Over the years, I have fallen madly in love with passion fruit. Any time I see passion fruit on a menu in a restaurant, be it in a cocktail, starter, dessert, or even an entree, it is almost guaranteed that I will be ordering it. Its sweet-tart flavor is so unique and irresistible to me. Combine that with coconut, another one of those sumptuous flavors I cannot get enough of, and we have the makings of a phenomenal layer cake.

I first made a cake like this last year for my holiday party and it was wonderful. Initially when I asked what sort of cake she might like for her birthday, Caroline chose strawberry. (She will always always say strawberry.) Given the beach theme, I gently suggested something tropical and was ecstatic that she liked this idea for her cake.

The version I made back in the winter had just the coconut and passion fruit, but I wanted to incorporate some fresh berry since she loves them so much and for a nice color contrast. The raspberries ended up being perfect in this mix. Let’s take a quick look at the anatomy of this layered creation: it has coconut cake layers, a passion fruit soak, passion fruit curd, fresh raspberries, a toasted coconut crumb, and a passion fruit frosting on top. For her party I made a two-tiered version since we had so many guests. You can check it out here. I think the raspberries perfectly rounded out what was already a stellar cake, and I want to make this beauty again and again! It has received unanimous rave reviews from my friends and it’s safe to say this cake is a keeper.

  • Cook about 30 minutes
  • Yield 1 6-inch round layer cake


For the cake:

  • 165 grams (1¼ cups) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 85 grams (6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150 grams (¾ cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. coconut extract
  • 175 ml (¾ cup) coconut milk, well-stirred (from a can)
  • 40 grams (½ cup) shredded unsweetened coconut

For the passion fruit curd: 

  • 100 grams (½ cup) passion fruit puree
  • 65 grams (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. water
  • ½ tsp. powdered gelatin
  • 170 grams (12 tbsp.) butter, very cold
  • 2 grams (½ tsp.) kosher salt
  • For the coconut crumb:

    • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    • 25 grams (1½ tbsp.) light brown sugar
    • 90 grams (¾ cup) cake flour
    • 2 grams (½ tsp.) baking powder
    • 2 grams (½ tsp.) kosher salt
    • 10 grams (2 tbsp.) shredded unsweetened coconut
    • 57 grams (¼ cup) butter, melted
    • 6 grams (1½ tsp.) vanilla extract
    • 2 grams (½ tsp.) coconut extract

    For the frosting:

    • 113 grams (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 113 grams (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    • Pinch of salt
    • 25-50 grams (2-4 tbsp.) passion fruit puree

    To assemble: 

    • 66 grams (2/3 cup) passion fruit puree
    • 8 oz fresh raspberries
    • Thick coconut shavings, lightly toasted (for garnish)
    • Freeze dried raspberries, crushed into powder (for garnish)


  • 01

    To make the cake, heat the oven to 350˚ F. Butter and flour the edges of a quarter sheet pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to blend; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and extracts until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in half of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Add in the coconut milk and mix on low speed, again mixing just until combined. Add in the remaining half of the dry ingredients as well as the shredded coconut and mix on low speed just until the batter is evenly combined, being careful not to over mix.

  • 02

    Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake 20-24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs but no wet batter. Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge and flipping the cake carefully out onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely before proceeding, covering if needed to prevent from drying out.

  • 03

    To make the passion fruit curd, put the passion fruit puree in a blender with the sugar and blend until the sugar granules have dissolved. Add the eggs and blend on low until the mixture is bright orange-yellow. Transfer the contents of the blender to a medium pot or saucepan, and clean out the blender canister. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top to bloom the gelatin. In the saucepan, heat the passion fruit mixture over low heat, whisking often. It will begin to thicken as it heats up. Once it boils, remove it from the heat and transfer to the clean blender canister. Add in the bloomed gelatin, butter, and salt, and blend until the mixture is thick, shiny and very smooth. Transfer to a heatproof container, cover and refrigerate until completely cool, at least 1 hour.

  • 04

    To make the coconut crumb, heat the oven to 300˚ F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and shredded coconut. Mix on low speed until combined. Add in the melted butter, vanilla and coconut extracts, and mix until the dry ingredients start to form small clusters. Spread the clusters on the prepared baking sheet. Baking for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. Remove from the oven. The crumbs will dry and harden as they cool. Cool completely before using.

  • 05

    Just before assembling, make the frosting. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed just until incorporated. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  Mix in 2 tablespoons of the the passion fruit puree on low speed just until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed, about 4-5 minutes. If the frosting is still thick, add the remaining puree 1 tablespoon at a time until the frosting is lighter in texture and has the desired level of passion fruit flavor.

  • 06

    To assemble the cake, use a 6-inch cake ring to cut out 2 circles from the cake (these will be the top two layers.) Wipe off the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a silpat. Use a strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring. Use scraps from the leftover cake to place in the ring and tamp together in a flat, even layer. Use a pastry brush to soak the cake with about half of the passion fruit puree.

  • 07

    Spread half of the passion fruit curd in an even layer over the cake. Distribute half of the fresh raspberries evenly over the curd and gently press them into it. Sprinkle half of the coconut crumb evenly over the curd, using the back of your hand to gently adhere them and anchor them in place. Gently tuck a second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼-inch of the first strip of acetate. Set a cake round on top of the coconut crumb, and repeat the layering process once more (passion fruit puree, curd, raspberries, and coconut crumb.) Place the remaining cake layer on top. Spread the passion fruit frosting in an even layer over the top. Garnish as desired with toasted coconut and/or freeze dried raspberry powder.

  • 08

    Transfer the assembled cake to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 6 hours to set the cake and the filling. At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve, remove the pan from the freezer, pop the cake out of the cake ring, and peel away the acetate layers. Transfer to a cake platter and defrost for at least 3 hours before slicing and serving.