Dragon Fruit Cake


Dragon fruit won't win any awards for what it looks like on the outside, but the inside is a beauty. The magenta flesh is dotted with tiny black seeds. Some varieties have white flesh with black seeds. It's not very sweet, but has a nice texture. Dragon fruit, also called pitaya, is a cactus species. I used the juice to make a puree to swirl into the cake batter. Then I used more of it to make icing for the cake.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
10 servings


  • 1 dragon fruit, peeled and cubed

  • 1 ½ cups cake flour

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ cups white sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • ¾ tablespoon salt

  • 1 ½ cups white sugar

  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 4 eggs

  • ¾ cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • 2 tablespoons simple syrup, or to taste (Optional)

Dragon Fruit Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1 ¾ cups sifted confectioners' sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 (16 ounce) package vanilla buttercream frosting


  1. Place dragon fruit flesh in a blender or food processor and puree. Transfer puree to a bowl and set aside.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

  3. Sift cake flour, all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

  4. Cream 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup butter together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time; beat until yolks disappear.

  5. Combine milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract together in a cup and set aside.

  6. Add 1/2 the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture, beating until just combined. Add 1/2 the milk mixture. Add remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add remaining milk mixture and stir until mixed thoroughly. Add 1/2 cup dragon fruit puree and very lightly swirl into the cake batter.

  7. Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.

  8. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

  9. Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes; turn out onto wax-paper lined racks and cool 5 minutes more. Brush tops and sides of cakes with simple syrup.

  10. While cakes are cooling completely, beat cream cheese and butter together in a bowl until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar slowly and beat 3 minutes more. Add vanilla and 2 tablespoons dragon fruit puree, beating until combined and puree is completely incorporated.

  11. Place one cake layer top-side up on a serving plate; place strips of waxed paper under the edges of the cake to keep the plate clean. Spread approximately 1/2 the vanilla buttercream frosting on top. Top with the second layer, bottom-side up, and lightly frost the top and sides with remaining vanilla buttercream frosting.

  12. Apply dragon fruit cream cheese icing to the top and sides of the cake, leaving some of the vanilla buttercream frosting showing through.

Cook's Notes:

Try to find pink-fleshed dragon fruit. White is more common, but the pink one gives the frosting the nice pink hue.

Simple syrup is an equal mixture of sugar and water, cooked over high heat until it comes to a boil.

Leftover dragon fruit puree keeps well in the refrigerator for up to five days and can be used as a topping for ice cream or oatmeal or to make smoothies.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

934 Calories
35g Fat
150g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 934
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 35g 45%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Cholesterol 134mg 45%
Sodium 923mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 150g 55%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 112g
Protein 8g
Calcium 110mg 8%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 132mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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