Passion Fruit & Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Can you believe that Easter is just a little over a week away? Where is the time going? Today’s cake would be perfect for your Easter dessert. Coconut is a great Spring flavor and passion fruit is a flavor that’s not too common but pairs well with coconut. If passion fruit isn’t your thing you could try a key lime curd instead. Coconut and lime pairs together deliciously.


To begin, I made the passion fruit curd. I wanted to make sure that it would thicken enough so I made it two days before assembling the cake. I have never seen passion fruit at any of the supermarkets I go to, so I opted to buy frozen passion fruit pulp  and let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. If you are thinking of using passion fruit juice, I would just advise on using one that is 100% passion fruit juice, not a blend of other fruits. I began by combining egg yolks, passion fruit juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stirred it until the sugar dissolved and the mixture was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Since it can sometimes be a little difficult to determine this with the spoon I am stirring with I normally take a small spoon and run the back of it in the mixture to make sure it is thick enough. Once it was, I removed the saucepan from the heat and added in unsalted butter that I cut into chunks, stirring between each addition to make sure the butter was completely melted. I then strained the curd through a fine mesh sieve two times before placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of it and refrigerating it until I was ready to use. A quick tip, the second time I strained the curd I did so into the container I was planning on refrigerating the curd in.


Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take pictures while making the cake layers. I intended to take pictures of them once they were cooled and I was ready to use them, but I was running short on time. The weekend I made this week I decided was also a good weekend to finally paint my hallway. I had been intending to do it ever since I finished my living room remodel, but the paint cans just sat on the floor with me walking by them everyday and the task on my to-do list every week. Well, the paint cans just started to annoy me, and I didn’t have anything to do so I went ahead and started to paint. Initially I was going to prime beforehand, but I had a lot less primer than I thought and since the paint I was using was paint and primer combined I decided to just use that. Well, I ended up needing a another can of paint. And painting the second coat took a lot longer than I was anticipating so my cake suffered. I shouldn’t say suffered, but it didn’t get the full attention that I was planning on giving it! But back to the cake… I used a recipe that I have used in the past for coconut cupcakes and just baked the batter in two 8-inch cake rounds.

After making a batch of cream cheese frosting it was time to assemble the cake. I sliced the small dome that each of the cakes had to flatten them and then piped a cream cheese border around one of the cakes to create a dam for the curd. I then filled the cake with the curd and placed the other round on top. I crumb coated the cake and after refrigerating for about 20 minutes I finished frosting the cake. I love cream cheese frosting, but I always find that it’s not the easiest to work with when it comes to piping. The cream cheese really makes the frosting soft, so I popped it in the refrigerator for a few minutes before filling a piping bag fitted with a large tip to pipe the rope border around the cake. It didn’t come out as neat as I liked but it was all good. I then sprinkled the top and sides of the cake with coconut and it was good to go. Note to self, don’t ever plan on painting and making a cake on the same day!


So, the flavors of the cake – passion fruit, coconut, and cream cheese frosting – worked well together. If you want to up the coconut flavor in the cake, you can substitute coconut milk for the buttermilk. For this recipe you could use a cup of coconut milk with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to get the same consistency as the buttermilk. And you could swap out the almond extract and use coconut extract instead. One more suggestion, I would slice this cake while it’s on the colder side. Once it gets too warm the passion fruit curd makes it difficult to get clean slices of the cake. You could always slice while the cake it’s cold and then let the slices come to room temperature before enjoying.

Passion Fruit & Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


For the Passion Fruit Curd:

1/2 cup passion fruit juice*

7 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

For the Coconut Cake:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract**

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk***

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus more for decorating cake

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 8oz. blocks cream cheese, at room temperature

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

*I used frozen passion fruit pulp that I refrigerated overnight to defrost

**If you are not a fan of almond flavor you can reduce the amount or substitute with coconut extract

***To make my own buttermilk I combine 1 cup whole milk with 5 teaspoons of vinegar in a measuring cup and let it sit for 15 minutes until it thickens. You could also use a cup of unsweetened coconut milk with a tablespoon of vinegar.


For the curd (make a day or two in advance to assembling the cake): In a medium saucepan combine the passion fruit juice, egg yolks and sugar. Over medium heat stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and add it the pinch of salt and the chunks of butter, one at a time. Stirring between addition to ensure the butter has melted before adding an addition piece. Strain through a fine mesh sieve 2 times. Place in a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray, or grease and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (you could also use a hand mixer) using the paddle attachment cream together the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as necessary. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In three parts, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, alternating between each. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the shredded coconut and divide the batter between the two prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer (you could use a hand mixer) using the paddle attachment cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract on medium speed. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

To assemble the cake: If necessary, torte the cakes. Transfer some of the frosting to a piping bag with the end snipped off and pipe around the perimeter of the cake to create a dam. Fill the cake with the passion fruit curd and top with the other cake. Frost the cake with a crumb coat and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Use remaining frosting to finish frosting the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Passion Fruit Curd Recipe from Garlic and Zest

Coconut Cake Recipe from Food Network

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