Vegan Upside-Down Mango Banana Cake

Four years ago, when I traveled solo through Paris for three weeks, one of my missions was to taste tarte tatin.

Vegan Mango Cake // The Pancake Princess

I can’t remember what fueled my urgency to taste the upside-down French version of apple pie, but it propelled me through restaurant after restaurant until, one afternoon, after a full morning of museum-wandering, I found myself at a small table in a corner restaurant overlooking the Seine for lunch.


Vegan Mango Cake // The Pancake PrincessFinally, I found tarte tatin on the menu. I wrote in my journal while making my way through a so-so salade nicoise and I remember a kind-looking mother with a young child tapping me and making some kind of conversation. Most everything is a blur except for the moment the waiter placed the glistening slice of tarte tatin on the table. For a girl who despised apple pie as a child for the mushy texture of semi-cooked apples, diving into the soft, deeply caramelized apples nestled into a thick round of buttery crust was like a big fat sigh of there you are. I see the hype now.


Since then, I’ve been utterly taken by any dish that involves caramelized fruit topped with a crust and baked until hot and bubbling and beautiful.

Though I’d relegated most of my spices and baking recipes to a long hibernation as spring began to set in on Houston, a brief cold spell brought a little cool relief long enough to turn my oven on and bring a recent fixation to life. Honestly? This cake was born thanks to bringing an old issue of Cooking Light to the gym (wherein I fixated on this chai banana bread), an excess of ripe mangoes, and this Kitchn article that assured me that a gamble of combining the two would be a near-certain success.

And it pretty much was, if you consider ultra-moist spiced cake with a jewel-like spear of mango embedded in each slice to be a success. I’ve had some not-so-hot run-ins with flax eggs in the past so I’m generally wary of them, but flax actually works quite well as an egg substitute in this cake, particularly because the cake doesn’t need to rise very high as it’s mostly acting as a (really delicious, cakey) crust to the caramelized mango.


PS. You guys are excellent advice givers and I will either be in London or Paris by the time you read this–so feel free to leave more recommendations for things to do/see/eat in the comments! <333333

Upside-Down Mango Banana Cake


  • 2 small mangoes, peeled and sliced into long, flat slivers
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • ¾ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 1.5)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce (or additional mashed banana, milk, or yogurt)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • Scant ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: ground cardamom, cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon each: ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the sliced mangoes in the brown sugar. In a 8 or 9-inch ovenproof skillet, add the coconut oil over medium heat. Once melted and hot, add the mango slices (laying them out in a decoration you’d want to see on top of a cake). Cook for about five minutes, or until mango starts to caramelize and brown (but not break down). Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the banana, sugars, oil, milk, applesauce and vanilla and whisk together. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, flax seed, baking soda, salt and spices. Gently stir the dry into the wet ingredients until just combined.

Pour batter over the mangoes in the skillet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until top is set and springs back under your finger. Let cool for a minute—and one minute only, or else it will stick!—before removing the cake from the pan. I did this by place a large plate over the top of the skillet, firmly grasping the handle with an oven mitt and inverting the pan so that the cake flopped out onto the plate, thankfully in one piece.


Adapted from this banana bread with thanks to this article.

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32 thoughts on “Vegan Upside-Down Mango Banana Cake

  1. Maggie Gutzen

    It is still in the oven… looking good…
    Would love to add a photo of the result.
    Anyway it already smells divine!
    Thanks for the recipe.

    1. erika Post author

      Maggie!!! I would LOVE to see a photo of your finished product! I don’t think you’ll be able to leave it in the comments, but if you email it to me (, I’d love to share it on my facebook page! Hope you like it–thanks so much for stopping by! <3

  2. Lilly Sue

    Wow, beautifully written…I loved hearing about your journey to find tarte tatin. I have been in that position before but usually to find a special beer :) This cake also sounds amazing! Caramelized mango sounds so good!!!

  3. Amy Jean Tappenden

    THIS LOOKS SO GOOD AND OH SO HEALTHY! I’ve never tried vegan baking or an upside down cake so I can’t wait to try this when I get home :3 (as well as many of your other recipes!) I hope your vacation is going well!

    1. erika Post author

      Thanks so much samina!! You’re so sweet and I’m glad you agree :) (although I just saw the Crown Jewels in London and gotta say–mango’s got nothing on those!!)

    1. erika Post author

      Thank you so much, Anne! It really is an awesome combo (though maybe more appropriate for fall…but I couldn’t wait that long!! :))

  4. Pang

    You traveled solo in Paris!!! OMG!!! you are officially my idol!!!!
    This post not only has gorgeous photos, but also let me know a little more about you & your adventure, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that. I can’t wait to see more posts and read more about your trip. :)

    Btw, this recipe is such my ideal dessert; I love mango with anything :)

  5. Choc Chip Uru

    I would definitely not mind trying this upside down cake, it looks absolutely stunning 😀
    So skilled my friend, you inspire me every time I visit your blog!
    And have an incredible vacation it is going to be brilliant! :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  6. Bam's Kitchen

    Happy travels to you and I guess my only advice is to eat your way through France and enjoy the fromage. Try to go to a wet market in France, if the chance arises as that was really wonderful when I did this myself. Beautiful tarte and love that first photo action shot. Take Care, BAM

  7. laurasmess

    I seriously love your style of food photography. It’s getting better and better Erika (would that have anything to do with a certain Uncle of yours?! Lucky duck!). This gorgeously fruity cake looks amazing. I definitely want to try it very soon! As for your trip – aaaah! Exciting! Hope that you’re having a blast! xxx

  8. susan @ the wimpy vegetarian

    Absolutely gorgeous photos and gorgeous cake. I haven’t tried the flax substitution, but you’re motivating me to try. I can just taste this cake. Aaaaannnnnd – have a faaaaaabulooooous trip!!!! We will miss you here, but want to see photos and hear all about it here on your blog when you get back!!!

  9. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    I hope wherever you are you are having an amazing time, Erika! You deserve it. Take tons of photos. I can’t wait to read your recap posts and live vicariously through you (I’ll get to Europe someday…) I love all fruit desserts, especially fruit caramelized in cake/crust, etc. I adore mangoes (there’s a ripe one at home waiting to be devoured tonight) so I would inhale this cake in no time flat. Beautiful photos, lady!

  10. Nora (A Clean Bake)

    Oh my heavens this cake. I gueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeess if I can’t actually be in Paris, I’ll settle for this cake. Not actually much of a sacrifice though because this looks outrageous and I have had mixed results with flax eggs so I’d love a recipe that will restore my faith in the ‘ol flax egg.

    But seriously, have an INCREDIBLE trip, and please instagram your face off so we can all live vicariously through you (oooh so resisting the urge to make a reference about walking in your stripey cute new shoes). Have a safe and amaaaaaaazing trip!

  11. Mary Frances

    Sigh. I see it now, too.
    I’m so jealous (and happy for you of course 😉 ) that you got to go to Paris! It is on my bucket list. And I lvoe this recipe – The caramelized mango is just genius!

  12. The Vegan 8

    Looks so beautiful Erika!!! I’m not a mango or banana fan, as you know, but I would totally go to town on the bread part, since there isn’t that much banana in it. It looks so moist and divine!! That’s super duper exciting that you are in London or Paris now! Can’t wait to hear all about it!! I bet you will have a blast. I’ve been to Paris, but not London and would love to go someday.


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