Passionfruit sponge cake

‘Well that will be a challenge,’ was my response when mum asked me to bake a passionfruit sponge cake for her friend’s Birthday the other day. You see, I was of the belief that sponge cake was something better left to the pros and too difficult to make myself. I have only ever made sponge once before – when I made lamingtons – but that was just me messing around so it didn’t really matter if they didn’t turn out. This on the other hand, needed to be presentable. I needn’t have been so terrified though because this recipe was reasonably easy to make and the sponge turned out beautifully. I’ve also grown rather fond of passionfruit curd and have nearly finished the leftovers.

Melt the butter

Start by making the passionfruit curd so it has lots of time to cool. I wanted to have some left over so I used a different recipe to the one that came with the sponge recipe. To make the curd, melt the butter in a saucepan.

Passionfruit, eggs and sugar

When the butter has melted add the passionfruit, sugar and eggs to the saucepan and heat it, stirring constantly, until it thickens.

Thickened passionfruit curd

This is what it will look like when it has thickened. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the curd into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap touches the top of the curd. Pour the rest into sterilised jars and keep in the fridge.

The sponge ingredients

This is all you need to make the sponge – just a few ingredients.

Floured tins

Butter two tins and then coat them in cornflour. Make sure you tap away any excess flour.

Sugar and eggs

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until they are thick and creamy. It takes about 10 minutes.

Thick and pale

This is what it looks like when it’s ready for the next ingredient. Make sure it’s very light and fluffy.

Add the flours

Triple sift the flours then add them to the egg mixture and fold them through very gently using a metal spoon then add the melted butter and boiling water and gently fold them through.

Ready for baking

Divide the batter evenly between the two tins and bake at 160C/320F fan-forced for 20 to 22 minutes. This was the only thing that threw me. I wasn’t quite sure how to tell when they were ready but I guessed that lightly pressing the top and having it bounce back and having the cake come away from the sides of the tin were good signs.


Turn the baked sponges onto baking paper-lined cooling racks and leave them to cool completely.

Filling time

When the cakes have cooled, place one on a serving tray. I chose the less beautiful of the two for the bottom so the prettier one was on the top. Spread the bottom cake with passionfruit curd.

Passionfruit sponge cake (with passionfruit curd in the background)

Place the second cake on top and sprinkle it with icing sugar. You can see my little jars of passionfruit curd in the background ready to be given as gifts. Sponge cakes are best eaten on the day of baking (in my opinion). Enjoy!

Passionfruit sponge cake

Passionfruit sponge cake and passionfruit curd
  • 40g (1oz) butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp cornflour, for dusting the tins
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅔ cup caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup plain AP flour
  • ⅓ cup self-raising flour
  • ⅓ cup cornflour
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • Icing sugar mixture, for dusting
Passionfruit butter from Choice
  • 1 cup liquid (3/4 cup strained passionfruit pulp, return ½ the amount of seeds plus ¼ cup lemon juice) - a little admission, I got sick of straining and replacing the seeds so I added whole passionfruit as well.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 150g (5oz) butter
  • 5 eggs (I beat mine first)
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C(320F) fan-forced. Grease two 20cm round cake tins with half the melted butter then sprinkle with cornflour and shake it around to cover the entire inside of the tin. The original recipe also says to line the bottoms with baking paper. I missed this step when I made mine but it's probably better to be on the safe side and line it just in case.
  2. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat them together until they are thick and creamy. It takes about 10 minutes to get them to that stage.
  3. Triple sift the flours together to make them nice and light then gently fold them through the egg mixture using a large metal spoon. Add the melted butter and boiling water and gently fold them through as well.
  4. Divide the batter between the two tins and bake the cakes for 20-22 minutes. My assumption (which worked) was that when the cakes are golden on top, bounce back when gently pressed on top and have come away from the sides they are ready to come out of the oven.
  5. Transfer them to a baking paper-lined cooling rack and leave them to cool completely.
  6. When the cakes have cooled, place one on a serving platter and top it with the passionfruit curd. Place the second cake on top and sprinkle it with icing sugar.
  7. Serve the cake fresh.
Passionfruit butter from Choice
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the pot constantly (I used a whisk) until it thickens. It takes about 10 minutes.
  2. When it has thickened, pour about 1½ cups into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to form a second skin. Refrigerate the bowl. Pour the rest of the curd into sterilised jars and seal them.