Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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Passionfruit are one of my weaknesses, memories of my childhood in New Caledonia. I love them to bits! When I saw boxes of fresh passionfruit (from Colombia) at my local market in July, I negotiated a whole box and brought it home. Of course, passionfruit doesn’t keep forever and once juiced, you have to use it or freeze it. Fortunately, I found the perfect excuse to use it and created this passionfruit, lime and coconut cake recipe for the 2016 Bridge to Bridge swimming race of the Serpentine Swimming Club.
The Serpentine Swimming Club is where I swim in London and as open water swimmers know, swimming and cake belong together like sin and damnation–or, rather, swim and satisfaction. Nothing beats a slice of homemade cake with a hot cup of tea after a splash amongst the waterfowl gentry of Hyde Park. In general, more swimming means more cake, although you have to act fast if the cake is small.
Now, here’s where the Bridge to Bridge swim race comes in for the passionfruit cake.
The Bridge to Bridge race is the one time in the year when Serpentine Swimming Club members are allowed to swim outside of the usual boundaries and gather at the bridge by the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen to swim the whole 1,000 yards of the lake to the Serpentine Bridge. Since the effort is sizable, cake was in order but an email from the club’s president mentioned that a club member would be turning 92 years old. Special cake it would be!
I had plenty of passionfruit in my kitchen and wanted to make a cake that would hold well in hand after a swim, that wouldn’t disintegrate during the bicycle ride to the Serpentine and that would be tasty. Also, it had to be moist, which is always a challenge with “tea cakes.” Last but not least, I wanted a true passionfruit flavor–not hints of it. Looking on the web, I only found recipes that called for tiny amounts of passionfruit and I had 72 fruits in front of me! Fortunately, I found an Australian website where they weren’t shy on passionfruit and upped some proportions to boost the flavors. Tangy and textured, it turned out a really nice cake with an intense taste of passionfruit, nice hints of lime and coconut goodness. Several people asked me for the recipe, so here it is.