I find baking to be completely relaxing. I’m not one that finds the pressure and precision of baking terrifying, which is perplexing to me, as it’s not usually in my nature to be precise and I’m quite prone to falling to pieces under the first signs of pressure. But in the kitchen, I find it to be a safe, calming environment to potter about mixing, stirring and pouring without any stress or worry.
In need of some relaxation I decided to bake a cake this weekend and I had several passionfruit sitting in my fruit bowl threatening to go off if I didn’t tend to them. They were given to me by my grandmother, who grows them like weeds along her fence line.
The combination of tropical passionfruit and coconut, along with the warmth and spice from tiny, chopped up pieces of ginger,makes this cake is a real treat. I can’t tell you how well it goes with a cup of tea too.The addition of greek yoghurt results in a tender crumb, don’t ask me how or why but I presume the science behind the acidity found in the yoghurt has something to do with it.
Some house rules here, please ensure your eggs and butter are room temperature, this can at times feel like a tedious step when the mood to bake strikes, but it does make the world of difference in the final bake. I am known to quickly zap the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds but do keep an eye on it to ensure you don’t end up with melted butter. For the eggs, place them in a bowl with some warm water and leave for 10 minutes to help them take the chill of the fridge off them. This step obviously applies to those of us in a warmer climate, not blessed with near fridge cold temperatures in the Northern hemisphere, where we must keep these items in the fridge.
A simple buttercream icing flavoured with passionfruit and vanilla can be used to ice this cake, but please feel free to leave it out and simply cut and serve plain. Coming from the “More is More” camp, I tend to push it just that little bit more and chose to sprinkle over some toasted coconut shreds. Please, do as you see fit or as much as you can be bothered. However you adorn this cake, it will taste divine.
200g unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup caster sugar (I bung a used vanilla pod into mine to infuse the whole jar, but regular will do)
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup self-raising flour
2/3 cup plain flour
3 large passionfruit
1/2 cup natural greek yoghurt (for some reason the light version of this yields a softer cake)
2/3 cup coconut shreds (feel free to use desicated )
1/2 cup chopped “naked ginger” (Crystallised ginger would work just the same)
1 1/2 cup icing sugar mixture (not pure icing sugar or confectioners sugar)
45g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 large passionfruit
Preheat the over to 180°C. Grease a ring cake tin or a loaf pan with butter and dust with flour.
Using an electric mixer, free standing mixer or a wooden spoon and bowl (brave), beat the butter and sugars until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and beat until well combined.
Sift the flours together. Alternating between this and the yoghurt, softly combine the two with the butter mixture. Scoop the pulp of the passionfruit into this mixture along with the ginger and coconut. Gently fold through.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smoothing out the top of the cake. Bake for 45-55 minutes (remember all ovens are different so check after 40). Insert a skewer to ensure it comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack, upturning it from it’s tin. For insurance purposes I tend to run a knife around the edges to ensure it has been loosened before removing. Leave to cool completely before icing.
Meanwhile prepare the icing by beating together the butter, passionfruit pulp and vanilla. Ensure this mixture is fully softened and combined before adding the icing sugar mixture. Beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
If going down the toasted coconut route, toast in a dry frying pan until the majority of the coconut has browned and ensuring it does not burn. Remember that the oils in the shreds with continue to stay warm and brown the coconut further, so always take it off the heat source just before all the strands are toasted.
Once the cake has cooled completely, ice the cake, top with the coconut and sit back with smugness and joy. Boil the kettle while you’re at it.
Enjoy! x Yak