Hibiscus Loaf Cake Recipe

In bloom. María del Mar Sacasa

This beautiful cake gets its flavor from an unexpected source: hibiscus flowers.


  • I always find that when baking a cake in a loaf pan, the outermost edges of the cake begin to over-bake and dry out while the center remains raw. To help get more even results, I line my loaf pan with layers of heavy-duty foil.
  • Dried hibiscus flowers can be found at specialty markets, in the Latin American section of supermarkets under "Jamaica," and in the tea and coffee section of supermarkets.
  • Cake can be stored wrapped in plastic at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • Spread may be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Serves: 8 to 10 servings

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For the Cake:

  • Baking spray

  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers (see note)

  • 1/2 cup boiling water

  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 2 1/2 cups (about 12 1/2 ouncesall-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 cup (about 7 ouncesgranulated sugar

  • 3 large eggs, beaten and at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Spread:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces and at room temperature

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap 4 layers of heavy duty foil (See Notes) around exterior of 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, then coat interior with baking spray.

  2. Combine hibiscus flowers, boiling water, honey, and lemon juice in small bowl, mashing with fork to ensure flowers absorb liquid evenly. Allow flowers to steep until softened and liquid has been almost completely absorbed, about 15 minutes.

  3. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  4. In large bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add oil and sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs in a slow steady stream and continue to beat until completely incorporated, about 1 minute.

  5. Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Increase speed to medium and beat mixture just until combined, 20 to 30 seconds. Add vanilla and soaked hibiscus flowers beat once more, just to combine, about 20 seconds.

  6. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, rotating cake halfway through baking, until cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Transfer cake to cooling and cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake onto plate or second cooling rack, then revert to original cooling rack so top of cake faces up. Cool completely, at least 1 hour. Serve with spread.

  7. For the Spread: Prepare spread while cake cools. In large bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add sour cream, honey, vanilla, and salt and continue beating until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Serve with cake.

Special equipment

9- by 5-inch loaf pan, heavy-duty foil, whisk, electric mixer, rubber spatula, cooling rack

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
487 Calories
24g Fat
62g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 487
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 30%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 102mg 34%
Sodium 478mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 23%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 34g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 107mg 8%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 133mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)