Mango Memories

I have a confession to make: I used to hate mangoes.

Now, that doesn’t really sound like a big deal right? But if, like me, you’re from the Philippines,  then that statement is sin. Filipinos are extremely proud of Philippine mangoes (which we consider the best mangoes in the whole world, of course). Bright yellow, soft, lingeringly sweet, the Philippine mango can evoke the hot summer sun and a cool tropical breeze in one bite. It is sweet, so sweet, that if you close your eyes while eating it, and you let the tender flesh linger in your tongue, and you savor the saccharine juice of the fresh fruit, that you can imagine tasting… paradise.

But I used to hate it.

When I was a kid I refused to enjoy the bushels of mangoes in our house. I would turn up my nose at the ripe mangoes that my family eats after dinner. “I don’t like mangoes,” I would obnoxiously declare.

I used to say no to these

One bright afternoon though, everything changed. It was the day my sisters and I made an icebox cake. I have two younger sisters, both of whom I love to no end, and they both like mangoes. My youngest sister Patty, so smart and strong and beautiful, could eat mangoes with breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and snacks. And Monica, dear Monica, is absolutely enamored with this sweet fruit, almost as much as she adores avocados. Maybe even more.  So we decided to make a mango ice box cake.

While the three of us were involved in the creation of this mango cake, it was really Monica who enjoyed it the most. It became her project, with Patty and me being relegated to assistants. My sweet sister Monica, who cannot see nor hear, had the grandest time making this four-ingredient cake. She impatiently waited for hours for the cake to set, and when we all took it out of the freezer, she was beaming with excitement, with plate and fork ready for action.

I, too, took a bite.

And just like that, I started to love mangoes.

The mangoes started to taste like love and pride and excitement. Mangoes started to remind me of Monica and this icebox cake and that afternoon with my two wonderful sisters. Mangoes… became my paradise.

Mango Icebox Cake

Mango Icebox Cake

2 sleeves graham crackers (16 sheets) – or you can substitute lady fingers
1 14 oz. can condensed milk
10 oz whipped cream
2 cups ripe mangoes, sliced into thin strips

In a big bowl, fold in the condensed milk into the whipped cream.

Spread a few spoonfulls of the whipped cream mixture in the bottom of a 5×11 inch baking pan (or something similarly-sized). Lay down a layer of graham crackers. Generously cover the top of the graham crackers with more whipped cream, then a single layer of the sliced mangoes. Repeat three more times until you have four layers of graham crackers. Spread the remaining whipped cream on top with a spatula.

Refrigerate for at least four hours before slicing.


Do you have a special memory of making something with your siblings or loved ones?


29 Responses to “Mango Memories”

  1. #
    Elizabeth posted June 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    What a lovely story! I am obsessed with mangoes and actually just bought one last week. That cake sounds amazing, I totally want to make it. I spent a semester in college on a farm in Costa Rica and we grew mangoes. They came into season in my last few weeks there. I think I had at least two or three a day in those last few weeks. It was heaven.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      Elizabeth – I love hearing snippets about your days in Costa Rica and Italy! I can imagine that the mangoes in Costa Rica are pretty wonderful too – there is something about warm tropical weather that breeds the best mangoes!

  2. #
    Daisy posted June 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Such a cute story! i love mangoes. I had an amazing dish at Zocalo (post coming soon) with mango cucumber guacamole. unreal! kind of like your cake :)

  3. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted June 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    I love this – especially because I just ate mango slices straight from a ziploc bag. This dessert looks excellent!

  4. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet posted June 5, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I’ve actually never had an icebox cake! I love this mango twist. Love that story:-)

  5. #
    Meghan@travelwinedine posted June 6, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I love how you weave in food and family in your blog posts. It is truly a gift! This cake sounds divine.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks for the nice words Meghan. Family and food are definitely interconnected in my life :)

  6. #
    MelissaNibbles posted June 6, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Such a cute post. I don’t like mangoes, but maybe one day…

  7. #
    christina posted June 6, 2011 at 9:40 am

    sometimes i like mangoes, sometimes i don’t. i think it’s the champagne style i don’t like. however, your cake looks delicious!

  8. #
    Baking Serendipity posted June 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I love mangoes and recipes that call for them! It’s a such a different fruit than I think most expect to see in baking and I’m always pleased with the flavor they give :)

  9. #
    Michelle Collins posted June 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    This looks like such a wonderful summer dessert! My siblings and I loved making brownies together…but we normally ate the batter before we even had a chance to cook it. ;)

  10. #
    val posted June 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Great post and I heart this recipe!

  11. #
    miriam posted June 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I love the stories and memories of you, your family and special meals or specific dishes – so genuine and just plain brilliant.

    I am currently obsessed with champagne mangoes – they’ve been on sale at various stores in the area…I literally can’t imagine my diet without them now :) This recipe is a little like a Mexican dessert I used to make – except that uses Marie cookies and lime.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 6, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks Miriam. In the Philippines, I used to eat Marie cookies all the time too!! I consider it part of my childhood :)

  12. #
    Michelle posted June 6, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I’m not the biggest fan of mangoes but I had the biggest craving for them when I saw some street vendors selling them with hot sauce in NYC this weekend!

  13. #
    Alli posted June 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    What a cute story! The cake sounds different and delicious. Can’t wait to try it.

  14. #
    Joanne posted June 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I used to THINK I hated mangoes. Then I actually had one. And I was wrong. So, so wrong.

    I love the sound of this cake! So fresh and delicious for summer!

  15. #
    Megan posted June 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    What a great story! I absolutely love mangos. We just had mango sorbet in Aruba, and I keep thinking about making it now.

  16. #
    Alaina posted June 7, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Aw, what a sweet story! I used to not be a huge fan of mangos either. About a few months ago I made pancakes with my sister in law and used mango as a topping. Now I love it. And my favorite Chobani flavor is with the mangos. :-)

  17. #
    Pia posted June 12, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Oh, man….. condensed milk AND mangoes?? In a no-bake cake?? Yes, please!! Thank you for sharing this recipe and your beautiful story! From one Pinay to another, you rock!

    ~ Pia

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Pia! Thanks for dropping by my blog. I totally associate condensed milk with Filipino desserts and I love it in this cake :)

  18. #
    Amanda Jewell posted June 15, 2011 at 12:11 am

    man oh man. I’d be in the same boat had I not liked mangos. My dad is a half persian and it would be a sin to dislike any of the following: mangos, pistachios, or dates. Similarly, he’s half Greek so I am genetically designed to love olives/olive oil, tomatoes, pomegranates, and feta (although I’m allergic to dairy..). My new mission = make vegan mango icebox cake.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      Amanda let me know if you do make vegan mango icebox cake!

  19. #
    Lea @ Healthy Coconut posted July 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Oh man…we share the same love for mangoes. I do agree, best mango that I have ever tasted (and the sweetest) are from the Philippines.

    Love this simple recipe. Do you eat it right away or do you think it will get soggy if I make it ahead of time and serve it a few hours later?

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted July 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      Hey Lea, great minds think alike! I literally just commented on your blog about mangoes again :) I do not eat this right away, it’s best to chill/freeze for a few hours first!

  20. #
    Iyos posted September 14, 2011 at 11:54 am

    i love your blog, I even bookmarked it =)

    I do this recipe (I think we Filipinos love this type of dessert =)) but I use Nestle cream. It’s different from whipped cream right? I’m not used to seeing whipped cream in our groceries here.

    Continue to make yummy food =)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      Hi Iyos, salamat sa pagbasa ng blog ko! It’s great to have other Pinoys read it :) Nestle cream is just all-purpose cream – if you just whip it with a mixer, you’ll get whipped cream. I’ve definitely done this with Nestle cream too but prefer whipped cream now because of the thicker/fluffier consistency.

  21. #
    Iyos posted September 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Oh I see! Thanks for clearing that up =) I’d better learn more how to cook =) I’ll definitely share your blog in my FB. Parang ang sarap kainin nung mga niluluto mo =)

    Keep it up! Btw, love the colors of your blog. It was my wedding colors – pink and brown =)

    Have a great day!

  22. #
    ann posted December 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    love it!

Leave a Comment