Citrus Passion Cake – Happy Birthday Mama Green Thumb


My mom and I both have strong personalities and we are forever butting heads in the valley of our similarities; when we sit at the top of our individual peaks, thunder and lightning crackle with every contradiction. But our love is just as fierce and as I mature, my appreciation ages in direct proportion. Her sharp wit and effortless shade couldn’t be taught or bought; like when I’m wearing bright red lipstick and she asks “wey yuh buss yuh mouth?”. Seriously, where does she come up with these things?


I love her tenacity and strength.  “Best Leftover Tips and Tricks” is an ode to her ability to turn every meal into a trophy. There’s no plan. Sometimes fruit became jam; another day, it’s added to pepper sauce. And most of the fruits and vegetables on this site and social media platforms are nurtured by her, even the cocoa and nutmeg. Actually both my parent own green thumbs. They love the sweat of gardening and well, in my denial of last child dethronal, I help them enjoy the sweet taste of the harvest.


So you see, Mama Green Thumb  is very much a part of Isle of Bites as I am and this year she celebrates a special birthday milestone.  But she isn’t a fan of brightly coloured cakes and icing of any kind, so I figured I could handle the baking myself.  After some “discussion”, we agreed on a thick fruit-flavored cake.  She said and I quote “I need to feel like I’m cutting into something”. And I was yet to be daunted.


By gentling toeing the line of her restrictions and following her habit of utilizing the things around us, I came up with a Citrus Passion Cake.  A traditional plain cake infused with Seville and Bergamot Orange flavour, spiced with ground Cinnamon and soaked in Passion Fruit Simple Syrup . For decorations and trimmings, I opted for fresh, edible bouganvillea flowers, locally grown grapes by Papa Green Thumb and a fine coat of confectioner’s sugar.


I really love baking especially when it comes to experimenting with flavours. I love the process of conceptualising because it’s very similar to way I approach life. Once I prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit, I stayed aware of whatever ingredient and idea would cross my path. The passion fruits showed up about a week ago, which gave me enough time to soak the pulp before making the simple syrup. And Papa Green Thumb gifted me with grapes on that said day. If you are Grenadian, you will know that bougainvillea grows everywhere and there are so many stunning varieties to choose from. I picked wisely. And was rewarded with a very satisfied Mama.



A couple notes on the ingredients:

  • In preparing the Seville Orange  juice, simply cut fruit in half and squeeze; do not remove the rind. The rind enriches its flavor and allows you to store the juice for longer periods because it neutralizes the factors responsible for spoilage.
  • Citron Peel can be grated or used whole however, I love to beat my eggs with a whole peel so the citron doesn’t overpower the other ingredients of the cake. But remember to remove it from the cake batter before baking.
  • My mom loves cinnamon in everything so that was non-negociatable. However it’s quite optional for you.
  • Orange and yellow ripples can be achieved with food coloring to your desired colour intensity.
  • Since I’m using an old family recipe, ingredients will be listed in ounces.



Citrus Passion Cake

Cake using fresh citrus and passion fruit flavours, decorated with locally grown grapes and edible bougainvillea flowers. Make 2 8" x 4" round cakes

Course Dessert
Cuisine Caribbean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Author Kizzy Rennie



  • 18 oz White Flour
  • 23 oz White Sugar
  • 12 oz Unsalted Butter
  • 6 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup Seville Orange Jucie + 1/3 cup water + 3tbsp milk
  • Peel of one Citron
  • Food Colouring - orange yellow
  • Confectioner's Sugar

Passion Fruit Simple Syrup

  • 1 part Passion Fruit Juice
  • 1 part Sugar



  1. Preheat oven at 375 C and prepare two 8" round tins with greasing agent of your choice.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into one bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and almost white.
  4. Add citron peel and egg, one at a time, beating each for about 90 secs. Yes I still beat my eggs manually. With a wooden spoon.
  5. Add juice and dry mix alternately starting with dry. Mix until just incorporated.
  6. In two smaller bowls, add desired drops of colouring and add 1 cup of batter into each. Fold unto colour is well distributed.
  7. In prepared tins, pour in a third of batter. Place dots of orange and yellow batter and swirl with a knife.
  8. Repeat step 7 and cover with remaining batter.
  9. Bake for 50-60 mins until golden brown or tooth pick inserted at the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool for ten minutes before removing from tin.

Passion Fruit Syrup

  1. Simply place passion fruit juice and sugar on medium heat until sugar completely melts and remove from heat after mixture boils for a mintue. Don't over heat or else it will be too thick and sweet for this cake.
  2. Allow liquid to cool and transfer to a noozled bottle
  3. Apply syrup to the top of cake and allow about 12 hours to soak through.

To Decorate

  1. Flip the cake bottoms up unto a special plate. Arrange flowers and fruit to your fancy and lightly dust with confectioner's sugar to finish off.


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