This vanilla passionfruit cake is fluffy and moist, filled with a passion fruit cake filling. It’s perfect for a birthday or any celebration! If you love this passion fruit cake, try my Lemon and Blackberry Cake, my Chocolate Orange Cake, or my Vegan Olive Oil Cake with Lemon and Pistachio.
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Passionfruit Cake Recipe
I'm so excited to share this recipe! Ever since I made my passionfruit tart last year, I've been obsessed with passionfruit curd. And this vanilla passionfruit cake is a love letter to my new favorite ingredient! It's a simple vanilla cake recipe, layered with a sweet-tart homemade passionfruit curd and draped in a velvety white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream. It's definitely a celebration cake, and would be great as a passion fruit birthday cake, but you'll want to make it all the time! The tartness of the passionfruit curd balances so well with the rich vanilla cake and that white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream! You've gotta make this cake!
What can I do with fresh passionfruit?
Passionfruit curd is one of my favorite ways to add the bright, tart flavor of passionfruit to your baking. If you haven't worked with passionfruit before, it's a great place to start. It's made in much the same way as lemon curd, with eggs, sugar, and butter. And it's great as a topping for pastries and breakfast treats, in ice cream or cheesecake, or here as a filling for this fluffy and moist passionfruit cake!
Fresh passionfruit is delicious on its own -- it's got a distinctly tart flavor that is truly incredible! It's made up of a thick rind that surrounds a pulp filled with juice and edible seeds. It can be enjoyed with a spoon, with a sprinkle of sweetener to cut the tartness, or strained for use in smoothies or other recipe. For this recipe we're using frozen passionfruit pulp, since passionfruit can be difficult to find fresh -- but if you do find fresh passionfruit, even better! The recipe below includes instructions for both.
Passion Fruit Cake Ingredients
At least a few hours in advance, or a day or two ahead of time, you'll make your passionfruit curd for this cake. Here's what you'll need for that:
- passionfruit pulp - I found passionfruit pulp from the frozen section of a few supermarkets near me, including Target. If you're having a hard time finding passionfruit pulp in stores, I've also seen it on Amazon! You can also look for passionfruit juice or nectar -- just make sure that it doesn't contain any added ingredients like sweeteners or flavorings.
- granulated sugar - sweetens the curd and balances out the tart flavor of the passionfruit.
- eggs and egg yolks - we'll use both whole eggs and egg yolks for this recipe, to give us a nice rich texture without thickening the curd up too much. Your eggs should be room temperature, but it's much easier to separate eggs when they're cold, so I would recommend separating them first and then letting them sit out to get to room temperature. Save the whites for our Swiss meringue buttercream later!
- lemon juice - I love the added brightness of a little lemon juice in this passionfruit curd!
- salt - brings out these great flavors and balances the sweetness a bit.
- vanilla - for the best flavor, be sure to use a high-quality pure vanilla extract. Or better yet, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients!
- unsalted butter - I often use salted butter, but to manage the amount of salt more carefully in this passionfruit curd, we'll use unsalted. You'll also need unsalted butter for the Swiss meringue buttercream.
Then for the cake layers, you'll need:
- cake flour - you can purchase cake flour, or in a pinch, make your own cake flour substitute. I explain how to make it down below!
- baking soda and baking powder - to give our vanilla cake layers a nice lift.
- salted butter - I use salted butter in most of my baking. But if you would rather use unsalted (especially since we're using unsalted butter elsewhere in this recipe) just add in ¼ teaspoon salt with your dry ingredients.
- granulated sugar - adds just the sweetness we need for the layers for this passion fruit cake!
- eggs - make sure your eggs are room temperature. See below for a tip to save time!
- vanilla - again, I always use my homemade vanilla, but if you use storebought just make sure it's good quality since vanilla is the main flavor in these cake layers.
- vegetable oil - the key to keeping your cake nice and moist! You can use any neutral oil that is liquid at room temperature. I like canola oil for this recipe.
- buttermilk - the buttermilk adds great flavor and moisture to the layers of this passionfruit cake. I like to use full-fat buttermilk if you can find it, but low-fat works too. If you don't have buttermilk, see the tips below for a substitute!
Finally, we're making a creamy white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream! Here's what you'll need for that!
- egg whites - some of them can be the reserved whites from the passionfruit curd. You'll need 6 whites in total, and they should be room temperature.
- granulated sugar - we're dissolving the sugar into the egg whites to create a Swiss meringue. It's easier than it sounds, trust me!
- unsalted butter - be sure to use unsalted butter here -- we're adding a LOT of butter to create this Swiss meringue buttercream, and salted butter will overpower the sugar and make it taste mostly like butter.
- white chocolate - grab a good-quality white baking chocolate. I like Ghirardelli White Baking Bars.
- vanilla extract
There are several important tools you'll need for success with this passionfruit curd cake. First, for the passionfruit curd you'll need a saucepan and a fine-mesh strainer to strain out any egg solids. Then, for your cake layers I recommend using a stand mixer if you have one. If not, a hand mixer will work too. You'll also need three 8-inch cake pans with liners or parchment paper. Finally, our white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream! Again, a stand mixer is best because we'll be beating the meringue for up to 15 minutes or so. I'd also recommend an offset spatula, a bench scraper and a piping bag to assemble and decorate your passionfruit cake.
Tips and F.A.Q.
You can make a cake flour substitute for this passionfruit cake using all-purpose flour and cornstarch! Just sift together 1⅔ cups (218g) of all-purpose flour and ¼ cup (32g) of cornstarch. Then add it in with your dry ingredients as usual!
It’s important to use room temperature eggs in most baking so that the cold egg doesn’t affect the rise or even baking of your result. If you didn’t have a chance to leave your eggs out to get to room temperature, try this tip. Just submerge the eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. That will allow them to get to room temperature more quickly and ensure a great result for this passionfruit cake!
If you don’t have buttermilk, feel free to use whole milk, replacing a tablespoon of the milk with vinegar. This will create the acidic effect of buttermilk to help your the layers for your vanilla passionfruit cake come out even more moist and tender.
This recipe will produce enough to frost an 8-inch cake the size of this passionfruit cake, with relatively short layers. If you plan to add more decoration to the top of the cake or around the borders, I'd multiply the Swiss buttercream amounts by 1 ½ to give yourself a little extra.
You can make all components of this passionfruit cake ahead of time! The curd can be made 1-2 days in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container. I've also had success with freezing passionfruit curd for up to a month and thawing it in the fridge. The cake layers can be made and stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to two days. They can also be frozen for up to 2 months, wrapped well in plastic wrap and heavy duty foil.
The white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream can be made a day or two in advance as well. Just store it, covered, in the fridge, and on the day you'll be using it, allow it to sit out for a few hours to come to room temperature. Then use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat the buttercream to bring it back to that silky smooth texture. And it's ready to use on your passionfruit cake!
More Cake Recipes You'll Love
- Lemon and Blackberry Cake
- Chocolate Orange Cake
- Butter Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Rosemary Olive Oil Cake with Orange Zest
Equipment you may need
- 8-inch silicone baking liners
- pastry bag and tips
- ½ cup (61 g) passionfruit pulp - frozen or shelf-stable storebought pulp, or purée from 4 fresh passionfruit
- ⅔ cup (133 g) granulated sugar
- 3 large egg yolks - beaten, at room temperature (see note)
- 2 large eggs - beaten, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 5 tablespoon (70 g) unsalted butter - cold, cubed
- ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon (2 g) salt
Vanilla Cake Layers
- baking spray
- 2 cup (250 g) cake flour
- ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon (6 g) baking powder
- 1 ¼ cup (250 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (114 g) salted butter - room temperature (1 stick)
- 3 large eggs - room temperature
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (55 g) vegetable oil
- ¾ cup (180 g) buttermilk - room temperature
White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 6 egg whites
- 1 ⅓ cup (267 g) granulated sugar
- 1½ cup (341 g) unsalted butter - slightly softened but still cool
- 6 oz (170 g) white chocolate - chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt
Prepare Passionfruit Curd
- Heat passionfruit pulp and sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.½ cup passionfruit pulp, ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- In a separate bowl, beat eggs and egg yolks until smooth.3 large egg yolks, 2 large eggs
- Remove some of passionfruit mixture from pan and pour into the eggs, a tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.
- Gradually add egg mixture to saucepan, whisking constantly. Turn heat to low.
- Add butter to saucepan, one cube at a time.5 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until thickened, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as well. Curd should take about 10-12 minutes to thicken, and it's ready when it coats the back of a spoon. Whisk in lemon juice, vanilla, and salt.1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Remove from heat and cool. Chill in refrigerator, covered, for at least one hour or overnight.
Prepare Vanilla Cake Layers
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray three 8-inch cake pans with baking spray and line with parchment paper or silicone liners.baking spray
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.1 ¼ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup salted butter
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.3 large eggs
- Beat in vanilla and vegetable oil, followed by buttermilk.1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, ¼ cup vegetable oil, ¾ cup buttermilk
- In a separate bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and baking soda.2 cup cake flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Gradually fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
- Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick entered into the center of a layer comes out clean.
- Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- In a large, heatproof bowl (such as the bowl of your stand mixer), whisk together egg whites and sugar.6 egg whites, 1 ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- Place bowl over another pot containing 2 inches of simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not be able to touch the water.
- Cook egg white mixture, whisking constantly, until egg white mixture reaches 160°F, or until you are unable to feel any sugar granules when touching the mixture between your fingers.
- Transfer mixture to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is glossy and comes to stiff peaks. If the bowl is still warm, place mixture in the fridge for a few minutes to cool to room temperature before adding butter.
- Place chopped white chocolate a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat in 15-second intervals, stirring well in between, until white chocolate is melted. Let cool to room temperature.6 oz white chocolate
- Switch stand mixer to the paddle attachment. Add butter (lightly colder than room temperature)) one cube at a time, mixing continuously on medium speed, followed by cooled white chocolate, vanilla extract, and salt.1½ cup unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Continue mixing on low speed until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes.
Assemble Passionfruit Cake
- Place first layer of cake on a cake stand or turntable. Spread a layer of buttercream evenly on top.
- Use a piping bag to pipe around the top of the cake layer to provide a barrier for the passionfruit curd.
- Spoon about ⅓ cup of chilled passionfruit curd into the well created by the piped buttercream. Spread evenly.
- Repeat with second cake layer.
- Add top layer of cake and frost top and sides of cake as desired.
The white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream can be made a day or two in advance as well. Just store it, covered, in the fridge, and on the day you'll be using it, allow it to sit out for a few hours to come to room temperature. Then use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat the buttercream to bring it back to that silky smooth texture. And it's ready to use! Leftover Passionfruit Curd: You should have a good amount of passionfruit curd left over after making this passionfruit cake! Save it for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge, and use it for other baked goods, on top of toast or biscuits, or for a Passionfruit Dutch Baby, one of the recipes in my Sweet Summertime cookbook!
PIN this white chocolate and passionfruit cake recipe for later!
Last Updated on June 24, 2022 by Chenée Lewis
Thanks for this recipe. When you make the curd do you usually measure out the passion fruit pulp with a measuring cup or do you weigh it? I measured out 1/2 cup of pulp and then weighed it afterwards but it didn’t come out to 61 grams. I just want to make sure I’m putting in the right amount of pulp.
I usually measure it with a measuring cup -- hope that helps!
I’d love to make this cake, but with 2 tiers instead of 1 - how could I go about doing that? Thanks!
I haven't tried making a two-tiered cake before sorry! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
I'd love to make this for Christmas, and was hoping you could answer a question for me. As you know, passion fruit pulp has crunchy seeds in it. If using fresh pulp, I'm assuming you have to remove the seeds to make the curd? Thanks so much!
Hi! Actually it's up to you! The seeds add a nice crunch and a bit more tartness to the passionfruit pulp, so you can definitely leave them in if you like. You can also loosen the seeds with a quick pulse in a blender and then strain them out.
Thanks so much!!! I'll let you know how it goes. 🙂
Hi, I'm from the UK and the shops don't sell cake flour or all purpose flour, what flour would you substitute for the cake we have self raising flour cornstarch and plain flour etc, we also don't have passion fruit pulp, so will fresh passionfruits work and strain them, also is ant kind of buttermilk any good, really wanting to bake this cake for my mother in laws birthday just don't want to mess it up as its very expensive for the ingredients over here
Hi, you can use plain flour and corn flour to make the cake flour substitute that I mention above in the FAQ section. Enjoy! 🙂
i decided to make this cake for my sister’s bday with the fresh passion fruit that grew in the garden! I was really excited to try the cake. Started with making the curd, turned out beautifully; then started making the meringue butter cream, was a nightmare! The meringue didn’t create any stiff peaks even after beating for 30 minutes, gave up and added the rest of the ingredients to only have a flat goop 🙁
Extremely disheartened because the frosting takes a lot of ingredients. Do you think there’s anything i can do to make the frosting stiffer?
So sorry to hear this! One reason the egg whites might not have stiffened correctly is if you have any soap or oil residue in your mixing bowl it can prevent them reaching stiff peaks. So you could try wiping the bowl down and beaters with vinegar to make sure they're completely clean. You can also try to salvage the runny buttercream by popping it in the fridge to solidify about 10-20 minutes and then whipping it up again. I hope this helps and that you can give it another try! 🙂
thanks! i don’t know what happened this time but i’ll make sure to be more specific next time. Ended up using the same frosting and despite it not being stiff enough, the cake came out really well!! such an interesting flavor combination, everyone at home was impressed! thank you 🙂
I'm glad you were able to make it work! 🙂 Thanks again!
Do you have a conversion button for grams so the ingredients can be weighed? I really wanted to try this recipe, but I don’t use cups anymore now that most cake recipes suggest using a scale
Hi! Yes thanks for checking on that! I installed a conversion tool but haven't gotten around to updated all the recipes yet. I just did the conversion for this recipe, though, so it should have the metric measurements now. 🙂
Awesome, and thank you! Looks like I’m making a cake today. I saw my local store had fresh passion fruits.
Wonderful! I hope you enjoy!
I’ve never made a passion fruit cake before this recipe and this didn’t disappoint!! Everyone absolutely loved this and are begging for this cake again! My daughter and I made it for her birthday, so fun and great bonding time!
I'm so glad you and your daughter got to have that bonding time making it!
Passionfruit is my favourite fruit, but I have never had it in a cake before. I have to try this.
I think if you like passionfruit you'll love this cake!
My daughter made this beautiful cake to celebrate summer and getting together with friends. It was so fluffy, flavorful and delicious. Every slice was served and eaten. It was enjoyed by all!
I'm so happy to hear that! Thank you!
I loved it! The passion fruit flavor kick was delicious! A new favorite!
Thank you so much! Glad you liked it!
I love passion fruit and this was my first time making it with cake. It was such a huge hit and has become one of my new favorites!
Thank you! So glad you like it!
I love how you lay out all the ingredients at the beginning. Made it so much easy to follow this recipe. And we all loved the cake!
Thank you!! That always helps me too!
I love all of your cake recipes so when I saw this one I knew I had to try it! Firstly, the flavor is impeccable! I love the sweet passionfruit paired with the vanilla layer cake and white chocolate buttercream! I made this for my book club meeting and everyone loved it!
Thank you so much! So glad it was a hit!
I’m so in love with this passion fruit cake! It was a huge hit at our last family gathering. My kids helped me make it, which made it that much more special. We will definitely be making it again soon.
So fun! Glad you all enjoyed it!
Your cakes are always so moist, so I knew this one would be great...but that white chocolate buttercream paired with the passionfruit curd was off the charts good!
Thank you! I love the combination of passionfruit and white chocolate!
Omg! The flavour combinations in this cake were so delicious and dreamy. I would have never thought to put passion fruit and white chocolate together. The actual cake was really fluffy and light too! I can’t wait to make and eat this one again!
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!
I absolutely love passion fruit,. When I saw your recipe, I just had to make it. The white chocolate paired so well! It was lovely. Thank you.
Thank you so much! They go so well together!