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+ servings
lemon passion fruit cake sliced in 3

Lemon Passion Fruit Cake

Lemon Passion Fruit Cake, a combination of citrus and tropical is a delicious twist on the classic lemon cake. Drizzled with warm lemon syrup over the soft, easy to make buttery cake for a sweet tangy deliciousness.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Servings 10 slices


For the cake

  • ¼ cup passion fruit pulp see notes
  • 1 cup butter softened at room temperature,see notes
  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel see notes
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • ¾ cup buttermilk or yogurt see notes
  • 2 cups cake or all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ level teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter

For the syrup

  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon passion fruit seeds (optional) see notes.


Passion fruit pulp

  • If you are using Fresh passion fruit: Scoop out the juicy middle of each fruit and place it into a strainer set over a bowl. (It's easier if you work with one fruit at a time) Keep in mind that one passion fruit yields 1½-2 tablespoons of pulp. So for this recipe, if using fresh passion fruit, then 3 or 4 will be sufficient. 
  • Use a spatula to press out the pulp and juice which will collect into the bowl below the strainer. The seeds in the strainer can either be discarded or used in the syrup which is poured over the baked cake.
  • Once you have collected the juice and pulp, measure it and stir it into the buttermilk. Set aside until ready to mix into the batter.
  • If you are using store bought pulp, strain it like above if it contains seeds and then combine with the buttermilk. Set aside until ready to mix into the batter.

Prep the oven and baking pan:

  • Preheat the oven to 356° F / 180° C (160° C fan) Grease and line an 8 x 5-inch (20 x 12 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper. Leave an overhang of paper, making it easy to lift the cake out of the pan after baking.

Make the cake batter

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter sugar and grated lemon peel (zest) until pale and airy. This should take about 4 minutes if using a handheld beater.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating for about 10 seconds after each addition. Stir in the combined passion fruit pulp and buttermilk.
  • Add dry ingredients: Fold the sifted flour and baking powder and salt (if using unsalted butter) into the batter until just combined.
  • Spread the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake the cake for between 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Leave cake in pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack placed over a tray.

Make the syrup

  • Place sugar, lemon juice, water and if you prefer, some of the reserved passion fruit seeds in a small saucepan.
  • Stir over the heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Simmer, uncovered, without stirring, for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the hot syrup over hot cake and serve warm. You can also reserve a little of the syrup to serve with individual slices of cake if you like.


  • At room temperature: Up to 3 days in an airtight container.
  • To freeze: Can be frozen for up to one month. Wrap the baked, completely cooled cake in plastic wrap. The cake should be frozen without the syrup. Thaw overnight in the fridge.


How to substitute fresh passion fruit: Store bought canned, frozen, or bottled passion fruit pulp or puree, are great substitutes for fresh passion fruit. Depending on the brand and your preference, you can find them with or without seeds. The pulp or puree added in the batter is what enhances the amazing tropical flavor.
Can I use passion fruit juice instead of pulp/puree? Yes, you can. If you really cannot get fresh, frozen, or canned pulp, then passion fruit juice will work in a pinch. Try to get 100% pure juice without additives or sugar. The added sugar and additives can have an impact on the flavor and texture of the cake. If the passion fruit juice has added sugar, I would suggest that you cut down on the sugar in the recipe
Butter: I use salted butter for this recipe. If you have unsalted butter, then just whisk in ¼ teaspoon of salt to your flour.
Grated lemon rind (zest): You just need 1 tablespoon of grated lemon rind so 1 lemon is sufficient. Avoid grating the lemon peel too deep. You don't want to get the bitter white (pith) which is just under the lemon peel.
How to substitute buttermilk or yogurt: If you don’t have buttermilk or yogurt, you can make some by adding 1 tablespoon (15ml) white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup (250ml) milk Leave it aside for 2 minutes which will allow it to curdle. Use in place of the buttermilk.
Passion fruit seeds: The seeds are edible and have a crunchy texture. You can add some of the reserved seeds into the syrup for decorative purposes too if you prefer.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 406kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 6gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 245mgPotassium: 100mgFiber: 1gSugar: 32gCalcium: 39mgIron: 1mg
*Nutrition Disclaimer
Tried this recipe? Let me know how it was in the comments below