe.
- To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time — start checking at 15mins or so.
- Do not use dried or dehydrated berries in place of freeze-dried. It is not the same thing and will not work out.
- I got my freeze-dried berries from Trader Joe’s, but you can easily find them online.
- I put fresh raspberries between the layers, but I would probably leave them off next time as the raspberry flavor in the cake is already quite strong.
- You can substitute any freeze-dried fruit in the cake and the frosting.
- The color gels I used were: Wilton’s Buttercup Yellow, Americolor Orange, Wilton Golden Yellow, and Americolor Fuchsia.
- Be sure to check my Swiss Meringue Buttercream post for tips and troubleshooting.
- Learn how to keep your cakes moist using Simple Syrup.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, check out my Flat Top Cakes post!
Raspberry Mango Cake
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1/4 cup freeze-dried raspberry powder *
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 5 large egg whites room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk room temperature
- fuchsia color gel optional
Mango Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- 6 large egg whites
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 6 Tbsp freeze-dried mango powder *
- fuchsia color gel
- buttercup yellow color gel
- freeze-dried raspberries chopped
- raspberries sliced, optional
- raspberries whole
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour three 6″ cake rounds and line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, freeze dried raspberry powder, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and oil and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (about 3mins). Reduce speed and add egg whites one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Add color gel if desired.
- Bake for 40-45mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
- Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack.
Mango Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
- Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined.**
- Place bowl over a double boiler on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch (approx. 3mins). Or registers 160F on a candy thermometer.
- Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins)).
- Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth.***
- Remove 2 cups of buttercream and color it pink. You can also add some freeze-dried raspberry powder to this if you like. Set aside.
- Add freeze-dried mango powder to the remaining buttercream and whip until smooth. Add color gel to achieve desired color.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with approximately 2/3 cup of the mango buttercream. Press some slices raspberries into the frosting if desired. Repeat with remaining layers and crumb coat the cake. Chill for 20mins.
- Combine some of the pink and mango buttercream to make a third color (about 1/2 cup each or as desired).
- Starting with the bottom and the pink color, spread roughly onto bottom third of cake with a small offset spatula.
- Clean spatula and do the same with the combined raspberry/mango buttercream on the middle section.
- Clean spatula add the remaining mango buttercream to the top of the cake and upper third. Try to ensure all sections of frosting have the same amount of thickness.
- Take a bench scraper or a large offset spatula and smooth the sides and blend colors. Use a small offset spatula to create a swirl pattern on the sides and top.
- Decorate with fresh and/or freeze-dried raspberries if desired.
** Ensure there is NO trace of egg yolks in your whites and that your mixer bowl and whisk is completely grease free or your meringue won’t stiffen.
*** The buttercream may look like it’s curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.
Reeni Sciannella says
can you make this in a cake mold?
Hi Reeni! Do you mean in something like a Bundt pan? That should work fine, you’ll just need to increase the baking time.
Reeni Sciannella says
I was thinking of using this for a lamb cake for Easter actually.How much more time?
Ellen Wagenknecht says
This is the second time I have made this cake. The first time I did not have all ingredients at room temp and the cake was rather dense, yet flavorful. This time, I had everything at room temp, measured out correctly and ready to go. The cakes did dome a bit (this time I did NOT wrap the outside of the tins with a damp tea-towel, which would have reduced the dome. I got lazy.) The flavor is wonderful in the cake, and it is not as dense as my first attempt.
This is not a light and fluffy sponge cake, so have the right expectation before you indulge in this recipe.
I had to really watch the bake time, as my oven had this done in 27 mins. I also had to rotate the pans, due to my oven.
We ran out of the raspberries and substituted freeze-dried strawberries with the mango frosting, and still a delightful combination. The frosting is a bit involved, but worth the effort and time. There really is no good substitute with a store-bought, so plan ahead and just dive in. I will be doing this again and will try different flavor combinations, and perhaps add a splash of liquor to the frosting… so many possibilities! The 6 inch round is a little “small” but the cake truly is charming, as it is presented.
Hi Ellen! Thank you so much for the detailed feedback and for all your tips! I’m glad you liked it 🙂
While I love raspberries, I love mango even more and its been my goal to make a mango cake. 100% mango. Most recipes I run into just dump mango chunks into the batter of the cake or just put a mango filling between vanilla cake layers. I wanted mango in the batter, filling and frosting. So for the cake would you recommend using freeze-dried mango powder, or mango puree instead of milk, or both? I love in Miami and there is nothing like backyard mangoes, but they are seasonal. I remember I got some canned Indian Alphonso mango puree online . At first taste it was amazIng; so flavorful, like mango on steroids. But then came the metallic, canned taste; so disappointing. So my quest is for a super flavorful mango puree.
Hi Brian! Freeze-dried mango powder would definitely be your best bet! You can just swap it in for the raspberry here. I would try mango juice instead of milk. The puree would be too thick. I would also do a mango curd as a filling and then the FD mango powder again in the frosting. Let me know if you try it and how it all turns out!
I plan make this cake next week. Can pasteurized egg whites from a carton be used instead of fresh egg whites from eggs? Thanks.
Hi Rachel! For the cake it will be fine but I have not had success with carton white for the frosting. I talk more about that here: https://livforcake.com/swiss-meringue-buttercream-recipe/
Jyothi Sethuraman says
Looks Amazing! I am planning to make this for a birthday party. I have a question before I proceed.
You mentioned that “Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 5-10mins))”. Is this after cooling down the mixture or right from the stove I can start whisking.
Hi Jyothi! Right from the stove you can start whipping it 🙂
How to clean your grinder? use rice. Just that simple.
Hi CarLyD! Thanks for the tip I’ll give that a try!
Looks amazing! Is the mango buttercream pipeable? Specifically I was hoping to make drop flowers with it. Thank you!
Hi April! Yes, it should pipe beautifully.
I’m debating baking this but before I set off I just wanted to check if cake flour is what us Brits call self raising? I’ve checked online and different people are saying different things about adding baking powder.
If I go with self raising do I leave out the baking powder?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Rhian! Cake flour is not the same as self-raising. I’ve never replaced the flour with self-raising myself but if you want to try it then you should leave out the baking powder in the recipe as self-raising already has that. I believe it might have some salt as well but I’m not sure. I can’t guarantee the results if you change up the flour but if you try it let me know as I’m curious how it turns out!
Hi Liv! I love your recipes and I appreciate the time you take to walk us through the process. I was wondering how it would be to have a layer of mango mousse between the Raspberry cake layers. Could you tell me how to make mango mousse?
Hi Pat! Thank you! I think that would be totally delicious. I haven’t made a mango mousse in a long time. I would search online for a recipe for it 🙂
Hi liv! I love your recipes and I appreciate the time you take to walk us through the process. I was wondering how it would be to have a layer of mango mousse between the raspberry cake layers? Could you tell me how to make mango mousse?
Made this for my sister-in-law’s birthday. Cake came out great! No issues with rising, though I will say, I made it in FOUR 6” cake round tins rather than 3. Perhaps I just beat in a lot of volume in the creaming/egg white stage, but I do find that the recipes on this site tend to make a bit more batter than expected. I adjusted the bake time accordingly. Fluffy raspberry cake layers, and lovely SMBC. Thank you for the original and creative recipes. Please keep them coming.
PS- for anyone unfamiliar with freeze-dried fruit, they pack ALOT of flavour, which means they also lend to a much sweeter cake.
Hi Hayley! Thanks so much for your feedback and tips, I’m so happy you loved this cake! Crazy that it made four cakes for you 😮 How tall are your cake pans? Mine bake riiiight to the top of three 6″ ones. So they are quite tall I suppose.
Cerian Wood says
Hi, literally just made this (in the oven right now) but think I may have done something wrong, my cake batter kept curdling, even after adding all the flour. I used self raising flour and didn’t add any baking powder which is what I do with all your recipes as I find they don’t rise as well if I add baking powder to regular flour. I’m hoping they rise, but any tips on curdling batter would be much appreciated. I’ve never had this issue with your recipes before, they are always delicious, so hoping this works as it looks amazing!
Hi Cerian! Were all your ingredients at room temperature? Sometimes curdling can happen if the ingredients are slightly cold and don’t emulsify properly. Usually due to cold eggs. To fix this you can add a bit of flour, one Tbsp at a time, until the mixture smooths out. The curdled cake batter can cause the cake to bake up on the denser side. Let me know how it turns out!
Cerian Wood says
Hi Olivia, it was my butter that was a bit cold! It was a bit of an emergency bake as I dropped my eggs at the supermarket, they didn’t smash but cracked so I had to use them that day, so didn’t get butter out much in advance. They baked up ok, they were denser that usual, but also wasn’t sure if that was down to the fruit powder being heavier than flour. Also as an aside I made large cupcakes with the batter and it worked perfectly, I got 22 out of the mix, but as I said they were probably closer to muffin size than cupcake.
The cake is denser than most of mine due to the berry powder for sure. Thanks for the tip on the cupcakes! 🙂
I was wondering if it’s ok to put the freeze dried raspberries on the sides a day before the cake will be served. I’m afraid they’ll get chewy.
Hi Katie! They will get chewy for sure. You can delay putting them on there till just before serving if you want them to stay somewhat crunchy.
I’m sorry, but DON’T BOTHER. I followed the recipe exactly:
1. The cake was a brownish color, not at all the lovely raspberry pink as shown
2. DENSE! So much so that several guests left the cake and only ate my cream cheese butter cream and raspberry filling which I added to the recipe.
3. So much promise and so disappointing. If I were ever to make this again I would use cake flour, egg whites, not whole eggs, perhaps buttermilk, anything to save the sponge. What a disappointment. I have made so many cakes and this was one of the worst.
Hi Teresa! Sorry to hear you didn’t love this one. It’s definitely more on the dense side due to freeze-dried raspberries.
I wish I would have read this comment beforehand! I literally just finished making it, and I definitely noticed that the cake did not rise that much and looked EXTREMELY dense. Really bummed that I didn’t go for the cake flour instead of regular flour, and the freeze dried raspberries that I used turned it a darker purple color versus the pinkish color as well.
Hi, would this recipe work if it’s doubled? Thank you.
Hi Marilyn! Yes, it should work fine.
Lovely thank you for your speedy reply.