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
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
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!
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.