Durian Yogurt Cake

Have you had durian? No, not a durian smoothie or durian ice cream. Not previously-frozen-then-thawed-out-to-make-you-think-it’s-fresh durian from your local grocery store in the US either. I mean real durian — fresh as nature means it to be.

Anything but raw, fresh, never-been-frozen durian should never be considered a true representative of the king of fruits, if you ask me. I believe it’s the tasteless, mushy, previously-frozen durian that is largely responsible for turning off many who actually could have discovered how great this fruit really is. Even I, who love durian enough to make it my last meal on earth, can’t stand frozen durian half the time. But unless you live in Southeast Asia, good quality fresh durian just isn’t an option.

You just have to come to Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, here’s one way to make frozen durian more palatable. I personally do not like durian in any form except fresh, and when I use durian in desserts, I tend to go with the applications that allow you to retain as much as possible of the fruit’s original custard-like texture.


A suspicious-looking woman wearing a pair of over-sized shades was seen attacking this fresh, though out of season, durian with bare hands at Or Tor Kor Market in Bangkok recently. According to eyewitnesses, tears of joy were shed and soft ecstatic moans were uttered.

I have previously mentioned this durian cake in an earlier post on my favorite things of 2011. Here’s the recipe.

If you’re a fan of durian and Japanese-style cheesecake, I have a feeling you may like this cake as much as I do. I actually devised this recipe based on my pumpkin mascarpone cheesecake. (This one is a little less light and fluffy.)

Those who don’t like durian, feel free to replace durian purée in this recipe with an equal amount of purée of another fruit that has similar texture and moisture content. Mango, peach, pineapple, applesauce come to mind; you may want to strain it first to remove some of the moisture.

durian cake


Durian Yogurt Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 9-inch cake
  • 250g (~one cup) durian pulp at room temperature, puréed
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 114g (~1/2 cup) Greek-style plain yogurt or regular yogurt that has been strained overnight (full-fat sour cream works too)
  • 50g (3½ tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 2g (1/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 65g (~3/4 cup) cake flour
  • 140g (~3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • A pinch of cream of tartar or ½ teaspoon of lime or lemon juice
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/162°C.
  2. Line a 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together durian pulp, egg yolks, yogurt, melted butter, salt, and flour just until smooth; set aside.
  4. In a separate container, beat the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  5. Scoop out approximately one-thirds of the beaten egg whites and fold it into the durian mixture.
  6. Fold the remaining egg white mixture gently into the durian mixture until no white streaks remain; be careful not to overmix and deflate the egg white mixture.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan; bake until the center springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, about 45-50 minutes.
  8. Let the cake cool in the pan before unmolding.
  9. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar, if desired.

19 Responses to Durian Yogurt Cake

  1. migrationology January 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    As a fellow devotee of the precious king of fruits, this looks absolutely stunning Leela! I’m hoping to make this recipe as soon as I can find an oven!

  2. domestic bunny January 28, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    I love durian! Sadly I don’t eat it that much. But lately I’ve been craving it big time, so this post totally catches my eye. What does it taste like? Is it more durian-custardly like? Or is it more towards cheesecake sour like due to the yoghurt?

  3. Arwen from Hoglet K January 28, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    I feel so sorry for you living for months at a time with no durian when you love it so much! I’ve never had it except in a pretty ordinary mooncake – you make it sound like I’m missing out.

  4. Admin January 28, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Bunny – A little bit of both. The tang is much less than that of cheesecake.

  5. Alex Llamas January 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    Hard to find a DURIAN in Europe.. but that seems a good recipe ! 🙂 love it.
    So hungry now. he he
    Rgds from a foodie in Barcelona.

  6. putriskya February 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    I live in Indonesia. Indonesian love Durian so bad.. I haven’t found something like this before.. I have to try make one!

  7. gautam February 12, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    I wonder if durian can be grown elsewhere in the humid tropic [Southern Hemisphere? Brazil?Australia?] to supply the off-season demand? South East Asia probably has a ripening season confined to the late summer, and land values might be making durian plantations less & less attractive. I am sure some fruit growing multinationals can do a useful job of cultivating durian in parts of central and south America, where alternative crops of higher value are needed. Some of the banana & sugarcane plantations could very well grow tropical fruit in demand by the Asian diaspora & a world with a growing taste for such fruit. “Durian republic” sounds so much more intriguing and tasteful than “banana”! What say?

  8. Katelyn February 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Just stumbled across your blog when I saw you had weight measurements for Alton Brown’s English muffin recipe. Love your writing style and the way it’s packed with cultural and historical tidbits. Looking through the index I’ve already seen several recipes I want to make including this durian cake. As a Thai food devotee, I have a request too. My local Thai restaurant makes an incredible smoky tasting pork Pad Kee Mao. Any recipes you can recommend for Pad Kee Mao?

  9. Admin February 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Katelyn – Thanks!

    I have yet to test a recipe for Pad Khi Mao, but it’s definitely in the plan.

  10. Zeba March 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    Hi. This cake looks awesome, but I see no baking powder or any leavening agent.

  11. Admin March 2, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    Zeba – It’s a regular butter or sponge cake but a cake-like cheesecake for lack of a better way to describe it. It gets the lift from the beaten egg whites.

  12. ok May 24, 2012 at 3:41 am #


    Love your website. I tried it make the nam-prik-pao-fried-rice-with-shrimp and it was a hit. Now I’m baking this durian yogurt cake for my husband’s birthday tomorrow but I’m having a hard time converting all the ingredients from weight to metric (cups and teaspoons). I just really want to get it right as you envisioned. Any assistance or guidance would be appreciated.


  13. Admin May 24, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Canadian – I don’t always weigh instead of measuring my ingredients when baking, but When it really matters, I often do. You get more consistent result that way. This is particularly true in this case where achieving the right texture depends so much on the right ratio of the wet and dry ingredients. You can run the weight measurements through one of those online weight-to-volume converters to get the closest approximation. It could work; I’ve just never tested the recipe by measuring the ingredients.

  14. Esther@thefussfreechef July 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Hi Leela, i’m a noob when it comes to baking. Wnt to check with you 1. You said to use regular yogurt that has been strained overnight – what does this mean? 2. Re spring form pan, can i just use a normal cake pan? 3. Can i use normal self raising flour instead of cake flour? Thanks!

  15. Admin July 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    Esther –

    1. Yogurt that has been strained overnight (in a coffee filter-lined colander set over a bowl to catch the whey) is thicker than regular yogurt. Alternatively, you can use quark or creme fraiche. Strained yogurt is less expensive, though.

    2. If the side of your cake pan is higher than 3 inches, you can. The volume of the batter is so great (it becomes less so after baking) that a 9-inch cake pan with lower side will not be able to contain all of it. A springform pan has a high side, and that’s the reason.

    3. Yes, you can. The cake will be a bit denser, but it will still be good.

  16. Esther@thefussfreechef July 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Great, thanks alot for the advice. I hope to try making this sometime next week.

  17. Simonne August 12, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    I m baking this right now in the oven, hope it turn out good ^_^

  18. Sandy June 15, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    Hi Leela,

    Thanks for sharing your recipes!
    Can I use a 8″ spring form pan? and should I use 5 eggs instead?

    Thanks & Regards.

    • Leela June 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Sandy – That would affect the wet-dry ingredient ratio. I would bake as much batter as I could fit into an 8-inch pan and adjust the baking time accordingly.