KBC is now two years old! Well, two years and a month because it's taken me a while to get to this celebratory post.
And we'll also celebrate because I made a cake! And after making this cake, I'm not sure I'm really good at making cakes. But more on that later.
I know last year, I said I was going to do all of these things like be better at blogging, share more and make my site the best it can be. I was ambitious about wanting to increase readership, tracking traffic and religiously posting and liking on Instagram. But lately, I am less likely to check stats and post on Instagram daily. I mean there is the daily check to make sure I had some readership and the leisurely scroll through Instagram but I think I got burned out from focusing on numbers and likes rather than the content and stories themselves. I had to let that go and accept that it was okay to not post on this blog every week and to not be obsessive about scrolling through my entire Instagram feed so I never missed a photo or get annoyed about losing followers. Okay, I will admit, getting below 1,000 again would be annoying. This year, I'm going to try to focus on posting things because I care about and like rather than wondering if this is going to be the next post that boosts my readership.
I have found that things take time and sometimes not doing anything for a while and just letting the cogs and wheels turn is what is needed for both me and this site.
But let's talk about cake.
I've had this cake in the back of my mind for many months. I originally wanted to make it for a friend's birthday in September but I wasn't able to make it then because I couldn't find fresh passion fruit anywhere. For me, layer cakes require special occasions because I never make them. Remember what happened the last time? I got these passion fruits from work so I took it as a sign to make the cake I had been meaning to for so long.
Passion fruit and I have a long history that started back before I even knew what it was. Growing up, we used to drink Welch's Passion Fruit Juice on the very rare occasion that Kristen and I were allowed to drink juice (read soda). I liked the taste. It was tart, sweet and had this tropical flavor that was like pineapple juice but different. Then, I moved to Hawaii and we were introduced to POG. It wasn't pure passion fruit juice with the addition of orange and guava but boy, was that a good combo! And best on the airplane to and from Hawaii. That stuff goes down like a syrup. It is so sweet but tangy and best downed ice cold when the humidity feels like a giant thick cloud of hot. I instantly started to realize I was in a land where passion fruit was called lilikoi and it was as common as watermelon.
The first time I saw an actual passion fruit was with an ex-boyfriend who had a tree of these beautifully delicious fruits in his yard. It was summer, just as the stifling summer air was being pushed away by the tradewinds and the sky was beginning to pull over it's nightly blanket. His mother had picked a few and cut some open, careful not to let the precious juice spill out and soak into the flat surface of the cutting board. She gently scooped out the bright yellow seeds and juice and placed it directly over vanilla ice cream that was melting from the warmth of the surrounding air. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical. For one, I don't really like seeds in things and two, passion fruits look alien. But, I knew it was a flavor I liked so it couldn't be all that bad. That first spoonful was a mixture of creamy vanilla and that tart passion fruit flavor I had grown to love over time. And then the fine snap of a seed or two. I gobbled it up.
My time in Hawaii came and went before I went to the Mainland for college where passion fruit became exotic again. Thankfully, I live(d) in a town where passion fruit was not an unknown flavor, especially if you went to one of its many boba tea places. I'm always happiest with a passion fruit tea with black tapioca pearls and knowing that passion fruit is still accessible.
And then, I found out the grocery store I work at has actual passion fruit AND POG. I often have to peruse the produce department looking for things when one day I saw them. They were dark purple in hue and nestled between all the other common tropical fruits just waiting to be cut open. So I kept in mind they were there, knowing that I one day wanted to make a cake with passion fruit curd in the middle. And here we are now.
Making this cake was not a cake walk. Don't let that scare you away though! It was definitely just my errors. First, the curd wouldn't thicken because I was impatient and didn't let it fully thicken to 170ºF like I should have so it didn't set properly. I fixed it though, and although the texture was a bit tackier than normal. Second, my stand mixer is weird and likes to make explosive messes so it looked like someone had dumped all of the flour and milk on the kitchen counter. And lastly, Kristen was the one who actually frosted the cake. She said I looked like I was struggling so I happily handed the spatula to her.
This cake is so full of butter and sugar that part of me panics slightly just thinking about it. I have to remember it is a three layer monster of a cake that also includes frosting and curd. A perfect bite gets the tastes and textures of the curd, cake and frosting. The cake is buttery and dense, with the bright passion fruit flavor of the curd and ends with the creamy lemon-y frosting.
Here we are where the freezer supply is dwindling and I am already thinking of ways I would improve it. It's definitely delicious but I am picky when it comes to cake. It can't be too dry or too dense or too sweet or too heavy. Flavor-wise, this one is good. But next time, I would add more curd, level off the tops to make it easier to frost, find a cake that is less dense and more moist and make the frosting a bit thicker. Oh, and try for thinner cake layers so there is room for more curd. So probably, just an entirely different cake altogether?
Don't get me wrong, this one is good. Let's just say that since I never make cakes, once I make them, I want to continually perfect them like most things. Surprise, surprise.
To layer cakes, this blog and food love.
Lemon Passion Fruit Layer Cake
Slightly adapted from this cake
Yields: one 3 layer cake, enough for 12-14 people