Passion Fruit Tres Leches Cake

Passion Fruit Tres LechesI got thinking about one of my favorite Brazilian desserts, Passion Fruit mousse, and realized it has a lot in common with tres leches cake and actually could make a tres leches cake even more fantastic. So, I brought them together and loved the result. There really isn’t much else to compare passion fruit with! The flavor is just stunning, and now that a local market carries REAL passion fruit, I could even scoop some of the flesh out for a delightful finish on top of the cream. What a delicious dessert! I also put this as part of my cinco de mayo menu, and loved it.

Passion Fruit Tres Leches Cake

  • 12 T. (180 grams) butter (softened)
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 T. vanilla extract, divided
  • the grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 t. baking powder (cut down to 1 t. if at high altitude!)
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup passion fruit pulp (I find this in the frozen section of a Latin American Market)
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar
  • passion fruit (fresh, pulp, to serve)

Prepare a small casserole dish (7″x 11″) or 8″ spring form pan by lightly greasing it. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat for 8–10 minutes or until pale and creamy.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

To the butter and sugar mixture, add 1 T. of  vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat to combine. Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour and beat until just combined. Spoon the mixture into prepared pan lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, combine the milk, condensed milk, and the 1 c. passionfruit pulp in a medium bowl, whisking to combine. While the cake is still warm, use a skewer to make holes all over the top of the cake. Gradually pour the milk mixture over the cake. [If you prepare it this way, there will be a layer of passionfruit mousse on top of the cake, which the whipped cream will rest on top of. If you would like a moister cake with the passion fruit flavor seeped inside, first pour the passion fruit pulp over the cake, then, mix the milk with the sweetened condensed milk and pour over separately. When mixed together, the passion fruit and sweetened condensed milk will make a mousse that will not seep into the cake.] Let the cake rest and room temperature for one hour, and then refrigerate it for 2-3 hours or until the milk mixture is absorbed.
Just before serving, place the cream, powdered sugar, and 1 T. vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form (or beat in a stand mixer!). Top the cake with the cream and drizzle with fresh passionfruit pulp to serve.
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