Orange-Passion Fruit Cake

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 14

This traditional cake is eaten in many Argentinean homes, often as an accompaniment to afternoon tea. It is usually purchased in pastry shops, 
but this straightforward recipe is well worth the effort. Passion fruit is used 
in many ways in Latin America: juice for drinking; as flavoring for ice creams, glazes, toppings and other desserts; and for adding sweetness and complexity to salsas, sauces and savory dishes. You can find frozen passion fruit pulp in most Latin markets.


For the cake:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for buttering pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen passion fruit pulp
  • 1 Tbs. grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice

For the glaze:

  • 2 heavy passion fruits or 1/4 cup thawed frozen passion fruit pulp
  • 1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature


Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch Bundt pan or tube pan. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.

To make the cake, in a bowl, whisk together the 3 cups flour, the baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, combine the 3 sticks butter and the granulated sugar. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until very smooth, 5 to 7 minutes. Beat in 1/4 cup of the flour mixture. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 2 minutes total. Turn the mixer off. Add the remaining flour mixture, the buttermilk, passion fruit pulp, orange zest and orange juice and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat just until combined, about 1 minute more. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springs back when pressed in the center, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: If using fresh passion fruit, cut the fruit open, scoop the pulp and seeds into a fine-mesh sieve, and press it through the mesh, using the back of the spoon to extract as much of the juice and pulp as possible. Discard the solids left in the sieve. Measure 1/4 cup pulp and reserve the rest for another use.

In a bowl, using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, stir together the passion fruit pulp, confectioners’ sugar and butter until smooth.

To unmold the cake, run a small knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert it onto a serving plate and remove the pan. Drizzle with the glaze, cut into wedges and serve. Serves 12 to 14.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Latin Cooking, by Patricia McCausland-Gallo, Deborah Schneider & Beverly Cox (Oxmoor House, 2010).

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