Great! You’re here! Get ready to try our delicious Ripe Breadfruit Citrus Cake recipe. A ripe breadfruit cake to wow any cake fan, our recipe has hints of citrus and nutmeg, making a perfect accompaniment for tea, coffee or a mid-morning break and if you’re looking for a conversation starter, you need look no further.
The humble breadfruit is only just making its way onto many people’s ingredient-radar, using ripe breadfruit is even more exciting as many people don’t realise a soft ripe breadfruit is still perfectly edible and can now be used a delicious dessert course ingredient!
Eating ripe breadfruit is not exactly a Saint Lucian tradition, but it is a common frustration we all experience when a perfectly firm breadfruit suddenly turns squishy while you were taking a nap. Fret no more! We’re confident this simple and delicious recipe will have you leaving your breadfruit to get ripe on purpose.
For those unfamiliar with breadfruit, it was brought from “Polynesia” to the Caribbean, or as it was then exclusively known as, the “West Indies”, in colonial times. Infamously associated with Captain Bligh and the Mutiny on the Bounty, it was believed the abundant, starchy fruit would be the ‘perfect’ (read cheap and easy) way to feed enslaved peoples in the West Indies. Captain Bligh didn’t get his cargo of breadfruit plants safely to Saint Lucia on that fateful journey, but someone did, and it has become a staple of local Saint Lucian Creole food.
So what is a breadfruit anyway?
The scientific name for Breadfruit is Artocarpus altilis (or communis), a member of the Mulberry family and close relative of the better-known Jack Fruit. Also a little less closely related to the ubiquitous tropical favourite, the hibiscus! There are well over 200 varieties of breadfruit with at least 20 grown in Saint Lucia. The tree is fast growing and with it’s large, deeply lobed, lush green leaves and 8-10″ wide round fruit, has to be the biggest generator of the curious question from visitors on a Caribbean holiday, “What’s that tree?”.
Normally you’ll find breadfruit served boiled and sliced as part of the serving of “hard food” which includes many “ground provisions” such as yam, sweet potato, dasheen (taro). Your meal in Saint Lucia is not considered complete without “hard food”, which can also, somewhat confusingly, be called just “food”. Keto diet and low-carb eaters may find themselves wondering why while they’re tucking into a plate piled high with meat and veg, they are asked incredulously, “Aren’t you having any food?”
And you can eat ripe breadfruit?
But on to our recipe! Fully ripe breadfruit is super-sweet and sticky and can be eaten raw. But we prefer to transform that super deliciousness into a fabulous dessert cake and for this, our first, ripe breadfruit recipe, we decided to make our own version of a breadfruit cake recipe from St. Vincent that we found on a Caribbean cooking site .
If I’m honest, this was a diversion from my original plan to make Breadfruit Punch (yes, don’t worry, recipe coming soon!). I bought a lovely small breadfruit and checked it for ripeness at 10:30 pm on Saturday evening. It was fine. Or so I thought! By 5am the next morning it was soft as mush! That’s the power of Hurricane Season Caribbean nights! Hot and humid and able to transform a breadfruit from “hard food” to “sweet sticky thing” overnight!
Speaking of sweetness…I always try to limit use of sugar and sweetners, and this ripe breadfruit tasted so gorgeously sweet that I decided to cut out a 1/4 of the sugar and all of the vanilla.
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And with that little introduction to the pleasures of sweet ripe breadfruit…on to the baking folks! Enjoy! and DO drop back and tell us how your baking went!
Ripe Breadfruit Citrus Cake
A light, creamy, fluffy cake made with fully-ripe breadfruit and delicous tangy citrus. You won’t believe it’s breadfruit!
- 5 oz all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 oz butter
- 1 1/2 oz muscovado sugar (or other brown sugar)
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1 cup very ripe breadfruit (breadfruit should be very soft to the touch)
- 2 tsp lime zest
- 4 tbsp orange juice
Cut ripe breadfruit lengthwise and remove the core
Preheat oven to 350F or 175C
Grease and flour a pan loaf tin or 6″ / 15cm round tin and set aside
Separate the ripe flesh using a scissors to cut it near the skin, then scoop out with a spoon, measure one cup and set aside. You can keep the remaining flesh in the fridge in an airtight container to use with a day or so for other delicious ripe breadfruit recipes!
Grate fresh nutmeg and zest (or use dried zest as I did in this recipe), Freshly ground nutmeg is always the most flavourful but if you don’t have access to whole nutmeg, ground nutmeg will be fine!
Measure remaining dry ingredients – flour, baking powder and salt – mix well together and set aside in a container that you can easily pour from
Cream butter on ‘high’ until fluffy, then add sugar and continue to cream until the sugar has melted into the butter and the mixture is fluffy again
Beat the two eggs well then gradually add them to the butter and sugar mix with the beater still on ‘high’
Add the soft breadfruit and let it blend with the mix – it might climb up your beaters, just keep an eye and scrape down if needed. Also scrape down the sides as necessary. Turn beater to lower setting now
Add flour in small increments with beater on low and once fully incorporated, quickly. Scrape batter down if necessary, but don’t beat to long at this stage
Drizzle in orange juice. You want the mix to be soft and able to just drop off a spoon, so add orange juice until you’re happy with the consistency.
Scrape into your baking tin and smooth out with your spatula. If you take time to really smooth the top here, you’ll be rewarded with a smooth cake top! It may split, but the rest will have a lovely sheen. Or do like me and go a bit rough!
Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes. Test with a bamboo skewer in the centre for doneness – once it comes out dry, place on a wire rack to cool for 10 -15 minutes, then turn out and let cool some more.
Serve plain with your afternoon tea, double-up the citrus with homemade Sour Orange Marmalade or add your favourite jam and some clotted cream for a delicious version to traditional English tea!
Heena and Jason says
What a brilliant article! Everything we ever wanted to know about the versatile but humble breadfruit is right on this page. Thank you for sharing the recipe, can’t wait to give it a go???
Finola Jennings Clark says
Thank you Heena and Jason! Haha, I feel like I should take that up as a challenge and spend some fun time in the kitchen cooking up new “surprise things you didn’t know you could do with breadfruit!” 😀