Passion Fruit Cake Recipe for a Taste of the Tropics

This passion fruit cake has the tropical flavor of lilikoi baked right into a deliciously sliceable loaf. 

Can’t get enough of the flavor or lilikoi? Make up a batch of this passion fruit jelly!

LOAF OF passion fruit cake on a green rectangular plate with a half lilikoi and purple flower in the background

Sweet and sour lilikoi

Liliko‘i – also known as passion fruit – grows wild here, and I’m lucky enough to have a prolific plant right in my backyard. The flavor is perfect to add tropical flavor to cakes and it makes one of my favorite jellies.

If you haven’t had the chance to experience the flavor of liliko‘i yet, add it to your bucket list. While the passion fruit vine is a weed here, and foraging for the fruit nets buckets and buckets of passion fruit, it’s not as prolific in some parts of the world.

passion fruit , some with flesh showing

You don’t have to be in Hawaii to experience the goodness of passion fruit or this cake, though. They might not be common fare at your local farmers market, but if you’ve got some space, you can try growing passion fruit at your place.

A variety known as maypop or hardy passionflower will grow and produce in less tropical climates — and even withstands frost. [Learn how to grow maypop here.]

Get the juice

Before you can make anything with your fresh lilikoi, you’ll need to remove the seeds and pulp. You can see how I do that in the video above. You’ll find instructions for juicing lilikoi here.

Passion fruit cake

So tasty. So easy to make. I always double the batch and make four loaves – one for now, three for the freezer.

What if I don’t have liliko‘i you ask?

In a pinch, lemon is probably the best substitute for passion fruit, though it won’t have the same tropical passion fruit flavor. You can substitute lemon juice for a perfectly lovely lemon loaf cake. But I’m pretty sure nobody will turn down a slice. 

This passion fruit cake is the most requested item at a music camp that we attend every year, and as long as I have fresh juice, I do my best to make those people happy.

Glazing the passion fruit loaf cake

This is an optional step. Adding a glaze takes this cake to new heights, making it just a bit more fancy and dessert like. 

Related: Delicious Chocolate Zucchini Bread

LOAF OF passion fruit cake on a green rectangular plate with a half lilikoi and purple flower in the background

★ Did you make this passion fruit cake? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

LOAF OF passion fruit cake on a green rectangular plate with a half lilikoi and purple flower in the background

Passion Fruit Cake

This passion fruit cake is a wonderful way to add a taste of Hawaii to your dessert table
4.53 from 48 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 24 slices
Author: Kris Bordessa


  • ¾ cup butter 1 1/2 sticks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup passion fruit juice**


  • Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time. 
    3/4 cup butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 4 large eggs
    creaming egg and sugar for cake
  • Mix flour and baking powder together. (I just do this in the measuring cup to avoid another bowl to wash.)
    3 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Alternate adding dry ingredients then the lilikoi juice to the sugar mixture until well blended. Pour batter into two greased loaf pans and bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes.
    1 cup passion fruit juice**
  • Let hot loaf pans sit for 10-15 minutes, then remove to a wire rack for cooling.


  • **If you have access to fresh passion fruit, follow these instructions for how to juice passion fruit.
  • If you really want to use passion fruit juice for this recipe but the fruit is not available locally, I'm told that ethnic grocers often carry a liliko‘i puree in their freezer section.
To make a glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon lilikoi juice
  • 1 tablespoon lilikoi jelly
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and drizzle over cake.
To make a gluten free version, replace the all purpose flour with:
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum


Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 96mg | Potassium: 68mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 296IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @attainablesustainable or tag #attainablesustainable!
LOAF OF yellow cake on a green rectangular plate with a half lilikoi and purple flower in the background

Originally published in November 2011; this post has been updated.

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

25 comments… add one
  • casey Nov 2, 2023 @ 13:13

    Does this cake need to be refrigerated? I need something that will last for a day or two outside the refrigerator before it’s served.

    • AttainableSustainable Nov 9, 2023 @ 9:02

      I’m pretty sure it would be ok covered and on the countertop, but can’t say for sure!

  • Ka Sep 2, 2023 @ 8:27

    Question: the recipe calls for lilikoi juice. Is that the purée or it the juice recipe w/ water and sweetener?

    • AttainableSustainable Sep 14, 2023 @ 9:10

      The juice before sweetening. Enjoy!

      • Audrey Feb 18, 2024 @ 7:54

        No where in the recipe do you specify when to add the passion fruit, lol

        • Kris Bordessa, National Geographic author/certified master food preserver Feb 19, 2024 @ 10:07

          It’s the liquid ingredients spelled out in the recipe. That must not be clear enough, though; I’ll make that edit.

  • Linda Johnson Ahlgrim Nov 8, 2022 @ 6:47

    I made two loaves of bread with this recipe from fruit that had fallen off the vine. It is absolutely delicious. I finally found the way to juice the fruit by placing in a chinois (sheen-wah) with cheesecloth. I started out by squeezing the seeds; but my cheesecloth began to fall apart after a short while. I have no idea how old it was. I plan on buying some today. So after it fell apart I got out the wooden pestle & got the rest. There are about 20 fruits left on the vine so I should be able to make at least another loaf. This loaf is going fast. I learned a new word for sieve. Can’t wait to use it in Scrabble.

    • AttainableSustainable Nov 17, 2022 @ 8:44

      Oh good!

  • Laura B Oct 30, 2021 @ 4:38

    I’m wondering if I did something wrong, because my cake came out pretty stodgy and dense with just a vaguely sweet flavor. I used fresh passion fruit juice with tons of flavor but couldn’t taste the passion fruit in the cake. I regret not doing the icing — that would have added much more of a pop (I was hoping to use this as a breakfast bread rather than a dessert. Not that I’m above eating dessert for breakfast, but a girl has to act like a grownup sometimes.).

    If I am weighing ingredients rather than measuring volume, do you know how much flour I should use? Maybe I had too much flour??

    If anyone has ideas for how I could transform my existing loaves to give them more flavor and better texture I’m open to suggestions. I don’t want to waste these, but I’m not excited to eat them as-is.

    I LOVE passion fruit, so I will definitely be trying this again and tinkering with the ratios.


  • Rebecca Aug 17, 2021 @ 10:40

    just got it out of the oven – it looks perfect and tastes even better!

    To make the glaze pretty – I used my fresh elderberry jelly in the glaze – gave it a gorgeous purple color and really made it POP!

    Thank you!

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 18, 2021 @ 16:41

      Wow, that sounds lovely!

  • Courtney K Oct 28, 2020 @ 14:01

    How long does the Lili koi glaze last in the fridge?

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 31, 2020 @ 7:48

      A couple of weeks?

  • Michelle Mar 24, 2018 @ 22:11

    So yummy!
    Such a great recipe.

  • Kathy Robertson Feb 27, 2015 @ 12:10

    How about pomegranite juice? Would give it a red color anyway, 🙂

  • Bella Feb 18, 2015 @ 9:06

    I was wondering if I could substitute the Lilikoi juice with Lilikoi butter or Lilikoi Jam?

    • Kris Bordessa Feb 18, 2015 @ 9:37

      I don’t think that would work without a lot of finagling. They both have other ingredients that might make the bread too sweet, not to mention those are both a lot thicker than the juice. You definitely do it with lemon juice, though — and TOP it with the jam. 😉

  • Kathy Nov 26, 2012 @ 19:40

    I made this recipe tonight – it was so easy and so delicious! The bread came out very light and the lilikoi flavor is just perfect. I made 4 small loaves instead of 2 larger ones so I can share with my neighbors. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 26, 2012 @ 19:48

      Glad to hear it, Kathy!

  • Sherron Nov 15, 2012 @ 19:23

    I love to just eat them out-of-hand, seeds & all. Yum!! Our vines are really prolific! 😉

  • GregoryLopez Jul 19, 2012 @ 10:19

    This recipe also works great if you use half wheat flour and two smashed bananas.  I have a whole trellace full of lilikoi.  Yes you can eat them right off the vine, just strain out the seeds, or swallow them like the local mokes.

    • Kathy Robertson Feb 27, 2015 @ 12:08

      Aaaah, trellis…maybe your brain was trying to concantenate trellis and terrace. Though a garden with both would be nice. 🙂


      • Linda Johnson Ahlgrim Nov 7, 2022 @ 12:38

        Pretty sure Gregory Lopez meant trellis. That’s the best way to grow passion fruit. I wait till they drop. I have never picked one that was ripe here in Norfolk, VA. I made the mistake of planting my first Purple passion vine in the ground. Now they come up everywhere. I made the two loaves of bread. I am saving/freezing one to take to an early Thanksgiving dinner at my neighbor’s house the Sat. before Thanksgiving. I am from TN and that is one of its 3 State flowers. The other two are the cultivated Iris and the TN coneflower.

  • Liz Nov 7, 2011 @ 12:41

    I am so jealous that its growing wild for you! I had a vine in the garden, but it died over winter from the frost, so I have to beg and borrow from anyone who is growing them as I love to eat them. Also, I didn’t know they were also called Liliko’i, its a beautiful word for a beautiful fruit (got to love the flowers), thanks for sharing your recipe.

  • Jane Boursaw Nov 7, 2011 @ 8:35

    I love the name Lilikoi – and Passion Fruit, too. I don’t think I’ve ever had it, though. Can you eat it straight off the plant? That bread looks yummy.

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