A very dear friend left Opera Australia this week.
In true opera company style and in acknowledgment of her 20 years working for the company – the farewell party for her was bigger than Ben Hur: A rehearsal studio was sumptuously decorated with Persian rugs, gold tables, chaise lounges, a massive floral arrangement and large floor to ceiling velvet drapes. A wonderful performance by a stellar Opera Australia leading lady was then followed by the most heartfelt speeches. In short, it was touching.
Many hands make light work at Opera Australia and so a handful of very talented staff all pitched in to make the night special. Upon returning from holidays the celebrations were under control but wanting to contribute in some small way I decided to make a Passion Fruit Layer Cake that guests could eat following the spectacular savory tidbits on offer.
It was a risk given I had never made it and wouldn’t be able to try it before it was served to see if it was any good. But I seem to enjoy fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants situations.
The cake was made the night before and decorated wish fresh flowers at the event just prior to serving (hence the single iPhone photo of the complete decorated cake below right). The florist left me some spectacular flowers to top the cake with and they hid a multitude of icing sins (methinks an icing lesson might be in order – anyone want to teach me?).
The cake itself was a triumph – phew! My Opera Australia foodie friends enjoyed it (you know who you are) with the main comments focusing on the great texture of the cake, the sweet passion fruit syrup and the cream cheese icing.
The general consensus was it had just the right amount of sweetness. I am guessing the very sweet syrup was offset by the cream cheese and sour cream frosting. I will definitely make this again and will maybe try making little individual ones next time – I think it could work.
PASSION FRUIT LAYER CAKE
Adapted from Taste
2 cups caster sugar
2 tbs finely grated lemon rind
3 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup (125ml) fresh passionfruit pulp
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1 cup icing sugar mixture
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and side of two 22cm round cake pans with baking paper.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, caster sugar and lemon rind together until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the flour and stir to combine. Add the lemon juice and 1 cup of the sour cream and stir until just combined.
Spoon the mixture evenly among the lined pans. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centres comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes before turning on to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the passionfruit syrup, combine the passionfruit and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and remaining sour cream together until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat until well combined.
Use a serrated knife to split each cake in half. Place a cake layer on a serving plate. Drizzle with one-third of the passion fruit syrup. Spread with one-quarter of the cream cheese icing. Continue layering with remaining cake layers, passion fruit syrup and cream cheese icing. Decorate the top with fresh flowers and serve.