Passion Fruit Cupcakes

Before I went to pastry school, I’d never even had passion fruit — it had always kind of intimidated me, to be honest!

I’ll fully admit that this is sort of sad behaviour (especially for someone who considers herself an adventurous foodie…!) but if I pick up a foreign fruit or veggie in the grocery store and I can’t see an obvious way to eat it (like: oh, just slice it and eat it raw… or, clearly you cut away the skin first!) then I tend to put it down and skulk away.

For some reason, I think it’s embarrassing to have to ask someone else, “How do you eat this?” and then I’ve always often forgotten all about it by the time I get home.

Call it culinary pride, or what have you — or maybe lack of culinary confidence! Yeah, that would be more accurate.

Anyways, passion fruit is amazing. I should have gotten around to eating it way earlier in life.

It’s like the lemon of the jungle — very tart and acidic, while also having a very complex and fruity flavour — and, in case you’re wondering, you just crack ’em open and eat the insides (including the seeds)!

Considering how bright and summery it’s been in Vancouver (at least until a couple days ago), it seemed fitting that I make bright and summery passion fruit cupcakes for a friend’s birthday.

The cake is slightly adapted from David Lebovitz’s passion fruit pound cake recipe, while the frosting is my own creation. You can use fresh pureed passion fruit pulp, strained to remove large chunks of fruit and seeds, or just buy frozen puree.

Passion Fruit Cupcakes

*adapted from Ready for Dessert

Ingredients

Passion Fruit & Vanilla Cake

  • 1 & 1/2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons (235g) sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60g) passion fruit puree

Passion Fruit Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup (40g) passion fruit puree
  • 4 tablespoons (30g) cornstarch, dissolved in…
  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) cold heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (420g) icing sugar
  • yellow food colouring, if desired

Directions

To make the passion fruit and vanilla cake, start by sifting together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy — at least 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure the batter is completely smooth and the each egg is incorporated before adding the next.

At this point the batter might look a little curdled, but that’s okay — stir in the vanilla extract and passion fruit puree.

Add the flour slowly and fold the ingredients together, taking care not to over-mix.

Divide the batter equally between the muffin cups (using a 1/4-cup scoop really helped me to perfectly portion these cupcakes)!

Bake at 350°F/175°C for 30 ~ 32 minutes, or until a cake tested inserted into the middle-most cupcake comes out clean.

Allow to cool to completely before frosting.

To make the passion fruit frosting, start by melting the butter in a saucepan over very low heat.

Once the butter is melted, stir in the passion fruit puree, vanilla extract, and cornstarch dissolved in cold heavy cream. Return to the heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens slightly (think the consistency of thick chowder — or “blob” as daisy has described it)!

Take the butter + passion fruit mixture off the heat and place into a large clean bowl. Cream in the icing sugar, a little bit at a time, until 4 cups of the icing sugar is incorporated.

At this point the frosting might look a little soft, but that’s okay — it’s thick and creamy texture is what makes it really good, and it will set up with a nice sheen after a couple hours.

Frost your cupcakes as desired (keeping in mind that this frosting isn’t suited for height) and decorate as you please!

Now that I’ve tackled passion fruit, my next obstacle will be durian! Sometimes it’s hard not to pick up new foods and see the organic equivalent of a rubix cube, but one of my culinary goals this summer is to get out of my comfort zone.

Of course, if the new things I try all turn out to be as tasty as passion fruit, then I won’t be having any trouble at all!

UPDATE!

The very awesome and talented daisy also made these passion fruit cupcakes and found that if she added a little less icing sugar and waited 30 minutes before piping the frosting onto the cakes that the frosting was a little easier to work with!

I’ll have to try her technique next time, instead of getting all impatient like I normally do.

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27 thoughts on “Passion Fruit Cupcakes

  1. amy says:

    they were soooo good 😀
    and pretty 😀

    • Tessa says:

      I made these cupcakes with fresh juice from the lilikoi’s in my back yard. they were AWESOME! I am definately gonna keep this recipe.

  2. Sami says:

    Sounds good, but where does one find passion fruit pruee?

    • Christine says:

      In Vancouver, you can either make your own by pureeing passion fruit pulp in a food processor (most Asian supermarkets and small grocers carry passion fruit) — or you can purchase Boiron brand frozen purees from specialty food stores (I use The Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver — rotating stock; I always call ahead to check what they have).

      But, if you’re not in the Vancouver area, I recommend using searching through your local Chow Hound boards (http://chowhound.chow.com/boards) — fellow foodies can be really helpful when it comes to locating specialty ingredients!

      Hope this helps!

      • daisy says:

        First off, Christine, these cupcakes are beautiful! The butterflies are exquisite. Passion fruit is one of my two current obsessions – rhubarb being the other one. Sadly, I’ve never had an actual passion fruit, only the frozen pureed kind, but I still love them.

        The Boiron purees are very high-quality and but sometimes hard to find. The Goya brand is still very good, and inexpensive, about $3 USD for a 14-ounce frozen bag. The Goya brands are found in most often in Latin American grocery stores.

        daisy

  3. I wish passion fruit was as easy to find as apples because I do love the flavor! These cupcakes look stunning and I like the fact that this is a purist recipe-no other flavors involved! Delicious post, I enjoyed the visit. Have a great weekend!

  4. Joanne says:

    They are so lovely! I love passion fruit, especially the red ones.

  5. The color of the frosting is beautiful, Christine. But I want to hear about the butterflies.

    • Christine says:

      Sure, of course — I made the butterflies out of pastillage, which is a sugar paste formed of icing sugar, cornstarch, gelatin, and an acid. The recipe I used is here: http://cakecentral.com/recipe/easy-pastillage — although I skip the cream of tartar and normally use lemon juice instead of vinegar.

      Then a little food colouring gets kneaded in, it gets rolled flat, I used a cookie cutter to get butterfly shapes, then I bend it, let it dry, paint it with food colouring, then use water to attach sprinkles. 🙂

  6. Karista says:

    I love passionfruit! But I’ve never had it in a cupcake. How fun and delicious. We don’t get it often here but I can order it. Think this is what I’ll make with my next shipment of passionfruit. Delicious wishes~

  7. EveryCraving says:

    I’ve never had passion fruit, mainly because I never see it in my grocery store. It’s awesome you concurred your fear of working with passion fruit and made these gorgeous cupcakes. The addition of the butterfly really makes it look so summery and beautiful! 🙂

  8. billpeeler says:

    How beautiful are those cupcakes!?! I’ve never had passion fruit – but it sure makes for a perfect summery cupcake. Looks delicious!

  9. They look amazing! I’ve never really had passion fruit either, so I’ll have to give it a try! I trust your taste 🙂

  10. Brittany says:

    These look so good!! I LOVE the unique fruits, I will buy it without even knowing how to pronounce it and then Google it when I get home!

  11. Susan says:

    I am thoroughly obsessed with passion fruit. It may be my favorite fruity flavor. I know I cannot resist it when I see it on a dessert menu. Well done on you for embracing it! If you tackle durian, I will be well impressed!

    • Christine says:

      Haha — if I can tackle durian, I’ll be impressed with myself! Especially since I live in a bachelor suite… as soon as I crack that thing open, EVERYTHING is going to stink to high hell. I hope the taste is worth it! 😛

  12. daisy says:

    I just took my cupcakes out of the oven a few minutes ago. Before I knew it, I had eaten one unfrosted cupcake, still warm out of the oven. I’m out of butter so the frosting has to wait a little bit, but I’m not sure there will be any cupcakes left to frost…..Yummy!

    daisy

    • Christine says:

      Ooh ooh — that might be okay!

      In the original recipe, Lebovitz takes a 1/2 cup of passion fruit puree and a 1/3 cup of white sugar and mixes them together (until the sugar is semi-dissolved), then uses a skewer to poke holes in the cake (ones that go all the way to the bottom) and brushes the glaze on top.

      Either way, I’m so glad you like the recipe! 😀

  13. […] adapted this cupcake recipe from Christine of Angry Cherry, one of my favorite food blogs. She posted it on her blog the other […]

  14. Your cupcakes are sooo beautiful! I am holding my breath because I am expecting the butterfly to go land on the flowers at any moment!

  15. thehungrymum says:

    Beautiful. Coming from Australia I didn’t realise how lucky we are to have cheap & plentiful passionfruit. Despite this I have never used it in cupcakes, might give it a whirl.

    • Christine says:

      Aw haha — it’s funny you say that! My mom is a huge fan of passion fruit (but, like you realize, it’s not very common or plentiful up here), so I bring her passion fruit desserts on occasion and she always, always, always talks about her time in Australia and how she’d often eat a whole bag of passion fruit in a day.

      “Get the red ones!” she says, “They’re the best. Make sure they’re a little wrinkly, too…” and then the look in her eyes goes to a happy place of passion fruit memories. 😉

  16. redpink says:

    hey this sounds amazing !! just wondering if one were to make this into a layer cake would the measurements above be enough for 2 – 6 into 2 inch high pans ?

    • Christine says:

      Hmm… I’m not totally sure what kind of measurement a “2 – 6 into 2 inch high pan” is exactly, but generally a recipe for 12 cupcakes is good for one round 9-inch pan, which would probably be good for two round 6-inch pans.

      I would also turn the oven down a little and bake the cakes for longer if you want to use a larger pan. Hope that helps! 🙂

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