The Lilikoi or passion fruit is a favorite in the islands with its sweet/tart flavor and versatility. From cakes to marinades there is always room for a little lilikoi.

There are several varieties of passion fruit with colors ranging from red to purple to yellow. The lilikoi that grows in most backyards in Hawaii is yellow when ripe.

Lilikoi is a fast-growing, strong vine that is a perfect complement to your back fence.

Harvest time? Easy, just wait until the fruit drops on the ground, then pick it up!

Regardless of the color on the outside, its the inside that is the exciting part of this fruit.


Lucious pulp and seeds can be eaten as is or scooped out and used to make Lilikoi Cake!

Don’t have lilikoi fruit in your neighborhood? No worries, you can use store-bought lilikoi juice. Here are some online sources if you don’t have it in your local grocery store.

You will need to make this Lilikoi Cake recipe the night before as it needs time to set and chill for all those yummy flavors to have a chance to sparkle.

To make it a chiffon cake (extra yummy!) simply use any chiffon cake recipe and substitute lilikoi juice for some or all of the water. More juice will add a bit of tartness whereas less will add a more subtle flavor to the cake.

We are using a basic yellow cake mix and purchased juice for a more mainland-friendly recipe.

If you have lilikoi fruit here is a video on how to make your own lilikoi juice from The Amazing Garden. 

Lilikoi Cake

• 1 package moist yellow cake mix
• 1-1/3 cup lilikoi juice
• 3 eggs
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Bake cake according to package directions. Make two round layers. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool thoroughly.

Lilikoi Frosting 

• 4 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 3/4 cup lilikoi juice concentrate undiluted
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg yolks and sugar until lemon-colored; add lilikoi juice, place in saucepan and cook over low-to-medium heat until thick, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and chill. Whip cream and vanilla, then fold into lilikoi mixture.

Gel Topping

• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/2 cup water
• Pinch salt
• 12-ounce can Lilikoi juice
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 slightly beaten egg yolk
• 1 tablespoon butter

Mix cornstarch with water to dissolve all lumps. Add salt, lilikoi and lemon juices and egg yolk. Cook over low heat until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add butter. Spread when slightly cooled but still warm.


Frost between layers then thickly frost sides of cake. (Tip: Make whip cream, using a little juice for flavor just for the center of the cake and use all the lilikoi frosting for the outside of the cake). Glaze the top of the cake with lilikoi gel. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Lilikoi Cake Variations



This scrumptious variation from Little Oven, a dessert restaurant in Honolulu, has the gel drizzled on top of the cake with shredded coconut.



Ohana Hawaiian Cafe in Portland, Oregon uses frosting on the outside but puts the gel inbetween layers for a super moist cake. 


And just to get your creative juices flowing here is a Lilikoi Tart from Cake Works Hawaii. Enjoy exploring different ways to make this Hawaiian recipe staple a part of your everyday eating! 


Eat Polynesia with ALOHA!

Susan Noanoa

Author’s Bio


Susan Kunz is a long time resident of Laie.

Originally from Samoa, she has had a long

love affair with Hawaiian food with Lomi Lomi

Salmon being one of her favorites. She

currently works at the Polynesian Cultural

Center and enjoys spending time with her

husband and the five of her eight

children who still live in Hawaii plus two of her

five grandchildren.