Mango-Chile Cupcakes

1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup mango nectar*, at room temperature
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 egg, at room temperature
1 mango, cubed (about 2/3 cup)

key lime cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease and flour 12 wells in a cupcake pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg, mix thoroughly. Add flour, baking powder, chipotle powder, and salt to the butter mixture. Add the milk and mango nectar to the rest of the batter and beat until well combined. Fold in mango. Fill each well 2/3 of the way full. Bake about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted the center of a cupcake (try to avoid spearing a mango cube!) comes out mostly clean. Cool briefly in the pan, then remove cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely before icing with key lime cream cheese frosting. Ice.

*Available at most well-stocked grocery stores, mango nectar is made from mango pulp. I’ve found it in the “international foods” isle more often than the beverage isle, so look there first.

My thoughts:

The combination of mango and chile might sound odd at first but it is actually quite good. This recipe was inspired by the mango vendors I’ve seen in NYC that take a mango, peel it, stick a skewer in it and sprinkle it with chile powder and salt for an addictive spicy-sweet snack. Today’s our third anniversary and I wanted to make something fun. Matt loves anything spicy and we both love mangos so it was an obvious choice. I paired it with key lime frosting to keep the tropical feeling present (plus the mangos-on-a-stick are often doused in lime juice) but I think it would be great with a mango icing or even just plain buttercream.


  1. Those look so good. I can’t wait to give them a try. Happy anniversary!

  2. Happy Anniversary to you! I also like mango and chili, though never thought about the two together. I appreciate your creativity and will try these with the key lime you posted earlier.

  3. Jessy and her dog Winnie

    That looks great! I love the presentation.

  4. Yum! Those look delicious! Hope you had a great anniversary!

  5. woah~~ i would love to jump into my bikini and bash in the sun with these! 😀 beautiful presentation! love the key lime frosting~ YUM YUM


  6. These sound really interesting. I love the combination you’ve come up with. Happy anniversary!

  7. yummy, looks good and super cute!

  8. Happy Anniversary! I think that my husband would marry me all over again if I made him these.

  9. Very cool~ I love how the umbrella (ella ella) and cupcake liner go so well with the colors of the cupcake. These are intriguing flavors indeed!

  10. Susan from Food Blogga

    Oh, my, I am so making these cupcakes. I just made mango bread that was good but sweet. The idea of some heat baked in sounds even better!

  11. I made these last night (sans food coloring in the frosting) and they are stunning. I might want to add a dash more of the chile powder, since the spices didn’t pop for me.

    Happy anniversary, and keep up the mind-blowing recipes!

  12. My head just exploded from the awesomeness. Time to call in sick tomorrow and spend the day making cupcakes.

  13. Kiriel du Papillon

    Mmmmm… sounds like a super combination to me, mango and chili! Good stuff, keep up those experiments!

  14. These are perfect for Spring! They seem a bit more like a muffin than a cupcake with the ingredients. The flavor combo sounds awesome to me! I love mango salsa so I am used to sweet and spicy together.

  15. You can find mango with lime juice, salt, and/or chile on Columbia Road as you head towards Mt. Pleasant from Adams Morgan. If you’re lucky, the vendor(s) may even have green mango. Happy Anniversary and thanks for the recipe!

  16. Awww happy anniversary! Also, those look fabulous! I will be sure to make those with my cooking buddy very soon.

    I followed you on Twitter, too. My name is Shaxxon on there!

  17. I love mangoes, so decided to give this a try. Made the recipe tonight omitting chile and adding some zest of CA Meyer lemon. They came out super sweet and spongy….any ideas why?

    The frosting was good: I could not find key lime, so used juice of CA Meyer lemon and zest of a lime.

    Check out the pictures on my blog.

  18. Hey Olga:
    The lemon variation sounds yummy!

    Some of the flavor/texture differences might depend on how sweet/fiberous your mango was.

  19. Olga: Also if you added too much butter they might be spongy- did you only use the 6 TBS called for?

  20. Rachel,
    I mistakenly used almost an entire stick of butter. It was in my freezer, so I microwaved it (to get the butter softened) and then without thinking added the whole thing to the sugar….so that might explain my problem. I brought the cupcakes to work, and so far people like them!

  21. Hi Rachel, I saw this on Cupcakes Take the Cake, and as I said there, great photo! at first glance I thought it was a watercolor painting! Recipe sounds intriguing too!

  22. I think there might be a typo because when i made the batter according to the instructions it was way too liquidy. I had to add alot more flour and baking powder to make it a thicker consistency. Also next time i think i would use a higher proportion of mango nectar to milk to give them a bit more flavor. Even with all that they’re still delicious. This is a brilliant flavor combination and I look forward to making them again.

  23. XOXO-
    There is no typo. The matter is fairly thin. Too much flour obscures the mango flavor. Also, using homemade mango nectar or high quality nectar makes them quite mango-y in combination with the fresh mango. Adding more really doesn’t effect the flavor in a positive way.

  24. I just had a look and I love that your frosting is green! I didn’t use Mango nectar, did that make the mango flavour stronger in your ones? We’re heading to NYC next year so I’ll have to check out the mango sellers.

  25. Best cupcake i have made and eaten in years. Everyone I have shared these with cannot believe the wonderful mix of flavors.

  26. What a cool hot combination to try for a cupcake! Love it and have included your cupcake in our chili cupcake feature at Party Cupcake Ideas.

  27. Any thoughts on whether these would work with a chili powder and chocolate type frosting?

  28. The chocolate might be a little overwhelming but I think it would be tasty!