Tart, vibrant passion fruit pulp is transformed into luscious, creamy curd and brings this tender to cake to life. Subtle coconut flavors and a slight tang from the cream cheese in the frosting round out the brightness of the passion fruit.
Dreaming of a tropical getaway this summer but stuck in the city? Why not bring some island flavor to you instead! Passion fruit has got to be one of my favorite flavors. Pair it with tender coconut cake and a bit of cream cheese frosting, and I just might forget that we are sans summer vacay this year.
THE PASSIONFRUIT CURD
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup passion fruit pulp (from about 2 to 3 passion fruits)
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- 1 ½ cups full-fat coconut milk or whole milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 ¼ cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon milk, if needed
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 to 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 10 tablespoons (3/4 cup) cream cheese, softened
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
STEP 1: MAKE THE PASSIONFRUIT CURD
- Place the diced butter in a heat-safe bowl and set aside.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a heat-safe bowl or the top portion of a double-boiler.
- Whisk to combine.
- Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer.
- Place the bowl with the passion fruit mixture on top to create a double-boiler.
- Stirring often, gently heat the mixture to about 160 to 170 degrees.
- This may take about 10 to 15 minutes.
- The mixture should thicken as it heats.
- When ready, a line drawn on the back of a spoon should hold.
- Once hot and thick, pour the passion fruit curd mixture over the butter.
- Stir until the butter melts and incorporates.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd and refrigerate until cool and thickened, about 2 hours or overnight.
STEP 2: MIX THE CAKE BATTER
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium until smooth.
- Add the sugar and turn the mixer speed up to medium-high.
- Mix together until fluffy and pale in color.
- With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla, eggs, and egg yolks – one at a time.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- With the mixer on low, add in half of the dry ingredients.
- Once incorporated, stream in the milk until combined.
- Add in the second half of the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
- Mix again on medium for no more than 20 to 30 seconds, or until smooth.
STEP 3: BAKE THE CAKE
- Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 24 to 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
- Allow to completely cool before trimming and/or frosting.
STEP 4: MAKE THE FROSTING
- Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, carefully add in the sugar and vanilla.
- Once incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high and whip.
- Continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes until the frosting is increases in volume and is pale in color. It should be light and fluffy.
- Add in the milk and/or more sugar until the desired consistency and sweetness is reached.
STEP 5: ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
- Once the curd has thickened and cakes have cooled, place the bottom layer of cake on a cake board or serving dish.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip with the frosting (If you don’t have a piping bag, fill a zip-top bag with frosting and snip off the corner).
- Use the frosting to create a “dam” to contain the passion fruit curd and keep it from squishing out between the layers of cake.
- Fill the frosting “dam” with half the passion fruit curd.
- Top the curd with the second layer of cake and repeat.
- Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.
- Once chilled, ice the entire cake in the frosting.