If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing celebration cake, this could be the one: two layers of passion fruit and coconut cake sandwiched with coconut and lime buttercream.

Equipment and preparation: you will need 2 x 20cm/8in springform cake tins and an electric hand-held whisk.


For the cakes

  • 350g/12oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 350g/12oz caster sugar
  • 4 passion fruit, pulp, and seeds scooped out
  • 250g/9oz rice flour
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum, available in many large supermarkets or online
  • 4 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • 100g/3½oz desiccated coconut

For the buttercream

  • 150g/5½oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g/7oz icing sugar
  • 2 unwaxed limes, zest only, grated
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 2 tsp white coconut-flavored rum (optional)

For the syrup

  • 2 passion fruit, pulp, and seeds scraped out
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/170C (fan)/Gas 4. Lightly butter 2x 20cm/8in springform cake tins and line with baking parchment.
  2. Using an electric hand-held whisk, cream the butter, sugar, and passion fruit in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the rice flour, xanthan gum, and baking powder.
  4. Add a spoonful of the flour mixture and one egg to the butter and sugar mixture, beating in thoroughly. Add the rest of the eggs, one by one, adding a spoonful of the flour mixture each time. Fold in the rest of the flour, and then fold in the desiccated coconut.
  5. Divide the mixture equally between the two tins and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. While the cakes are in the oven, make the buttercream by creaming together the butter, icing sugar, and lime zest in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  7. Add the coconut cream and coconut rum (if using) and beat until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  8. Shortly before the cakes are ready, make the syrup. Combine the passion fruit juice with the lime juice, then add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. ( You may need to heat in a small pan or give it a blast in the microwave in a heatproof jug.) Strain the syrup but reserve the passion fruit seeds.
  9. When the cakes are baked, remove them from the oven and prick them all over with a wooden skewer. Pour over the strained syrup and leave to cool in the tins.
  10. When the cakes are cool, turn out one of the layers onto the serving plate and spread or pipe over the coconut buttercream. Place the other cake layer on top.
  11. Scatter the passion fruit seeds in the middle of the cake, and cut them into slices to serve.