No-bake mango mousse cake, GFDF
Not sure what is a perfect summer birthday cake or celebration cake that is a no-bake dessert for when it’s hot out and you don’t want to bake? How about a no-bake mousse cake that is whole foods based with lots of fresh summer fruit and tropical taste?
Try this delicious, summery, fruity, multi-layered mango mousse cake with a citrus coconut mousse layer and mango jelly on top. Unlike most mango mousse cakes bought at stores, this cake is made with real, fresh mangoes, not canned mango puree (though that can be subbed in when mangoes aren’t in season) so this mousse cake is mostly naturally sweetened, and made with all-natural ingredients-and love. There is no glucsose syrup and no food coloring and much less sugar. It is also made with healthy coconut cream instead of whipped cream, giving the second layer a subtle coconuty flavour infused with citrus, to pair with the mango mousse and making it a healthier cake full of healthy fats. This mango mousse cake is also a flourless, gluten-free, allergen-free cake if you use free-from cookies for the crust. Of course it is a lactose-free cake. To make it paleo replace the cookies with paleo cookies or make a raw nut crust with maple syrup (process in food processor until sticky pinchable consistency) instead of a cookie crust.
This is a real mango mousse cake as the ones you would get in a dessert shop, just dairy-free and eggless. This is a light fluffy mousse cake with absolutely none of the weird stuff that gets put into no-bake vegan cakes (soy-free, nut-free, no cashew cake, no nuts, no aquafaba, and no freezing is involved -this ain’t no tofu mousse cake nor vegan cheesecake-this is a true airy mousse cake like from the cake store.)
This eggless dairy-free mango mousse cake has no raw egg whites in it, so it is safe for pregnant women and children and safer in quarantine days. A kid-friendly, yet healthy cake-an it’s family sized and can feed a small group.
So since it’s an egg-free cake, it can easily be made vegan by using agar agar instead of gelatin. If using agar agar, you don’t need to bloom it like gelatin, you can dissolve it in a little water in a small saucepan over low heat for several minutes. If you are new to agar agar or gelatin check out this easy, quick mango jello recipe to get some practice in before (this is especially relevant since the top layer of the cake is a diy mango jello). agar agar is similair to gelatin in that it sets liquids into solids, but the use of it is slightly different. rather than bloom the gelatin, you can actually first boil agar in water or non-acidic juice, which you cannot do to gelatin. See this vegan mousse recipe for an idea of how to use it and refer to the mango jello recipe for pointers and don’ts for both gelatin and agar agar. Agar agar a flavourless seaweed which thickens like gelatin.
This mango mousse cake recipe is made with coconut cream instead of coconut milk to have more of a cream alternative. You don’t want too much liquid in a mousse cake.
You can make this a sugar-free cake if you have ripe sweet mangoes (tip: buy them a couple or few days ahead so they have time to ripen if not in high season). Or use a pinch of stevia instead of sugar if you like.
Tip: this cake is best made the evening before so it has time to set, and then the mango jelly layer should be made in the morning or noon the next day so it has time to set for at least 2 hours (ideally more). If you want to make it in one day start the first 2 layers in the morning/noon and allow the 2 mousse layers 4 hrs or more to set before pouring jelly juice on top. If you want to whip the coconut cream for extra fluffiness, it is best to place the mixing/batter bowl and hand hand mixer beaters into the fridge for several hours along with the canned coconut cream so everything is cold.
2 cups Graham crackers or graham cookie crumbs, gluten-free, allergen free graham cookies or gf allergen free cookie crumbs if needed (or arrowroot cookies but they are not allergen free) (you can also replace a bit of the cookies with shredded coconut)
6 tbsp vegan butter and/or coconut oil (or butter if tolerated), softened or melted
optional: a 1/4 cup of sugar can be added to taste, but it will stick to the pan more
Mango mousse layer:
7-8 ripe ataulfo mangoes, fresh, room temp. (2 of mine were xlg ataulfos, others were regular or small ataulfo mangoes) (each mango yields roughly a scant half cup of puree) (or you can sub with approx 750 ml of canned mango puree and omit the sugar and lemon)
1 can of coconut cream, chilled 4 hours in the fridge, solid cream part only
4.5 envelopes/4.5 tbsp of gelatin (flavourless gelatin from the baking section or approx 8-9tbsp agar agar flakes or 8-9 tsp agar agar powder)+ 9 tbsp cold water to bloom the gelatin (if using 8 mangoes or a few big ataulfo mangoes use 5.5 tbsp gelatin+11 tbsp cold water accordingly. For my amount I used almost 5 pouches to be safe and not melt outside in the sun, but i think 4-4.5 gelatin pouches would have been enough)
optional: very tiny dash of lemon juice from a very thin lemon wedge slice (helps prevent browning but too much can go against gelatin and make it too sour)+extra 4 tbsp sugar or more to taste
Citrus coconut mousse layer:
1 can of heavy coconut cream/ whipping coconut cream, chilled 3-4 hours in the fridge (this type has very little liquid as it’s mostly cream)
several drops of orange oil and/or lemon oil (not to be confused with essential oil-these are links to food grade natural flavourings), and/or the zest of 1/2 a lemon or 1/4 of an orange, grated with a zester (to taste, but if your mangoes are ripe, you want the mango flavour to be most prominent. if you want the citrus flavour most prominent, then add about 10 drops of lemon or orange oil).
optional: drop of pure vanilla extract (variation: if you want a classic coconut mousse layer so you can really taste the mango most, omit the citrus and just add a tsp of vanilla extract or coconut extract to taste)
approx 4 tbsp sugar (to taste)
2/3 tbsp gelatin powder(or approx 1.5 tbsp agar flakes or 1.5 tsp agar powder)+ 2 tbsp cold water to bloom gelatin in
Mango jelly layer / mango mirror glaze:
1.5 cups mango nectar (Canadian link) (or US link here) or 1 cup nectar and 1/2 cup mango juice, room temp (if cold, warm it on low heat to lukewarm temp. also if using mango juice alone it isn’t as sweet so dissolve 2-3 tbsp sugar to the warmed juice) *I prefer mango nectar, mango juice is usually mixed with pear juice etc so it’s diluted. Also you don’t want a medley juice because some fruit juices don’t do well with gelatin or agar agar, though pear is ok)
tbsp gelatin (one envelope) (or vegan sub: 2 tbsp agar agar flakes or 2 tsp agar agar powder)+2 tbsp cold water to bloom gelatin in
Garnish: raspberries or strawberry slices
Tip: I advise using an anodized aluminum springform pan if possible as it is non reactive for no-bake desserts that are at first a bit liquidy. This is the pan I use and I no longer get grey metallic smears on my mousse cakes.
Use a neutral flavoured non-stick cooking spray or generously grease the bottom of the (anodized) 8″ spring form pan (if using a 9″ pan you can make double the cookie crust to fill the extra space and use 8 mangoes in the mousse). Grease the sides where there is a crack in the springform (don’t grease all the way up the sides, that’s where the mousse and jelly will go).
Process the graham cookies in a food processor until they are crumbs, add vegan butter/oil and process until it is a pinchable sticky consistency. Do a taste test, I don’t like the taste of vegan butter as much as butter so I usually do half coconut oil and I add a bit of sugar, but the sugar makes it stick to the pan a bit.
Pour into springform pan, use the bottom of a heavy glass to push it down (or use your fist). Make sure the crack of the spring form is filled so the mousse won’t leak.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Mango mousse layer:
Meantime, peel and cut the mangoes (tip: use a plastic cutting board-don’t use a wooden/bamboo cutting board which retains and transfers smell from savoury foods)
place the mango pieces in a high-speed blender. Blend until it becomes a smooth mango puree.
Over a bowl, scoop out the coconut cream, solid part only (save liquid for a smoothie). Don’t do this directly over the blender as the watery part may get in and you don’t want a soggy crust etc. Technically, you should whip this coconut cream for fluffiness first, but I find it adds extra work/dishes that isn’t really needed here. It is up to you, whether you just pop the coconut cream into the blender with the mango and blend. Or if you whip it and then incoroporate the mango puree.
Add sugar to taste, keep in mind refrigeration will reduce sweetness slightly so make it a little sweeter than you want it.
*Depending on the size of your mangoes, things may vary a bit. Overall you should have about 5 cups of mango coconut cream for the mousse. This is important to know for the gelatin ratio. (One pouch of gelatin sets 1.5 cups of solids and 2 cups of liquids. this is somehwere in between as all that mango is more liquidy than some cheesecake or cream based mousse cakes, but not thin like juice. I aired on the side of caution and used more gelatin than I probably needed because I added a bit of lemon juice (and too much citrus goes against gelatin) and this helped since the cake was out of the fridge unmolded in the sun for 2 hours before serving and the mousse part remained solid enough to hold its shape.)
sprinkle the glatin powder into a custard cup or very, very small bowl, cover it in the water and let it bloom for five minutes. stir. (if using agar agar dissolve it in a little water in a sauce pan over low heat for a about 5 minutes and skip the blooming and microwaving steps).
Then microwave the gelatin for a few seconds to dissolve/melt it but do not bring it to boil. (if you have a new powerful microwave a few seconds will do, watch it. if you have a weak microwave you may end up doing intervals and a total of about 20 seconds for this larger amount of gelatin.) Stir well. do not use any clumps, but you shouldn’t have much.
If your mango puree was at room temperature you don’t need to temper the gelatin. If they were cold (not optimal) then slowly add a spoon, and then another spoon of the mango puree to the gelatin, so it doesn’t get cold-shocked and lump up. then add the gelatin to the mix and incorporate. refrigerate for 10-15 minutes so it is no longer liquidy, but not close to setting in the bowl.
take out the pan with the crust. I like to place the pan on a piece of aluminum foil to prevent leaks just in case, though you shouldn’t have any.
Pour the mango coconut mixture onto the crust. smooth with an offset spatula. Cover and refrigerate until the mango layer is set, before adding another layer, approx 45-90 minutes. If unsure you can gently touch with your fingertip to tell if it can handle another layer on top. When it is set start preparing the coconut layer.
Coconut mousse layer:
Scoop out the heavy coconut cream into a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip it until fluffy. If using the canned whipping cream there won’t be much liquid so it is ok to add the liquid into the bowl after and mix in, I have accounted enough gelatin for the liquid to set. If using regular coconut cream, which may have more liquid, use a whole tbsp of gelatin to be on the safe side. Sprinkle the gelatin into a ramekin or custard cup and cover with water, and let bloom 5 min. Meantime add the orange oil or lemon oil and/or zest and mix. Add sugar to taste. Microwave the gelatin for a few secs to dissolve (for less time than before as there is less of it). (if using agar agar dissolve it in a little water in a sauce pan over low heat for a about 5 minutes and skip the blooming and microwaving steps).
Because the coconut cream is cold, temper the gelatin to avoid clumps from premature setting. Add first a spoon of cream to the gelatin, then another, stir, and then add the gelatin to the cream. Refrigerate for 5-7 minutes until it is a little firmer (not too long or it will set in the bowl!) or alternatively you can pipe it with a piping bag for extra fluffiness (two different techniques to try). Pipe or pour it onto the set mango layer. smooth with spatula.
Cover. Refrigerate until set, ideally overnight or for at least 4 hours. Keep in mind the mango layer underneath has to set further too. The coconut layer will set quicker as it is a thin layer without fruit.
Do not unmold the cake until the very end.
To make the mango mirror glaze, sprinkle gelatin over a small bowl or custard cup. Add water. let bloom 5 minutes. microwave for a few seconds to dissolve. stir. stir the gelatin into the juice. mix well so there are no lumps of gelatin. (if using agar agar refer to my mango jello recipe for exact directions on making vegan mango jelly).
Pour the juice over the cake. cover the springform pan with a cake lid. carefully place the springform pan, with the aluminum foil under it, back into the fridge on an even surface. Keep refrigerated until fully set, at least 2 hours, ideally 4 hours or more ( I did only about 2-2.5 hours so it wasn’t as stiff as jello and then took it to a picnic where it was in the car and hot sun waiting for a couple hours, and it held up pretty well, but after 1.5 hours or so the jelly started to melt in the sun).
Once set you can top it with raspberries which give a tart refreshing contrast that pairs well with the mango mousse and coconut mousse.
Only take it out of the fridge and unmold once you are ready to serve the cake. To unmold it, first run a butterknife along the pan before removing the hinge. (Or keep it in it’s mold, on a cake platter covered with a cake lid and take to a birthday picnic or bbq at the park. If you have a big cooler with an ice pack and you won’t wobble it as you carry it then you can cover it in aluminum and keep it in a cooler). You will need some plastic utensils for this cake as its a mousse cake so you can’t just grab it.
Use a chef’s knife to cut deep into the cookie crust-I even like to run the knife under the crust so it sticks less to the pan. (If at a picnic a butterknife will do though the crust may be harder to pry off.) Use a pie server spatula to lift out each slice in one piece.
Tip: This is a fluffly, delicate mousse cake, so it is not the type of cake you would put candles into as the heat will melt the cake.
Bon appetit! This decadent cake is an airy, yet rich cake, and a great break from baking when you don’t want to warm the whole apartment, and so you can take advantage of fresh, naturally sweet, tropical fruits and fresh berries in the summer. It is also palnt based with lots of healthy real ingredients you can feel good about. This undeprived indulgent dessert is something everyone in the group can eat regardless of different food intolerances. Also I fyou don’t mind a shorter cake, you can skip the coconut layer for a budget-friendly family sized cake.
Enjoy this eggless, gluten-free, lactose-free mango cake with raspberries for a wonderful tang to offset this creamy coconut and mango mousse cake.