A deliciously moist and quick cake to satisfy some desire for sweetness. Mix all together and put into the oven and by the time you’ve wiped the counter and made a fresh pot of coffee, your cake will be ready. Dust swaggeringly with icing sugar, put onto a fancy platter and voila…an appealing and flirtatious invitation on a plate… a Valentine one…


  • Don’t overwork the batter! It is a light mixing of all the ingredients together…NO creaming of the sugar and butter etc beforehand.
  • The amount of flour is CORRECT! The amount IS enough to bind the cake…It doesn’t have much flour, therefore the moistness of the cake. It is not a light, fluffy cake.
  • See to it that your butter is very soft.
  • Be careful of too much lemon juice, for the passion fruit already has some sourness.
  • One medium passionfruit gives about 30 ml (1,015 fl ounces) of juice.
  • Any other exotic fruit can used instead of passion fruit…pineapple coulis, mango coulis…
  • Use about 180 ml (6.09 fl ounces)of mango(or pineapple) puree/coulis for the equivalent of 6 passionfruit.
  • Don’t skip the dusting of icing sugar, it rounds off the cake and adds a little zing to the taste.
  • The cake can be served as a dessert as well, along with some fresh strawberries or a glass of fruit salad.
  • It is even tastier the next day.
  • It can be served slightly warm with a dollop of whipped cream…if the hips allow!
  • If the hips are struggling, lock the rest of the cake away and go leave the keys with your strictest neighbour.

This is a recipe from Meilleurs desserts from Marabout chef.

In a previous post I talked about my love for fabric napkins. A while ago Madame Brocante held these beautiful napkin holders aside for me at our local Sunday brocante. They were used for everyday fabric napkins. Every member of the family gets a napkin and a holder/pocket which belongs to him/her. Usually each family member’s name was embroidered on the holder to distinguish it from the other napking holders. With each meal you would get your same napkin and you would use it again until it is dirty enough to be washed. In ancient times, washing was a difficult and tiresome, not to mention long and elbow grease process, so it didn’t happen daily or even weekly like we are so used to today.These poches are still very much in use for everyday family meals at home here in France. Unless you are really a pig, you don’t smear a napkin so dirty in one meal, so keeping your own napkin for a next meal is economic on washing and wear and tear and easier on the environment. So each napkin pocket stores its individual napkin, reused for a meal or two or three, before being filled with a clean one for the next few meals. The table is set with a napkin in its napkin holder beside each plate. Handy and beautiful at the same time.

To make these little napkin/holders/pockets, are SO easy and the decoration can be played around with to your heart’s content. Use colourful fabrics, embroider your family members’ name on each , use lace or ribbons or do some cross stitching to give each owner his/her own pocket/holder. Make a double set of holders…one on the table and one in the wash. They make for good gifts as well, along with a set of napkins,  signed with your own little logo!

From the scribblings in my notebook you can get an idea of how they fold and stitch together. But go and sit and work it out yourself and make it according to your size napkins and your desires!

If you have a meal consisiting of food to be eaten with your hands, especially seafood, or maybe ribs, or chicken wings…then stay away from your lovely napkins! And definitely from paper napkins! Ususally your host or yourself will place a small bowl of water with a lemon slice or even a flower or mint next to each plate. But I have found that men with big hands tend to struggle with the little bowl of water and I am always afraid of splashing my water all over the table…. I prefer to serve a warm face cloth or dish cloth, wrapped in foil alongside each plate.

Wet your cloths with hot water, wring,  place a lemon slice with mint or another fresh herb, or a flower decoration on the cloth , wrap them warm in foil and keep in a warm oven until the meal is on hand. Decorate each parcel with a sprig of herb or flower or slice of lemon, depending on your season. Place each warm parcel in little bowls by each plate and thus providing each guest his/her own warm foil parcel. By the time they use it, the foil will have cooled down, but the cloth inside will still be warm. Guests, usually enjoy the little attention and detail and especially the warm cloth/napkin.

For entertaining outdoors, a good and fun idea can be to provide a stand or table or even chair with a bowl or any other interesting container of fresh water, filled with lemon, mint, flowers. Make a tap/faucet from a small watering can…..hang small towels close by…, some hand cream for the ladies….be creative and make it inviting and fun to rinse those hands after digging into a good al fresco meal!

Trucs et astuces de nos grands-mères.

  • To get your hortensias/hydrangeas blue, bury some rusted nails close by the roots. Do it early in the spring season.

25 thoughts on “Coconut and passionfruit cake and little details.

  1. Allô c’est moi!
    Mais que c’est beau içi..Your new/old napkins are beautiful..I love the history of the names and the pockets..Your tutorial is wonderful and I may just try my luck one day~ I see the French red initials peeking out♥
    Your lemon packets are too sweet..I ma having a friend for dinner..we are just having Fondue though:( Do you think I could do it?Guess not:)
    I love the recipe on the board.. génial.

    I have never once cooked or baked with passionfruit..how appropriate for Valentines..I must try that also..
    When you write,photo and paint your book..I am on that list to buy it.


  2. This beautiful post was well worth waiting for ~ the Coconut Passionfruit cake recipe is tucked away. Thank you. And for the delightful remaining post, and your keen attention to detail, making ‘your French kitchen’, something special. Happy Valentine’s Day!♡♥Hearts♥♡


  3. Love all these napkins, ideas, and recipe.

    In our family we always use cloth napkins and each family member has his or her own antique napkin ring. Even Moses, my not quite 3 year old knows which napkin ring belongs to him. He loves the tradition of tugging out the nappy and spreading it on his lap.

    Love and happy Valentine’s day,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island


  4. I love that last photo, with the old enamel basin and pitcher. It brings back memories!


  5. I have so been missing you and here you were the whole time!!! Sadly I am going to bed with my mouth watering for a piece of this delicious looking dessert. Happy Valentine Day xoxo bisous!


  6. This coconut cake looks awesome, I love passion fruit, but somehow here is almost impossible to find it. Loved the vintage napkins they look so romantic.


  7. The cake is already in the oven for Sunday tea. I hope it lokks as good as yours as I substituted mago. So far it looks Ok though.
    What a wonderful little tidbit of ettiquette history, Charming!


  8. what a lovely blog u have an dhtis post is absolutely charming…the cake the napkins and the way the recipe was written out!!!! enchanting!

    ^^ tq for dropping by m glad i found u!!


  9. Dear Ronelle

    Is there a way that I can email you and share about how much your blog has blessed me…..would love to write you a letter! Please let me know!


  10. Dear Ronelle

    Sorry….I just wrote you a long email and it came back twice saying that it was rejected because it contains prohibited virus or spam content….is there another way?


  11. Oh my, you’ve discovered my weakness. Passionfruit! and it just so happens that on the 6 vines I have growing in the backyard, there are some ready for picking. I’ll make this later in the week, maybe when my chef son visits on Thursday.

    I love cloth napkins too and it takes me about two days of meals to have my napkin ready for washing. Those pouches are divine.

    I send my best to you from Australia.


  12. Ronelle, what a rich post! A coconut and passionfruit cake (oh, my!), napkin holders, and finger cloths. In Japan, there’s always a warm damp cloth to wash your hands before a meal. I loved that, and I miss it.

    We use napkin rings at our house–I have a collection of them, all different! We use our napkins till they need to be washed, then replace them with fresh ones. I love the napkin rings–I change mine from time to time, but Dan keeps the same one–it’s ‘his’.

    Let’s talk about this cake. Oh. This looks amazing. A burst of sunshine from the tropics to brighten February.

    Thanks for a wonderful post!


  13. Dear Ronelle,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful cake! I came across your delightful website completely by chance while searching for new recipes for coconut cake. I had a special reason for this search as coconut is the all time favorite of my grandmother. However at the grand old age of 93, this grand old lady has a the appetite of a bird, so I took the libertey of using your resipe to make 16 little cakes to be nibbled over a cup of tea. In the space of a quiet afternoon (and with a little help from a great-grandchild) she managed to nibble all the little cakes away to the last crumb.
    So thank you again for this most excellent cake!


  14. I have 6 passion fruit going wrinkly in my fruit bowl! found your recipe and voila! my cake is in the oven. this is now July but passion isn’t just for Valentines Day is it?


  15. Your napkins reminded me of my beautiful venetian tablecloth, bought over 25 years ago when i was an au pair in paris, and my friend, Liza Zador & i treked off to venice for a week. The tablecloth has been used once, i think, and is still in its original envelope… waiting for that special occasion.

    Going to make the cake though… sounds fab


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