Gone Eatin’, Spiced Kiwi Cake

I intended to come here and talk about baked falafel.  I really did. But then I made this cake (for the fourth time).  Falafel. Cake. Falafel. Cake. Cake will win out on most days.  And today is no exception.  It’s a great falafel recipe and technically you do employ your oven, but let’s get things straight: it’s not cake. 

So the cake takes it. Not that I think the falafel minds much.  He’s sort of a hippie.  I imagine he’ll lean back, have another toke of whatever he’s smoking, and put his feet up.  That’s just how ground chickpeas roll. And I suggest you do the same.  Right after you put your cake pan in the oven.

As for this kiwi cake, a colleague I met through a work wellness program kindly passed along the recipe.  Though, I can no longer refer to her as a colleague. She is now my new friend with cake.  I knew we’d get along when she e-mailed me a picture of the shepherd’s pie-stuffed baked potato she made for dinner the night before.  This sort of thing makes me instantly take to a person. 

And when she flashed a photo of the cake she baked, I knew I needed the recipe.  As a disclaimer—per my modus operandi—I couldn’t keep from tinkering with it.  So this kiwi cake has found a few friends of its own along the way, including the company of ginger, coconut, coriander, and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.  I guess you could say it’s taken a trip to the Islands, mon.  Though getting there took a bit of work. 

I tried folding in pieces of kiwi.  I tried reducing the fat.  I used only white flour.  I baked it in loaf pans, petite Bundt cake tins, and glass pie plates.  In the end, I like it best as a large round cake and as a loaf.  The round cake is prettier.  But I’m a sucker for thick, square slices.  So I found a way to have my cake … and cake.

I’ve also found that my favorite part of this cake is the kiwi slices that sit just at its surface.  When baked, they taste a bit like thin, citrusy apples with crunchy little seeds.  It’s a note you get just at the top, leaving the body of the cake to reveal a tropic undercurrent.  A one-two punch. 

And it paired perfectly with my first charcoal grilled dinner of the year.  I made this yogurt-marinated chicken.  I drank a version of this dark and stormy.  And had slices of spiced kiwi cake for dessert.  It was quite a meal.  A meal that leads me to believe it's going to be a mighty fine grilling season. A breezy season.  With a strong undertow of ginger and rum.   

So I’m hanging a sign up on my door.  Gone grillin’.  And eatin’ kiwi cake.  With rum. Everything else will have to wait. 

Spiced Kiwi Cake


Butter for greasing
2 kiwis
1 cup whole milk 
1 cup of all purpose flour
1¼ cup whole wheat flour (see note)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar 
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp dark rum


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8 or 9-inch glass pie plate and a loaf pan.  Slice the ends of each kiwi and squeeze the juice from the ends into a liquid measuring cup with the milk; set aside. 

Slice the skin off each kiwi by standing it up lengthwise and running a sharp knife down the sides of the kiwi; then, slice the kiwi into very thin rounds (about 1/8 inch thick) and then set the slices aside.  Sift together the flours, baking power and soda, and spices into a medium bowl; add in the salt.  Beat the oil and sugar together in a stand mixer until it lightens a bit (about 3-5 minutes).  Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture on medium speed.

Turn the mixer to low and add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then ½ the milk, then another 1/3 of the flour, then the rest of the milk, and finally the rest of flour.  Mix a few more times until the flour is fully incorporated.  Fold in the ginger, coconut, extracts, and rum.  Pour the mixture into your greased pie pan until it is about ½ to 2/3 full.  Pour the rest of the batter into your greased loaf pan (you should have enough for a slightly smaller loaf).  Arrange your kiwi slices gently on top. Bake both for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. (You may want to start checking a little bit earlier, depending on the size of your baking receptacles.)

Yields one cake and one short loaf

-I used the buttermilk that is leftover after I make butter for this recipe.  It's a different sort than cultured buttermilk, so I've substituted whole milk in the ingredients.  

-I’ve found it is easy to overbake this cake, so be sure to watch it.  Take it out of the oven as soon as a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

-I’ve used 1¼ cups whole wheat flour and I’ve also used a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and white whole wheat flour.  I think I like plain old whole wheat best.

-I’ve had the kiwi slices sink in filled loaf pans, but never in round-shaped pans.  Filling the loaf pan only halfway with batter seemed to help prevent the kiwi from sinking, though I can’t be sure exactly why.  I suppose I could investigate.  Or I could just eat some more cake. (Be sure to slice the kiwis very thin though, otherwise they’ll sink: this much I do know.)


  1. "a mighty fine grilling season." Amen and amen. This does look amazing. I never even think to buy kiwi when I'm in the produce department, much to our family's loss. This looks absolutely fantastic.

  2. what a gorgeous cake. i love the incorporation of rum. the entire meal you paired with it sounds fantastic, mon. ;)

  3. Cake wins any day for me :) I've never baked with kiwi before!

  4. I'd like to have a slice of this cake...and a slice of a tropical vacation. :-)

  5. How tropical! I don't know why I never thought of baking with kiwi before. It's one of my favorite fruits!

  6. i've never seen kiwi baked into a cake before--nice job! now that i think about it, i don't think i've ever eaten kiwi any way except raw. methinks it's time for some experimentation!

  7. I have never baked kiwi in anything or seen kiwi baked in anything... sounds like an untapped world of kiwi cake out there. I must try this!

  8. Ah, "an undertow of ginger and rum." Sadly, the boyfriend is somewhat allergic to kiwis. Do you think that pineapple would be a poor substitute?

  9. Sounds so good! I love spiced cake, so adding kiwis just sounds that much better!

  10. Katie, I think pineapple would be wonderful in this! I'm not sure if they would sink or not, but you could try slicing them very thinly. I've had a few instances when my kiwi have sunk: the cake still tastes wonderful so it's really a win-win.

    Happy baking all! :)

  11. So delicious, particularly on a Saturday morning before playing basketball, but I didn't know it had rum! No wonder my jump shot was a bit off yesterday!