Birthdays. What a great excuse for cake. An excuse for eating cake (it goes without saying…) but also an excuse to let the creative juices flow and make a real showstopper. So, with the help of my sous-chef, Catherine, my Monday evening was spent creating one of my favourite (and most requested) bakes: Passion fruit cream cheese layer cake. Yes, that’s right; layers of light vanilla sponge smothered with tangy cream cheese icing and lashings of delicate passion fruit coulis. Time well spent I’d say.


passionfruit full



  • 8oz stork or other margarine
  • 8oz caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 8oz self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder (do not be tempted to add more in an attempt to entice your cakes to rise. It will only give them that distinctive bicarb-y taste.)


  • 6 passion fruit
  • 60ml cup orange juice
  • 1 ½ tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tsps cornflour mixed into a smooth paste with 2 tbsp water


  • 60g softened unsalted butter
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 375g icing sugar



The recipe I’ve used for the sponge is one I use for all standard cakes. It’s nothing fancy, just the traditional ratio – you double the number of eggs you have to give the weight in ounces of the other ingredients. The secret to a light sponge is in the technique…

Cream the stork and sugar until it turns pale (I use an electric whisk). Beat in the eggs one at a time. To stop the mixture from curdling, add about a dessert spoon of flour between eggs. Once all the eggs mixed in, beat in the vanilla. Finally, sift in the flour and baking powder little by little and fold in using a metal spoon. As soon as the mixture is combined and smooth STOP folding. You don’t want to overwork the mixture.

Pour into three lined 7 or 8 inch cake tins and cook at 180ᵒc for 12-15 minute (they should be fairly thin cakes, as we are going to layer them). If you want to add more height, you could always make four smaller diameter cakes.

Leave the cakes to cool on wire racks


Whilst the cakes are in the oven, make the passion fruit sauce. Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the pulp into a sauce pan. Add the orange and the sugar, and heat over a medium heat. After a few minutes add the cornflour mixture and keep stirring until thickened. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Add more sugar if needed, although I personally like it quite tart as it complements the sweetness of the cake nicely.


empty passionfruit


I have specified quantities above, but I often just add ingredients and taste until I like the taste. Different people have prefer more or less sugar according to the sweetness of their tooth – I find a lot of recipes for cream cheese icing are too sweet. If you use the quantities above as a guide you will be fine!

Cream the butter, until very smooth (this is important, as otherwise you’ll have lumps of butter in the icing) and beat in the icing sugar as you would for buttercream. Finally beat in the vanilla and cream cheese until light and airy.


Take your first cake and spread it with cream cheese icing. Drizzle this with a generous amount of passion fruit sauce, then start again with the second layer.


Place the third layer on top and cover the whole cake with a crumb coat – a very thin layer of icing, and leave in the fridge for a few minutes to set. This will help the rest of the icing go on nice and smoothly.

Decorate with fresh fruit, and the rest of the passion fruit sauce.

slice 2




  1. This looks so tasty!! Very professional photos too… I’d never heard of a crumb coat before – sounds like a good trick. This might be a stupid question, but is there a reason why you use margarine instead of butter in the sponge?
    Looking forward to the April Bake already 🙂 xx

    • Well, it is a highly debated topic! I personally have always used margerine in cakes – it is much easier to blend into a smooth mixture, and you don’t need the richness of flavour and high fat content that you would in other baked goods. But cakes only! If you want to make buttercream, biscuits, pastry etc, always use real butter. Similarly, if you’re making a plain victoria sponge, where you really want the flavour of the cake to come out, you could try a mixture of margerine and butter…I’ll have to do a blind taste test one day!

  2. Pingback: APRIL BAKE: STRAWBERRY OMBRE CAKE | rosannajay

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