You may have guessed by my name that I was born in Hawaii. At Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, to be exact. My dad was in the Air Force (he served his 6 years of the required draft and then reentered civilian life). Because I was three years old when we moved back to the East Coast, I have not a single memory of Hawaii. Kind of a bummer, right? I lived in tropical paradise and have no memory of it!!
But my mom loooooved Hawaii and always said she didn't want to leave. We have a photo of her in our Hawaiian back yard standing in front of a banana tree, looking quite early-70's in her bell bottom jeans and long middle-parted straight hair. Groovy. Her younger sister came out to live with us for a few months, as did my dad's younger brother...what fun they must've had! I'm a bit jealous of their memories.
Mangos grow everywhere in Hawaii. While living there a friend gave my mom a recipe for mango bread that is sooooo good. She baked it throughout my childhood and even though I was a picky eater, I always devoured it. I may not have memories of Hawaii but I do have some of eating my mom's lovingly baked mango bread and that may be even better!
Since Mother's Day is coming up I want to talk about my mom for a sec:
I'm happy to say that she's my best friend. We talk most days by phone (she lives in NY, I'm in GA) and discuss all that's happening in our lives and in our big family. I think she's Yippee's biggest fan! You may have seen photos of us at trade shows together. She flies to Savannah to help at my trade shows, and they are some long days. How amazing! She's a wonderful grandma to my girls - incredibly loving, patient and caring. One thing I've always admired about her is her calm spirit. She never yelled when we were kids and thus home was always a place of comfort and love. It was a great way to grow up.
So in her honor, I made these mango cone cakes. They came out much better than I thought they would. Before I settled on this recipe, I tried one which I downloaded one from the internet...it was pretty terrible. Not only did it taste bad but it was complicated with a high number of ingredients. I decided to simplify things and just add ripe mango to my usual batter and for the frosting, try swapping out coconut extract for vanilla (I added orange and yellow food coloring). Guess what? It's perfect!
The recipe is below but I want to give you one tip: make sure the mango is very ripe. It should be mushy, not firm at all. You'll know by squeezing the mango, you want your fingers to make a good dent. If your store only sells mango that is firm, let it sit on your counter for up to a week and it'll ripen and soften. Of course that'll require some planning ahead. FYI, pre-chopped mango is usually not ripe enough for baking.
So tell me about your mom! I'd love to hear about her. If you're lucky enough to spend Mother's Day with her, I wish for you a beautiful day together. If you're celebrating from afar, like me, I'm sure she feels your love. If you've lost your mom, I know many who have, I hope your memories of her bring you joy on this special day. And also, if you're a mom, which I think most of us here are, Happy Mother's Day to you!
Much love to you all.