Classic Vanilla Birthday Cake Layered with Passion Fruit Curd + Honey Whipped Cream

Classic Vanilla + Passion Fruit Curd Whipped Cream Layered CakeThere was a birthday in the house this weekend! January is filled with birthdays in my family, and it ends with my mother’s. This year is was on a Sunday, and it was the perfect day to lazily make lobster stew, which is coming later this week, and finish off a birthday cake! 

Call me picky, or maybe it’s because I just don’t love cake, but I never really like my vanilla cake. I never could quite perfect it, it seems. I had four go to recipes, but I didn’t really love them. So, I’ve been testing and working on nailing my perfect vanilla cake. A classic vanilla cake that is moist and crumbling, yet sturdier and dense like pound cake but lighter as well.  And I think I finally nailed it! At least everyone that ate a slice for my mother’s birthday raved about it, so I value their opinion since they like cake. Actually some are just as picky as I am, and I still got their approval. This definitely that classic vanilla birthday cake I was aiming for!Classic Vanilla + Passion Fruit Curd Whipped Cream Layered CakeSince I was making this for family, I of course wanted to make it a bit healthier, and so I replaced half the flour with whole wheat flour. And you know what, that’s what they loved about the cake’s flavor. The whole wheat flour’s subtle nuttiness is what makes the simple flavor a bit more special. It gives a commonly sugary vanilla cake a bit of warmth and depth. Thank you Joy for your great cake recipe, it’s becoming one of my staples! Classic Vanilla + Passion Fruit Curd Whipped Cream Layered CakeI still can’t decide if I should keep using the whole wheat flour when I make it in the future. It really did make the cake taste noticeably delicious. Next birthday I’m totally making this cake again. It really is a simple and quick cake to make, bake, and cooling. Take the time to make you favorite decadent buttercream if you’d like, but I wanted it simple, and we don’t really like frosting in this house. I know, no frosting that’s the best part of the cake, but since I don’t enjoy high sugar processed desserts I can’t seem to enjoy it. We don’t like cakes with extra sweet fillings and puddings, we just like a good cake. Another reason why I probably don’t like cake, I don’t like frosting or fillings. I prefer a piece of simple dry cake over anything covered, but those don’t really make pretty cakes, especially for a birthday!Classic Vanilla + Passion Fruit Curd Whipped Cream Layered CakeBirthday cake should be homemade, made with love, and nothing fancy. Sometimes a single layer sheet cake will do, or sometimes rounds layered with curd and whipped cream are just what the birthday calls for! Birthday cake somehow always becomes messy when you slice into it, but that’s okay in my book. Some say you can’t have a birthday cake without sprinkles, debatable, flowers make the prettiest cake toppers. But remember, serve your homemade birthday cake with a card, and handwritten note. There really is nothing sweeter and better on your birthday than your favorite flavored homemade cake , and a few heartfelt words from loved ones. 

So if you, or someone you love, is celebrating another year older, Happy Birthday!

Now this buttermilk vanilla cake is what makes it. It’s actually a vanilla cake I really like! It’s tender, moist dense, and fluffy. The kind of deliciously simple cake that doesn’t require anything else to make it better, my kind of cake for sure. 

Can you tell I’m on a curd fix. First it was these lemon curd pies for National Pie Day, now I have passion fruit curd for you. Passion fruit is my mother’s favorite fruit flavor, it reminds her of summer’s alongside Angola’s beaches growing up as a child in Africa. She’s known for her passion fruit mousse that is always a hit whenever she makes it. So you can say it’s her flavor, and I had to make her favorite for her birthday.

The passion fruit curd is more like pudding than a citrusy bitter curd. I think that was my fault, I may have added a bit more cornstarch than needed. Guess when I doubled the recipe, my math may have been off. Maybe no cornstarch next time, or just a tablespoon, but if you’re actually are thinking of using it as filling layers in a cake, you will want this curd to have a thick sturdy pudding like texture. You don’t want soggy cake layers after all, and that’s what the simple syrup brushing is for too. {The amount listed in the recipe below is already reduced from when I made it}Classic Vanilla + Passion Fruit Curd Whipped Cream Layered CakeIt’s often an added step that most simply don’t do, I’m guilty of it, but it really is important in sealing the cake. It’s what professionals always do, and it ensures your filling doesn’t seep through the cake causing your layers to mush together. This is especially important when you make fondant covered cakes. 

The curd is a creamier milder take on the pungent passion fruit flavor, so the cake definitely needed a brushing of the bitter passion fruit reduction to bring out the tropical fruit’s flavor. 

My whipped cream is on the less sweeter end of frostings, personally because I prefer one that isn’t as sweet as the dessert it’s topping. It should add to the desserts flavors, not just add extra sweetness. And since I’m always looking for ways to make healthier swaps in my desserts, I used honey to sweeten this whipped cream. I actually licked the spoon more than I’ve ever licked a whipped cream spoon, I just don’t enjoy that much, but this one I did. Definitely add more honey if you prefer a sweeter whipped cream. Classic Vanilla + Passion Fruit Curd Whipped Cream Layered CakeClassic Vanilla + Passion Fruit Curd Whipped Cream Layered Cake

I kept my cake on the naked decorated side, because I just love naked cakes, but I’m also working on different naked cake stylings for a wedding this summer. 

Classic Vanilla + Passion Fruit Curd Whipped Cream Layered CakeI did think back to the sprinkles, but I looked over at the beautiful flat leaf eucalyptus in the dining room, and couldn’t resist sticking to my style and simply placing a stem atop this special birthday cake. Classic Vanilla + Passion Fruit Curd Whipped Cream Layered Cake

Classic Vanilla Cake

Ingredients {Makes One-2 layer 9″ cake or 24 Cupcakes}

1/2 cup {1 stick} – Unsalted Butter {room temperature}

1 1/2 cups – Organic Cane Sugar {you can use regular granulated sugar}

3 large – Eggs

1 teaspoon – Pure Vanilla Extract

2 1/4 cups – All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons – Baking Powder

1 teaspoon – Baking Soda

1 teaspoon – Kosher Salt

1 1/4 cups – Buttermilk 

Passion Fruit Curd, recipe below

Honey Whipped Cream, recipe below

Passion Fruit Reduction Syrup, recipe below


Preheat oven to 350* F. Butter two 9″ round cake pans, and line the bottom with parchment paper, and sprinkle with flour to cover completely. Tap out excess flour. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy {about 3 to 5 minutes}.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing really well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet, in two batches alternating with the buttermilk, and beat on low until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes more.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake,rotating halfway, until the top springs back lightly to touch, and toothpick or skewer comes out clean from cake {about 30 minutes}.  

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run your knife to loosen the cake, and invert from pan onto rack to cool completely. Let cool completely before frosting.

With a long serrated knife, slice the tops of both cake layers, to create a level top. Slice each cake layer in half, so you will end up with four layers. {You can simply just make this a two layer cake. If so, then half both the curd and whipped cream recipe}

Brush each layer with the passion fruit reduction, then spoon about 1/2 cup of the curd atop. With a flat spatula smooth curd evenly over layer. Top with 1/2 cup of the whipped cream, and smooth evenly. Repeat until placing the top cake layer atop, with the bottom facing up. Top with 1/2 cup of the curd, smooth evenly, then top with 1/2 cup of whipped cream. Spread top evenly then frost the sides. 

Decorate top with flowers, or sprinkles, and a candle, and sing Happy Birthday!

Passion Fruit Curd


1 cup – Organic Cane Sugar {you can use regular granulated sugar}

5 tablespoons – Cornstarch

1/2 cup – Passion Fruit Concentrate

8 large – Eggs Yolks

Pinch of Kosher Salt 

1 1/4 sticks {10 tablespoons} – Unsalted Butter {cut into pieces}


In a bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together, then stir in 2 cups of water. Miix until smooth, and all the lumps have been removed. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir the passion fruit concentrate, egg yolks, and salt. Stir in the cornstarch sugar mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat, and whisk in the butter. Pour filling into a bowl, and set aside to cool completely, stirring occasionally. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the curd, to prevent a skin from forming. Once cooled to room temperature, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm {at least 1 hour}.

Honey Whipped Cream

Ingredients {Makes 2 cups}

2 cups – Heavy Cream

3 tablespoons – Raw Organic Honey

1 teaspoon – Pure Vanilla Extract


In the bowl of an electric mixer, with a whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream on medium speed for 2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla and honey, then turn up speed to medium-high. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate, if not using right away. 

Passion Fruit Reduction

Ingredients {Makes 2 cups}

1 1/2 cups – Passion Fruit Concentrate

1/4 cup – Raw Organic Honey

1/4 cup – Water


In a small saucepan, cook the passion fruit concentrate, honey and water of medium heat, whisking occasionally. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook until reduced halfway, and slightly thicker. Remove from heat and place into bowl. If not using right away, cool to room temperature, then wrap with plastic and refrigerate. Allow to cool completely before using on cake. 


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