Put the Passion in Cakes

passion fruit cake featured header

OK.  I’m gonna be hasty here.  Because I’m on vacation… again, and I proudly consider it a virtue to be able to drop all most attachment to work (if I can call this that) on vacation and that’s more than the other person in this house can say…

So, passion fruits.  I’ve been seeing them here and there and everywhere.  It’s a shame that it’s one of the most underutilized fruits in pastry given how much punch and flavors are packed in these unseemly rounds of earthy red.  Its “flesh” is basically a fragrant, floral, tart but extremely flavorful syrup with beautiful black seeds.  They are little specks of flavor and perfect for an upside-down cake, which was exactly what I put them to test for in the last few days before I left.  If you have also been seeing passion fruits in the market, try this recipe.  It’s a great alternative to plums and peaches.

Servings: 2 dome cakes

I tried two different approaches.  One is using the passion fruit syrup as a topping in this upside-down cake, another is mixing the passion fruit syrup into the batter before baking.  But I ended up with leftover syrup.  So I would suggest using it both as a topping AND incorporating it into the batter, for an even stronger passion fruit flavor.


  • 5 passion fruits
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tbsp of tapioca flour, or corn starch
  • 113 g of unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup of buttermilk (or 3/4 cup of milk + 3/4 cup of plain yogurt)
  • 2 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • Powder sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven on 350ºF/175ºC.

Cut open the passion fruits and scoop out the seeds and flesh.  Mix with 1 1/2 tbsp of honey and corn starch.  Set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a big bowl and set aside.  In a stand mixer with medium-high speed, mix the butter, sugar and honey until very pale and fluffy, approx 5 min.  Add the egg and vanilla extract, mix again until the mixture is pale and fluffy again, another 5 min.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the buttermilk.  Then another 1/3 of the flour, then the rest of the buttermilk.  Then ends with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Mix slightly after each addition but do not overmix.  Remove the bowl from the mixer, then use a spatula to fold 1/2 of the passion fruit syrup into the batter.  It doesn’t have to be blended evenly.  Just do it sort of like a “swirl”.

Butter a small, bowl-shaped baking mold and line with 2 strips of parchment paper in criss-cross position (I did this with the second cake and it makes removing the cake much easier).  Add 1/2 of remaining passion fruit syrup in the bottom of the mold, then top it with 1/2 of the batter.  Use a spoon to smooth the top.  Bake it in the oven for 50 min or until an inserted wooden stick comes out clean.

Cool the cake on a baking rack for 10 min before removing, by lifting the parchment paper.  Repeat the same step with the second cake.

This cake domes a little, so you could cut a thin slice off the bottom for better presentation.




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