Occasionally I break out some telepathic kung fu karate chop skillz.  At the most inappropriate times, of course.

Like…when I’m in the kitchen and I go to flip a cake out of its pan onto a plate.  And it cracks into no fewer than five pieces, half of it inevitably remaining attached to the pan even though gravity would have it otherwise.

And while, to the unassuming eye, it might look like I merely didn’t grease my pan properly.  (Who, ME?!?!? Never.)  I think we all know that the secret ninja that lives inside my left bicep mistook that cake for a block of wood.  And, through her finely tuned mental prowess, chopped it into oblivion without me even having to move a muscle!  Really, we’re just lucky she doesn’t have a vendetta against my carotids.  Let’s keep it that way.


I think what I’m really trying to say is that kitchen disasters happen in my life all too frequently.  I drop things.  I don’t read directions.  I cross the street without looking both ways.

I forget to dilute the 10X buffer that I’ve dissolved my DNA in.  Oh wait, sorry.  That’s a lab disaster.  Also, an all-too frequent occurrence.   (Really, bicep ninja!? Can’t you just let a girl be?)


Sometimes there’s no real explanation for a why a recipe flops, however. Or why half of it decided to stick to your pan while the other half didn’t.

And the only thing you can do is try it again.  Once more, with feeling.

The broken cake that I keep referring to is one that I made for my ex-roommate (but still friend!) Sophie’s birthday last year.  I somehow salvaged it by turning all three layers into cake pops.  (Okay, cake rubix cubes if we’re being specific.)  But I thought it deserved a do-over nonetheless.  So here we are.


Part of growing as a chef is learning your limitations – where you tend to falter and where you more often than not excel.

I bake cupcakes better than I bake cakes. It’s just a fact.  Cupcakes are cuter, easier to decorate, are less susceptible to bicep ninja attacks, and you can eat three in a row without feeling even a speckle of guilt.  You can’t say the same thing about cakes.

So rather than try to redo the triple layer cake as it was originally intended (and try to force myself to be something I’m not), I thought I would work with my skill set.  Make cupcakes instead.  And judging by the looks on my coworkers faces as they bit into these babies…I made the right decision.  The cupcakes themselves are light, fluffy and very vanilla, while the mango curd is just tart enough to offset their sweetness and a tad bit spicy from the hint of ginger.  They really do make for the perfect midday or after-dinner snack.  Just don’t invite your bicep ninja to the festivities.  There’s no telling what havoc she might wreak.

This post was sponsored by Frigidaire. When you share your own do-over moment at, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children’s U.S. programs. Plus, Frigidaire will help cover the costs for one lucky visitor to win the ultimate do-over.


Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes
Makes 16-24 (I got 18), adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Line muffin cups with liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.)
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium-high speed, about 3 minutes.  Add in the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Add in the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk.  Mix until combined and the batter is smooth.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners with the batter about halfway or just barely over halfway.
  6. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.  Allow to cool completely before frosting/curd-ing.

Mango Ginger Curd
Makes about 3-4 cups, an Eats Well With Others Original


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 tbsp corn starch
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp dried ginger
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups worth pureed mango flesh
  • 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 cups boiling water


  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, flour, and ginger.   Gradually blend in cold water, mango puree, and lime juice.
  2. Add the egg yolks and butter, blending until smooth.
  3. Gradually add in the boiling water, stirring constantly.
  4. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring gently with a spatula and scraping the bottom to prevent burning. Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat and simmer for one minute.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool completely (I usually refrigerate it overnight.)
  6. Fill cupcakes with curd either by cutting them in half and piping some in the middle or by plunging a piping bag fitted with a star or 1M tip into the center of the cupcakes and piping it inside them.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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90 Responses to Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes with Mango Ginger Curd Filling

  1. Simply Life says:

    looks like you had an excellent Plan B with this- I would prefer the cupcakes!

  2. The mango-ginger curd sounds so yummy!! What a great summer treat!

  3. I love the pretty orange color of these!! And I love that the mango ginger curd filling is an EWWO original. It sounds deeelicious!! Can you come to Boston and be my coworker? 🙂

  4. Sometimes I find certain recipes are just a challenge to make… and once we’ve conquered them, it is the most glorious feeling. I love how you worked it to your advantage with cupcakes! So cute, Joanne! 🙂

    Have you ever tried making macarons? Oh my gosh, so stressful!!! Did it twice, then stopped… no use tempting fate after they turned out reasonably. 😉

  5. Mango curd…. genius!! I bet these cupcakes taste bright and tropical!

  6. I love the idea of mango and ginger together — this sounds amazing 🙂

  7. london bakes says:

    Lovely flavour combination and so cute as cupcakes. I have similar luck (or lack of it) with cakes…

  8. What a perfect summer cupcake! Great do-over! Who needs a whole cake when you can eat a few cupcakes instead:-)

  9. Kitchen disasters always make me sad, but when that stupid recipe that keeps messing up turns our right – it’s party time!! I’m about to make a birthday cake now…fingers crossed it turns out!!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    That curd… yum. You don’t see mango enough in cupcakes, or any dessert

  11. Nina says:

    I love the Mango Ginger curd. Lovely combination. Great looking cupcakes:)

  12. Danielle says:

    Way to present a rockstar recipe and be honest about your limitations at the same time!

  13. brandi says:

    i just tried mango, for the first time, like a month ago. and now i’m obsessed. these look so good!

  14. Rachana says:

    Such a delightful summer treat! Looks fantastic!

  15. Hehe, I love it! You’re totally a kitchen ninja who doesn’t know her own strength 🙂 Disasters have to happen so you don’t make the same mistake twice, right? These look awesome!!!

  16. Johanna GGG says:

    The real joy of cupcakes is that you get so many goes at getting it right – and to eat the bad ones without anyone even realising – these look fantastic (and I am sure there are no mistakes that you had to hoover up)

  17. These are gorgeous! I want a lick of that frosting on top 🙂

  18. I’m sorry did you say something? Write something?
    I cannot take my eyes off that filling nor the frosting

  19. I hate having kitchen mishaps, especially when it is something your loking so forward to having. That happens to much for me!!

    You made a good choice with the cupcakes, I like making cupcakes better than cake and your right about less guilt! 🙂

    Your recipe as always, looks amazing!!!

  20. Amy says:

    These could be warped. They could be fluorescent green. You could drop drop these cupcakes on your kitchen floor…and I would still eat my way around them.

  21. Nicole, RD says:

    Plus, cupcakes are just way cooler. And cute, like you said. 🙂 These look awesome!

    P.S. Sad we didn’t get to meet up in Seattle!! :(:(:(

  22. Great cause, thanks for the link to the Frigidaire fundraiser. Now I am pondering which of the hundreds and hundreds of my sessions deserve a do over.

    And delicious looking cupcakes!

  23. Shannon says:

    love a good mango curd filling for cupcakes! way to embrace your strengths 🙂

  24. Ranjani says:

    Mango and ginger is a great combination (although I tend to think that anything and ginger is a great combination). You’ve got the luckiest labmates in the world =)

  25. I never say yes to cupcakes, but these look ridiculously good! The hell with Magnolia Bakery….why is there a line to get in there all the time?

  26. Saguna says:

    Your bicep ninja sounds all too familiar 🙂 I’ve experienced many an attack as well…flipping pancakes a bit TOO high (and enthusiastically), grabbing hot-from-the-oven handles and getting burnt… list goes on! I love that this is for a Save the Children thing- A friend worked for the charity and they do awesome projects.

    PS. Mango AND ginger curd cupcakes= you are my hero. You and your bicep ninja both.

  27. Danielle says:

    That curd sounds great – I love the mango ginger combo.

  28. Cathleen says:

    Oh my gosh. Mangoes = my favorite thing ever. This looks so good, I can’t even handle it!
    I love how you salvaged your cake. I do quite enjoy cupcakes, I made my first cupcakes EVER yesterday, and they were great!

  29. Jenna says:

    Yum–mango curd! Heck yeah! And cupcakes are so much easier to enjoy than cake–they’re small and look so innocent.

  30. Pam says:

    I make cupcakes better than cakes too. These little beauties have me drooling!

  31. Megan says:

    I must make that curd. it sounds absolutely incredible! Mango, ginger, I’m in!

  32. Lynn says:

    What a great save! So decadent looking – I’m sure I’d love these.

  33. I’m sorry, but I can’t remember a thing that you just said. The words MANGO GINGER CURD have overtaken my brain. They’re mesmerizing. I must have some.

  34. Mary says:

    Be still my heart. These sound fabulous and I can image the yin and yang of tart and sweet playing on my tongue. Cupcakes forever!!! Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings…Mary

  35. Erica says:

    I love mangoes! The mango-ginger combo sounds amazing!

  36. What a perfect combo! I’m such a ginger nut, that I have no doubt that these cupcakes would make me a very happy man! Looks great!

  37. So glad you made cupcakes man! And that curd sounds to die for!! I need to make an emergency grocery run so I can make this tonight!

  38. Mango cupcakes! Yummmmm. I absolutely love mangoesm and miss the mangoes from back home in the Philippines, but I still eat any kind of mangoe – and any dessert with mango – that I can find anywhere!

  39. marie says:

    You make the most mouth watering food. Or take the best pictures. Or both!!! These are definitely something I want to make soon, so summery and pretty and delicious I am sure.

  40. those look amazing! i love the flavor combination! and they’re so gorgeous too! thanks for sharing!

  41. Blond Duck says:

    I can’t make cakes. I do cupcakes from the box. There, I said it.

  42. kankana says:

    Mango and ginger is such a great combo! And perfect for the season.

  43. grace says:

    i don’t eat enough mango. this is a really great filling, frosting, and cupcake combination. well done, joanne!

  44. Glad it worked out the second time! What do you think of this cake recipe? I love Mel’s recipes but this one didn’t really call to me. Is it a fabulous vanilla cake? Tender moist and sweet? Those are my requirements. 🙂 Love the mango ginger curd you put on them-yum!

  45. Eileen says:

    Mango ginger curd, you say? We aren’t super big on cake in our house–but I can definitely see myself eating my way through a recipe of mango ginger curd on biscuits, scones, or just plain toast. OM NOM.

  46. Suzi says:

    Mango and ginger it’s a hit for me. Plus the lemon curd in the middle and on top. Perfect. Mango is a huge favorite of mine

  47. I need this mango curd in my life right now. That is all.

    (great recipe and gorgeous photos – love that swirl of curd just begging me to EAT IT)

  48. Foodycat says:

    Fabulous combination of flavours! They look so good.

  49. Beth says:

    I love, love, love the sound of this recipe! Mango and ginger together? Swoon.

  50. This is a mango loving dream my friend, how stunningly gorgeous and delicious 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  51. Hotly Spiced says:

    I have kitchen disasters too and I blame it on the interruptions and distractions that happen when concentrating and perfect timing are vital. Never mind. You have turned a disaster into something wonderful and these cupcakes are gorgeous and a very pretty colour xx

  52. Katie says:

    Good for you with the cupcakes. I don’t have the patience for them, I think. Frosting each individual one and trying to make it cute doesn’t appeal to me. But that mango ginger curd definitely does! Yum!

  53. OohLookBel says:

    Love the tropical flavour combo, and excellent piping skills, too!

  54. Reeni says:

    I love do overs that involve desserts! The mango curd sounds absolutely delectable! Do your coworkers know how lucky they are?! Sigh.

  55. Cupcakes are much more friendly than cakes. 🙂 These were definitely worth a second chance- love the mango!

  56. Debbie says:

    I can’t stand kitchen disasters. I have them more frequently than I care to think of! These cupcakes look so good Joanne. Absolutely cute and delicious!

  57. I couldn’t ever choose a do-over because I’d find fault with everything I’ve ever made. 🙂

    These cupcakes look fantastic!

  58. OMG! Why haven’t I thought of making a cupcake like this before!! I LOVE MANGO!!! I might die from all of this deliciou-ness!

  59. Kari says:

    These are cupcakes in grown up form! They look incredible, and you’ve decorated them beautifully.

  60. That curd sounds amazing! And we all have had cake disasters, I’m sure 🙂

  61. The mango ginger curd sounds fantastic! I am thinking to use it to sandwich some snickerdoodle 😉

  62. Dining Alone says:

    I have had my share of disasters too, but it is part of learning as you said!

  63. Kristen says:

    Just pass me a spoon and a bowl of that mango curd. I’d be a happy camper with just that. However, the do-over is fabulous. It’s nice to conquer those pesky recipes that give us trouble.

  64. Great do-over! The mango curd sounds amazing with this.

  65. Christine says:

    Oh my, I may just have to make these puppies even though temps are moving to the 90’s and I really don’t want to turn the oven on. Flavor sounds incredible!!!

    • Claudia says:

      Such a creative way to turn a disaster into perfection. French chefs invented Petits Fours to cover such cake mistakes, and Trifle does it for the English, which trick I resorted to recently.

  66. Carolyn Jung says:

    How beautiful these are with their sunshine-y swirl on top. If they were in my house, I’d demolish three on the spot. 😉

  67. Lori says:

    Sometimes it’s better to stick with old skills rather than try to develop new ones, and I couldn’t agree more when it comes to cake! I often think – I’ll make a cake – then the reality of what it all actually look like hits me and it’s cupcakes all the way! Great save on the cake pops by the way. The sound round is amazing! I must try this curd. Yum!

  68. That Girl says:

    Your ninja skills are enviable.

  69. Miriam says:

    Ninja moves always lead people is really cool directions (that’s my fortune cookie thought for the day 🙂
    Cute cupcakes!! And you’re right, I could totally eat 3 with no guilt.
    Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  70. I love these . The flavour and the look. Sometime4s things just do not want to go how you want them in the kitchen. Still you wouldn’t know you had a moments s=tress. i like that frigerdaire is giving money to a good cause

  71. Love your ninja skills, I think I might have one too and she comes out whenever I don’t want her to! Regardless, your cupcakes look fantastic, so cute and delicious looking. I love mangoes, mango flavoured anything is delicious to me!

  72. Your cupcakes are so PRETTY!!! I can’t keep my eyes away from them. I love your mango ginger curd as filling. Such a great combination!

  73. Mary says:

    Oh my GOSH, mango ginger curd sounds amazing! Nice call on the cupcakes. Love your do-over.

  74. Kalyan says:

    looks so easy to prepare and delicious…mouthwatering!

  75. I’m so happy that you did a do-over because your cupcakes look terrific and must taste the same.

  76. Elizabeth says:

    Mango Ginger curd sounds delicious! And these cupcakes are so pretty, by the way.

  77. Your cupcakes look amazing! Great flavor you came up with for the curd.

  78. Oh my gosh, mango curd?! Why haven’t I tried that before, it looks amazing! I’m also impressed that you were persistent enough to go back and try this recipe again .. I get so frustrated when a recipe goes wrong that I never want to see it again!

  79. Kerstin says:

    Yum, that curd sounds amazing – I think I would spread it on everything!

    I’ve been dropping more things than usual in lab lately. I really think being pregnant has made me uncoordinated!

  80. JoJo says:

    Wow, this looks amazing! <--I know a lot of people have already said that, but it does!!
    I love curd, and I LOVE mango!! I’m almost too scared to make something like this since I’ll probably end up eating 20 of them, no problem 😛

  81. Cupcakes just taste better too. 😉 These are so cute and I am loving the mango-ginger curd. Yum! 😉

  82. Good grief those cupcakes look wonderful. I’ve got to make that mango curd.

  83. These are so cute, and mango ginger curd sounds absolutely amazing. I’d love to just dive into a big bowl of it!

  84. Katerina says:

    Disasters happen I believe to all of us very often. This is part of the learning procedure! Mistakes teach you better than right doings. You remember them better! These little sweet toasts are so cute and I suspect very tasty!

  85. vianney says:

    great do over!! we love mangos and my girls love cupcakes, great pics!!

  86. Victoria says:

    Holy yummy!! These look really fantastic! You know I’ve been making crazy amounts of cupcakes lately too and these are totally drool-worthy 🙂

  87. Wonderful! I could go for one right now.
    Many a broken cake has become trifle in my home. Whipped cream soothes all wounds.

  88. Lora says:

    I love vanilla buttermilk cupcakes. My mom’s favorite too. That mango ginger curd topping looks like too much heaven.

  89. Vera Zecevic says:

    These cupcakes are absolutely amazing! I’m delighted with them! I’ve featured this recipes on my blog! I hope you don’t mind! If you don’t agree with that please contact me and I will remove it. All the best.

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