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Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake

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Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake

It’s only May and I’m already in full summer mode with recent posts about ice cream and tropical desserts. I attribute it in part to the fact that we had a very wet winter in Southern California this year and I’m simply ready for summer, but the truth is that tropical fruit flavors are simply some of my favorites and I’m happy to eat them at any opportunity.

This Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake is bursting with so much passion fruit that its aroma will fill your kitchen as it bakes. The cake is a classic chiffon, an airy cake that gets much of its leavening from beaten egg whites that are folded into the batter. Unlike an angel food cake, which may look similar, this cake has added fat in the form of vegetable oil and egg yolks, which tenderize the cake and help it to remain moist for several days after baking. The cake batter has lots of passion fruit puree/juice in it. Passion fruit juice is extremely floral and very tart, not unlike lime juice, so it is important to check the ingredients if you’re using store-bought fruit puree to ensure it hasn’t been sweetened before adding it to your batter. Many stores sell frozen passion fruit puree for use in smoothies, but you can also find the tropical fruits in the fresh produce section and read about how to juice them in this tutorial.

I kept my cake really simple and served it without a glaze. While the cake itself isn’t overly sweet, it is loaded with passion fruit flavor in every bite. If I wanted to bring this out as a dessert at a party, however, I would finish it off with a drizzle of passion fruit glaze. A glaze recipe follows the cake and can easily be made with extra passion fruit juice and confectioners’ sugar.

Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp  salt
3/4 cup passion fruit juice (puree)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
7 large egg yolks
8 large egg whites, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325F. Get out a 10-inch tube pan, but do not grease it.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the passion fruit juice, vegetable oil, vanilla and egg yolks, then pour into the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, adding in the last 2 tablespoonfuls of sugar when the whites begin to get foamy.
Gently stir 1/4 of egg whites into the passion fruit mixture to lighten it. Working in two additions, fold the remaining beaten whites into the passion fruit mixture until no streaks of egg whites remain.
Pour into the ungreased tube pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched.
Invert cake over a bottle (or onto a wire rack if your pan has “feet” to hold it up) and let cool completely. When cooled, run a knife around the edges and turn cake out onto a platter. If desired, drizzle with glaze (below).

Makes one cake. Serves 12.

Passion Fruit Glaze
1 1/2 tbsp passion fruit juice
1 – 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together passion fruit juice and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar until a thick, smooth glaze forms. Add remaining confectioners’ sugar to thicken, as needed.

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