I am a big fan of mangoes, so when a friend gifted me a box of ready-to-eat specimens, I couldn’t say no! I ate one immediately, but I also use mangoes in a variety of desserts. Fresh mango makes excellent fruit pie filling and wonderful sorbet, and it also makes an outstanding Mango Royale Icebox Cake. Icebox cakes are a style of chilled or frozen dessert that resembles a cake, but requires no baking. Like the one pictured here, they often use graham crackers, chocolate wafers or other prepared cookies to create layers and give the dessert structure. They are perfect for hot weather entertaining because, not only are they served cold, but they can be prepared way in advance of when you plan to serve them. This one is good for a crowd, as it makes pretty generous servings.
This Mango Royale Icebox Cake is loaded with fresh mango, which is folded into a base of whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. The whipped cream mixture is very similar to the base that I use for my no churn ice cream, though it uses more whipped cream for a more mousse-like consistency. Ideally, you’ll want to cut the mangoes into smaller chunks for the two inner layers and larger chunks for the top layer, as it’s nice to see bigger chunks of fruit on top of the dessert. That said, it is easier to dice up the mango into very small pieces (no more than 1/4-inch in diameter) and add all of the fruit to the whipped cream mixture instead of cutting it into various sizes. I certainly won’t fault you if you take that little shortcut because I’ve been there, too! Smaller pieces do ensure that you get mango in every bite, so err on the size of too-small rather than too large.
The cake should be frozen for at least 2-3 hours before serving, or it can be refrigerated overnight. I like the firmer texture of the frozen dessert myself, but I know those who prefer the refrigerated version, as well. The dessert will be slightly softer if refrigerated, with a texture that reminds me more of a trifle than of an ice cream cake, which is how the frozen option turns out. Both are delicious and full of mango-goodness, so consider giving this a try the next time you find yourself with some extra, ripe mangoes on hand!
Mango Royale Icebox Cake
2-3 ripe mangoes (approx 2 1/2 cups, chopped)
2 cups heavy cream
1 12-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
18-21 graham crackers
Peel the mangoes. Finely dice two of the mangoes and cut the third into slightly larger cubes (no bigger than 1/2-inch)
In a large bowl, beat heavy cream to soft peaks. Add in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract and beat at high speed to combine. Take 1/3 of the mixture and transfer it to a separate bowl. Stir finely diced mango into the remaining mixture.
Place 6-7 graham crackers (you may need to break one) in the base of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Pour half of the mango-whipped cream mixture on top of the graham crackers and smooth into an even layer. Arrange another layer of 6-7 graham crackers on top and pour on the remaining mango-whipped cream mixture. Arrange another layer of 6-7 graham crackers on top.
Spread plain whipped cream mixture over the top of the final graham cracker layer, then sprinkle large mango chunks evenly over the top. Freeze until firm, at least 3 hours (or overnight), before slicing.