Mango Icebox Cake Recipe

Tropic thunder. María del Mar Sacasa

This airy, creamy dessert has a good dose of tropical freshness, provided by mango.

Note: Savoiardi are available in most supermarkets.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 5 hrs
Serves: 12 servings

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  • For the Cake
  • 1 (.25-ounce) package unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 medium-sized, ripe but firm mangos, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 1/4 cups (about 8 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 12 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 44 savoiardi Italian ladyfingers from 2 (7-ounce) packages (see note)
  • For the Topping
  • 2 medium-sized, ripe but firm mangos
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice


  1. For the Cake: Combine gelatin, cardamom, and 1/4 cup water in small bowl and allow to soften, about 5 minutes. Microwave 45 seconds and allow to cool to room temperature, 5 to 7 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, pulse 1 cup diced mango, 1/4 cup sugar, and lime juice in food processor until completely puréed. Reserve.

  3. Stir remaining 1 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup in heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and boil syrup until it registers 238°F on candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.

  4. While syrup boils, with electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites, vanilla bean seeds, and salt with whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.

  5. When syrup reaches temperature, with mixer running on medium-high speed, slowly and carefully pour into egg whites. Beat until outside of bowl is cool to the touch and whites are thick and glossy, about 7 minutes. Add gelatin mixture and beat just to combine.

  6. Whisk mascarpone, sweetened condensed milk, and pureed mango mixture together in large bowl. Mix in 1/3 of meringue. With rubber spatula, fold in remaining meringue. Fold in remaining 2 cups mango.

  7. To Assemble: Line bottom of 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper round. Reserve 24 of the best looking ladyfingers and, with serrated knife, gently cut each into 3 1/4 inches long. Break remaining 20 cookies into 1/2-inch pieces.

  8. Cover bottom of pan with half of the cookie pieces. Scrape half the mango mixture (about 4 1/2 cups) into pan over cookies. With rubber spatula, spread out over cookies, leaving a 1-inch gap between mixture and edge of pan. Tuck the 24 whole ladyfingers into the gap vertically; this will help keep them standing up straight. Once finished, spread the mango filling all the way to touch the cookies.

  9. Top filling with remaining half of cookie pieces, pressing gently in with fingertips. Spread remaining half of mango mixture over cookies, smoothing top.

  10. Peel mangos and discard skin. Peel mango flesh into thin strips and place in bowl. Toss with lime juice, then, wrap strips into flower-like rolls and arrange on top of cake.

  11. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

  12. Release cake from springform mold and, leaving it on parchment round, gently slide onto a serving plate or cake stand. Slice and serve chilled.

Special equipment

microwave, food processor, heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, electric mixer, candy thermometer, rubber spatula, 9-inch round springform pan, parchment paper, serrated knife, ruler, vegetable peeler, plastic wrap

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