A Special Dessert For Christmas – Tropical Cake Filled with Mango Mousse and Fruit Salad

For me, there is nothing like a homemade dessert to celebrate Christmas. When December comes, I’m always on the lookout for stunning and delicious options to end Christmas Eve dinner, or Christmas Day lunch, on a high note. My dear friend Daniel Punchin, -one of the best pastry chefs I know in Lima-, and his sister Miriam, gave me this recipe a few years ago. It was love at first sight for me because of how professional the cake looked despite being so easy to make. Another plus was that it could be made up to 2 days in advance, as it kept well under refrigeration. This tropical cake filled with mango mousse and fruit salad is a fantastic choice to make for Christmas in places like Peru, as mangoes are in full season, and seasonal is always better. However, I have found that most of the mangoes I’ve bought in the US are from Peru (we have exceptional mangoes in our country!), and so this Christmas I decided to be closer to home by making everything with a Peruvian twist. Try to pick the most beautiful and juicy mangoes you can, but if you’re out of luck, you can use canned mangoes with fantastic results. For the fruit salad, feel free to substitute or use the fruits you like better. Instead of tropical papaya use grapes and apples, or whatever you like. Just be careful not to use raw pineapple or kiwis in the salad, because they won´t help the gelatin set properly. Serve very cold. No sauce is necessary but if you want to add some, custard or berry coulis would go well with this dessert. If you have the biscuit ready, the ladyfingers at hand, the fruit salad in the fridge, and quickly make the mousse, assembling this dessert is very easy and stress-free. Just the kind of dessert I like to make when I have guests over for dinner.

Tropical Christmas Cake
Recipe type: Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
  • Biscuit:
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • Fruit salad:
  • 1 cup cubed papaya
  • 1 cup cubed mango
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ounce Pisco (or Brandy)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Mousse:
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup (minus 1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 2 cups mango juice
  • 1 ounce Pisco (or Brandy)
  • 2 cups lightly whipped cream
  • Assemble:
  • 24 ladyfingers
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup raspberries, strawberries or blackberries
  1. Biscuit:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  3. In the mixer beat the egg yolks with ½ cup sugar until it is very pale and makes a ribbon when the beaters are lifted.
  4. In another bowl beat egg whites with the remaining sugar until firm, and fold into the egg yolks using a spatula.
  5. Finally sift the flour over the egg mixture, fold carefully and spread the batter on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper or with Silpat.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Take off the oven and cool.
  7. Fruit salad:
  8. In a bowl combine all the ingredients. Reserve.
  9. Mousse:
  10. In a small bowl combine gelatin with ¼ cup cold water and let rest for 5 minutes. Heat over very low heat to dissolve the gelatin. Cool to room temperature
  11. In the mixer, beat the egg whites adding the sugar by spoonfuls. Combine with the mango juice, the melted gelatin, and the whipped cream.
  12. Assemble the dessert:
  13. Using a round baking pan or a pastry ring, cut two rounds from the biscuit for the base and the top of the dessert, and place one at the bottom of the pan.
  14. Line the edge of the pan with ladyfingers.
  15. Drain the fruits, and place ½ of them over the biscuit. Cover with ½ of the mousse.
  16. Pour the remaining fruit and top with the remaining mousse.
  17. Finish the dessert with the extra biscuit round. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
  18. To serve, unmold the dessert and garnish with mango slices, kiwi slices, raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries.
  19. To finish, you can wrap the dessert with a golden ribbon.

Photos: Amir Yahia


  1. Wow! This looks so good! Yes, you’re right. I think this may have to go on my Christmas menu. Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Delicioso!! Me he quedado con las ganas de comérmelo ya mismo!

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