What's In A Cupcake?

Sea Salted Sunshine is all up in our cupcakes, that’s what. I hear there might be mango filling and cardamom frosting in there, too. Oh, AND they’re gluten and dairy-free. Sound too good to be true? I assure you they are very real and dangerously tasty for the discriminating palates of yogis and non-yogis alike.

The cupcake creator is the masterful Bella Doty of Sea Salted Sunshine, a food blog inspired by life on an island. This week she graced The MOJO Show studio with a bit of her time to tell us about the magic behind her masterpieces, mindful cooking and eating, and her inspiration for always putting lifestyle first. 

Listen to the show above, and read on to check out Bella’s piece about her magnificent Mango Cardamom Cupcakes, including step by step instructions for how to make your own. Yes, you can do yoga and have your cupcakes, too.

Without further ado, here’s Bella.

Mango Cupcakes with Cardamom Frosting

It’s mango season in Hawaii again, and I couldn’t be more excited. Is there anything better than free mangoes picked from your friend’s front yard? I’m not sure there is. Well, maybe having a mango tree in my own yard, but that small nugget of a dream still has yet to materialize. Mango trees all across the island are currently working on overtime, each tree producing way more than one family can possibly consume.

Enter yours truly. Why no, I wouldn’t mind unburdening you from your overabundance of delectable mangoes. Thank you and you’re welcome.

I have a very clear memory of trying mango for the first time. It was summertime and I was seventeen years old, living in central California, helping my dad make mango salsa.  After dicing all the juicy fruit, I greedily nibbled and slurped every last bit of bright orange flesh that stubbornly clings to the seed. I had found my new favorite fruit and I wanted to eat them every day for the rest of my life.

However, tragedies of tragedies struck when I promptly discovered that I am (*deep intake of breath*) allergic to mangoes. Nothing anaphylactic, thank goodness, but when I looked in the mirror the next morning, my first thought was that I had been unknowingly abducted in the middle of the night by a deranged plastic surgeon who performed an experimental lip injection on me that went very very wrong. For a whole week my lips were like two puffy marshmallows that itched like crazy. The self conscious high school version of me was actually happy I was grounded so I had a valid excuse not to see any friends.

For a few years after that, I tried experimental ways of eating mango, hoping that I could find a way to avoid the reaction. Mango smoothie sipped through a straw? No dice. Washing my mouth out with soap? No such luck. And not to mention awful. I thought I was doomed to live a life void of one of the most amazing things I had ever tasted.

When I moved to Maui, I learned that this lamentable allergic reaction to mango is not all that uncommon. Mangoes are in the same family as poison sumac, that nasty plant who’s oils can cause an itchy rash on your skin. Luckily though, I was made aware of some allergy-avoiding tricks that actually work. The enzyme that causes the reaction can be rendered almost completely inept when the fruit (once peeled) is soaked in water, frozen, or cooked. Armed with this new-found knowledge, my life was once again complete.

Enter mango cupcakes. Completely cooked and completely delicious.

The idea for these cupcakes came from a very close friend of mine who I met while working at a raw-vegan restaurant. We both worked in the kitchen, and often had the liberty of creating fun new recipes. On one such day, my friend made mango cardamom cupcakes, and not surprisingly, given her refined expertise at creating raw desserts, they were a huge hit. Now, this being a raw food restaurant, the cupcakes were a healthified impersonation of the real thing. That means that they were made from things like almond meal and coconut, the mango was in it’s pure, uncooked form, and the cupcakes never saw the inside of an oven. I desperately wanted to try one, but finally decided against it because, well, I didn’t want marshmallow lips.

So here’s my cooked, gluten-free, dairy-free, and lip-injection-free version. The cupcakes are moist and fluffy, and flavored with just a hint of mango. The frosting is generously speckled with cardamom, giving this dessert an exotic flare. But the best part by far is biting into the ooey gooey mango center. If I can’t have fresh mango, these cupcakes will most definitely suffice.

Mango Cupcakes with Cardamom Frosting

I am, by my own admittance, not an expert baker. The cupcakes, however delicious, turned out a little lumpy on top — a result of me substituting mango puree (to add extra flavor and keep the cupcakes moist) as opposed to using milk or a milk substitute. The texture and taste turned out great, so I didn’t mind the look, especially since the tops got covered by frosting anyway. But I’d be happy to hear from anyone who might have a suggestion on how to correct this.

Also, feel free to experiment with the amount of frosting put on top of the cupcakes. I actually liked a little less than what is pictured, while others liked more. I guess it depends on how much of a sweet tooth you have.

Makes 12 cupcakes

*A Note on Mango Puree:You will need this for both the cupcakes AND the filling: Puree 2 cups of fresh peeled and cubed mango in blender until completely smooth. I was able to get about 2 cups cubed mango from 3 large mangoes.


  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup mango puree* (see note above)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Mango Filling

  • 1 cup mango puree* (see note above)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • Cardamom Frosting
  • 3/4 cup vegan butter (like Earth Balance), refrigerator temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 -to- 3 teaspoons ground cardamom

Cardamom Frosting

  • 3/4 cup vegan butter (like Earth Balance), refrigerator temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 -to- 3 teaspoons ground cardamom

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with 12 liners
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk well the brown rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, baking soda, xanthum gum, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, mango puree, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until well combined.
  5. Scoop the batter into the lined cupcake pan, distributing the batter evenly
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted to the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

For the filling:

  1. Put the mango puree, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water until there are no lumps. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the saucepan, and stir occasionally for one minute over medium-low heat.
  3. Set aside to cool completely.

For the frosting:

  1. In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the vegan butter starting on low and working your way up to high, until butter is light and creamy.
  2. Add the confectioners sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated.
  3. Add non-dairy milk, the vanilla, and 2 teaspoons of cardamom, and beat on high until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  4. Taste, and add another teaspoon of cardamom if desired.


  1. Once cupcakes are completely cool, use the handle end of a small spoon to scoop out the center of each cupcake, taking out enough to fill each cupcake with about a Tablespoons worth of filling.
  2. Using a spoon, carefully drop the mango filling into each hole, gently tapping the cupcakes to make sure the filling goes all the way down.
  3. Frost cupcakes.
  4. Devour immediately. Store leftovers (if that's possible) in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For more gloriously delectable recipes, visit Sea Salted Sunshineand subscribe to receive Bella’s new creations as they happen.

Or follow her on Instagram at @seasaltedsunshine 

This week’s Free Video of the Week will help you make room for those cupcakes with the fiery Sun Salutation B sequence (Surya Namaskar B). Learn and refine this series of poses that work together to expand your breathing while building heat, strength, and flexibility for the whole body. Then, enjoy your cupcakes!

As always, if you like this video, we have an ever-growing library of diverse practices available to you 24/7 as a MOJO Member, so join us today!

The MOJO Show Notes