Vegan papaya cake with a flavorful and crunchy coconut crumble topping. This cake is delightfully fluffy, has a beautiful crumb and tastes like a tropical island. It's the perfect afternoon treat with a cup of tea!
Why you'll love this papaya cake
Compared to pawpaw, payaya is sweeter, has a gentle tropical flavor, with a similar flavor profile to cantaloupe / rockmelon. Papaya is wonderful in cakes, no-bake desserts such as my papaya lime bars and papaya cheesecake!
In this recipe, the papaya gives the cake moisture, a beautiful golden hue and a fun tropical flavor. I added coconut to bring out the tropical flavor and textures!
I also added topped the cake with papaya. When baked, the papaya tastes like a beautiful chewy candy-like treat!
If you're still not a fan of papaya, check out my apple crumble tea cake.
Ingredients you'll need for this recipe
You'll need some basic pantry staples to make the papaya cake including:
Notes about the ingredients
Fresh papaya which goes inside the cake and on top of the cake. This recipe is perfect for using leftover and excess ripe papaya!
Desiccated and flaked coconut. The desiccated coconut makes the cake fluffier and the flaked coconut on top of the cake adds texture.
Coconut oil or vegan butter which is used for the crumb topping.
Apple cider vinegar or any other type of vinegar is optional and you cannot taste it in the final cake! The acid improves the crumb of the cake and makes it slightly more soft and tender!
This cake has no eggs but is delightfully fluffy and moist. The papaya puree actually adds moisture and acts as a binder. Also, there are enough raising agents in the cake to make it fluffy!
A complete list of ingredients, quantities and instructions are in the gray recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How do you make a papaya cake
First, add all your dry cake ingredients to a large bowl (flour, sugar, desiccated coconut, baking powder and salt). Whisk the ingredients until combined so there are no large lumps.
Blend the papaya with the liquid ingredients (oil, milk and vinegar) until there are no big chunks. Then add the papaya mixture to your dry ingredients. Mix until combined!
The batter should be relatively thick like a loose paste. You can see the batter's texture in picture #3 in the collage below!
Add your thick cake batter to a lined or greased cake pan and smooth the surface.
Now you can make the crumble! You can do this in the same bowl you used for the cake batter or use a clean one.
To make the crumble, add all the ingredients to your bowl and mix using your fingertips or a spoon. The mixture should resemble coarse and lumpy crumbs.
Top your cake with the crumble and chopped papaya then bake the cake! This cake smells WONDERFUL while it's baking!
Yes of course! Bake the cake as-is for 45-50 minutes and you can also top the cake with:
- Vanilla buttercream
- Whipped cream
- A simple sugar glaze, such as from my lemon olive oil cake.
- A light dusting of powdered sugar
Or serve the cake with no topping and a side of ice cream, yogurt or more tropical fruit!
Yes this should work! The cake may be slightly denser and take 10 extra minutes to bake.
More vegan cakes for Summer:
Papaya Cake with Crumb Topping
- ½ cup (30g) flaked coconut
- ¼ cup (30g) all-purpose plain flour, gluten-free all-purpose flour or white rice flour
- 3 tablespoons (45g) solid coconut oil, or vegan butter (note 2)
- 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- Pinch of any good quality salt, if using coconut oil or unsalted butter
- ~⅓ cup (50g) papaya, cubed
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease or line a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake pan with parchment paper.
Preparing the papaya cake:
- Add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix until there are no lumps.
- Add all the wet ingredients to a blender and blend until mostly smooth. Pour the papaya mixture into your mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients until just combined. Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake pan. Smooth the surface with a spoon or spatula and set aside.
Preparing the crumble topping:
- In a bowl, add all the ingredients (except the papaya). Use your fingertips or a spoon to mix the ingredients until combined.
- Scatter the remaining cubed papaya on top of the cake and gently press them into the batter. Sprinkle the crumble on top of the cake.
Baking and serving the papaya cake:
- Bake the cake in your preheated oven for around 50 minutes or until done. If the cake is browning too quickly and the center isn't baked, cover the cake pan with aluminum foil or an oven-safe plate/bowl. The cake is ready when you can insert a toothpick in the center and there is no wet batter, though some crumbs are fine (the cake is quite moist)
- Allow the cake to rest in the cake tin for at least 5 minutes. Remove the cake from the tin and place on a cooling rack. Serve and enjoy!
- The cake can be kept at room temperature for 1 day or in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.
- For a gluten-free papaya cake, substitute the plain flour for 1 ½ cups (150g) almond meal and ¾ cup (120g) gluten-free all-purpose flour or fine white rice flour.
- Use unrefined coconut oil for a strong coconut flavor or refined coconut oil for less coconut flavor.
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