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Passion Fruit, Cardamom and Olive Oil Cake

by Tarunima Sinha from My Little Cake Tin

Ground pistachios and almonds add texture to this simple olive oil cake, which is finished with a passionfruit syrup and white chocolate ganache drizzle.


I love the fragrance, freshness and sharpness of passion fruit. The fresh fruit varies in size and ripeness so purée (available online) often works better in cake. Freeze leftover purée for cocktails or to flavour ice creams. This recipe is good with melted butter or oil. In fact, I used to make it with butter, but once used an extra virgin olive oil out of necessity. Its mild, warm herbal notes worked so well that I now always use oil.

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200ml (¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil or 200g (¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
250g (1¾ cups plus 2 Tbsp) self-raising (self-rising) flour, plus extra for dusting)
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground turmeric (optional, but it adds great colour)
75g (about ¾ cup) ground almonds
100g (1 cup) ground pistachios
75ml (5 Tbsp) passion fruit purée
100ml (7 Tbsp) soured cream
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
5 large eggs
300g (scant 1¾ cups) golden caster (superfine) sugar
zest of 2 lemons, juice saved for the syrup
For the passion fruit syrup:
100ml (7 Tbsp) passion fruit purée
125g (⅔ cup) golden caster (superfine) sugar
juice of 2 lemons
¼ tsp salt
For the ganache drizzle (optional):
100g (3 ½ oz) white chocolate, finely chopped
150ml (½ cup plus 1 Tbsp) double (heavy) cream
50ml (about 3 Tbsp) passion fruit purée
30g (1 Tbsp) pistachio nibs or finely chopped nuts, plus extra to decorate

Essential kit

You will need a 20cm (8in) round cake tin.


Brush a 20cm (8in) round cake tin with oil or butter and dust with flour. Line the base and sides with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, turmeric, almonds and ground pistachios into a bowl.

In a large jug, mix together the olive oil or melted butter, passion fruit purée, soured cream and vanilla.

Put the eggs, sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl, if using a hand-held whisk, or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk for 6–8 minutes until the batter is pale, has tripled in volume and the whisk leaves a ribbon trail.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the egg mixture in 3–4 goes, gently folding in after each addition with a large metal spoon. Take care not to deflate the batter.

Slowly drizzle the oil and passion fruit purée mixture into the batter and gently fold in. Make sure the batter is mixed properly and there is no liquid in the base of the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Gently tap the tin a couple of times on the counter to release any air pockets. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the ingredients in a small pan over a medium heat. Allow the sugar to dissolve, then simmer for 5–7 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Once the cake is cooked, leave it in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool slightly. Brush the syrup over the top and sides of the cake. Give it 2–3 coats for a lovely sheen, then leave the syrup to soak in and the cake to cool completely.

If using the ganache drizzle, wait for the cake to cool completely. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Warm the cream in a small pan over a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, then turn off the heat and stir in the passion fruit purée. Pour this over the chopped chocolate. Leave for 5 minutes, then stir to a glossy, runny ganache. Add the chopped pistachios. Pour the ganache over the cake so that it is completely encased. Decorate with more pistachios, if you wish.

Credit: My Little Cake Tin by Tarunima Sinha (Quadrille, £22) Photography by Kim Lightbody.

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