I’m sure you’ve heard of passion fruits, but have you ever tasted them? At my local grocery store, they’re sold individually wrapped for about $2 a piece. I treat myself to a few when I feel like making a spectacular dessert, such as my Dairy-Free Passion Fruit and Mango Crème Brûlée or my Milk Chocolate and Passion Fruit Macarons. You see, with passion fruit, a little goes a long, long way.
Passion fruits are smooth-skinned, small, purplish fruits native to South America. They have a spellbindingly sweet aroma that is likely to grip your senses as soon as you cut into one. But the real surprise happens when you taste the fruit’s juicy seeds: they have a surprisingly acidic flavor. I think the combination of the sweet aroma and the acidic taste makes passion fruits so unique: they play with all your senses.
When talking about passion fruit to someone who hasn’t tasted one before, I always say, “If you like citrus fruits, you’ll love passion fruit.” I find that passion fruits can take on a role that’s very similar to lemons or grapefruits: they add bright flavor and help balance out the sweetness in desserts. Passion fruits work especially well with extra-sweet or rich ingredients, such as milk chocolate, heavy cream, or butter.
I recently scored a bunch of deliciously ripe, juicy passion fruits at a produce store for much less than what I usually pay, and that was the perfect opportunity to reinvent a classic cake that had been on my to-make list for a really long time: Lemon Drizzle Cake.
Lemon Drizzle Cake is a classic tea-time cake that’s especially popular in the UK. The cake itself is a sponge soaked in a lemon syrup right as it comes out of the oven. This step gives the cake a super-moist texture and an additional lemony kick. Many recipes top the cake with a sweet, sugary icing, which pushes it further towards dessert territory rather than a tea-time treat. The ultimate Lemon Drizzle Cake should be barely sweet with a distinctive, bright lemon flavor. It’s sunshine in the form of a cake, really!
In this reinvented Passion Fruit and Lemon Drizzle Cake, I substitute strained passion fruit juice for the lemon juice in the syrup and use whole passion fruit seeds in the icing. The passion fruit syrup is a dreamy bonus, but you will enjoy all the passion fruit goodness even if you only use it in the icing. All you need is a couple passion fruits to produce a fabulously memorable cake your guests will remember for a long time.
This Passion Fruit and Lemon Drizzle Cake is fabulous with a hot cup of Earl Gray—but it would be sad to just confine it to tea time! The cake is also a fantastic addition to a brunch line up, served for dessert with an additional dollop of whipped or ice cream, or offered as a gift to anyone who loves baked treats.
Makes 1 loaf cake.
This reinvented version of the classic Lemon Drizzle Cake is infused with the intoxicating aroma and flavor of passion fruits to produce a memorable treat.
20 minPrep Time
35 minCook Time
55 minTotal Time
For the cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl if using a hand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well between each addition. Add the almond and pastry flours as well as the lemon zest and juice. Mix on slow speed just to combine.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup: In a heatproof measuring cup, combine the passion fruit or lemon juice and sugar, and microwave for 1 minute. Stir to make sure the sugar is fully dissolved and set aside.
After taking the cake out of the oven, poke it all over the surface with a toothpick or a skewer. While the cake is still hot or warm, slowly pour the syrup over. Let cool completely on a wire rack (the cake will fully absorb the syrup as it cools.)
For the icing: In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and passion fruit seeds. The icing will look very stiff at first, but as you stir, the seeds will release their juice and soften the icing.
When the cake has cooled to room temperature, unmold and peel the parchment paper off. Set on a serving plate, then pour the icing all over the cake. Top with additional passion fruit seeds, if desired.
The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days, or refrigerated for up to a week. You can also freeze the cake for up to 1 month: pour the icing over the cake, then place in the freezer without covering it. Once the icing is frozen hard, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and put it back into the freezer. Make sure to unwrap the cake before thawing it to avoid the icing sticking to the plastic wrap.
Serve the cake at room temperature as is, or with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
MAKE IT DAIRY FREE
Use a dairy-free buttery margarine instead of butter.
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