This coconut lime macadamia cake, adapted from a recipe by Aussie chef Bill Granger, is a simple dessert with ample tropical flavor that’s light and fluffy and made complete with a sweet-tart citrus icing.
This coconut lime macadamia cake flaunts the classic tropical combo of lime and coconut and, because I love to overdo things, it’s also gilded with macadamia nuts. The cake is surprisingly light and fluffy despite also being incredibly satisfying. A drizzle of sweet-tart citrus icing balances the richness to impossible-to-resist effect. Originally published April 21, 2005.–David Leite
Coconut-Lime Macadamia Cake
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H, 10 M
- Makes one 9-inch cake
- For the cake
- Baking spray
- 7 ounces raw unsalted whole macadamia nuts
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Generous pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Finely grated zest of 2 limes
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, well-packed
- For the lime glaze
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- Pinch of salt
- Make the cake
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line the bottom of a 9-by-2-inch cake pan or springform pan with parchment and generously coat with the baking spray.
- 2. Dump the macadamia nuts, flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground but not paste-like and the mixture clumps together along the side of the bowl. Press a clump between your fingers; it should feel moist and stick together.
- 3. Add the granulated sugar and zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix for 30 seconds to release its essential oil in the zest.
- 4. Plop the egg yolks in the sugar mixture and beat on medium-high until the mixture is smooth and creamy, 3 minutes.
- 5. Gently fold the coconut and the nut mixture into the egg mixture.
☞ TESTER TIP: The batter will be thick. Panic not. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
- 6. Whisk the egg whites by hand in an impeccably clean bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. This can take several minutes. Using a spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter.
- 7. Spoon the batter evenly into the pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake is golden and firm to the touch.
- 8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool it in the pan for 10 minutes. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and turn out the cake so the smooth bottom is facing up, and cool until warm.
- Make the lime glaze
- 9. As the cake cools, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, lime juice, zest, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl until smooth and glossy.
- 10. Spread the glaze over the warm cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Slide the cake onto a serving platter and devour.
Recipe Testers Reviews
This cake combines three of my most favorite ingredients: coconut, lime, and macadamia nuts. It's a dense cake and what I would consider a coffee cake. I like the texture of the nuts and coconut because it allows you to discern each flavor separately. The very simple glaze adds just a bit of sweetness and more lime flavor.
The mixture prior to adding the egg whites is very thick and sticky and the use of a metal spoon to mix in the whites is a must. It does take a few minutes to combine the two, but it will come together and the whites will deflate some but the cake will rise nicely in the oven.
This Coconut Lime Macadamia Cake is so light and fluffy. This was a slam dunk of a cake. We loved the icing in particular and agreed that we would consider doubling the amount of icing next time because we wanted more.
It was so nice to find a recipe that made just a single 9-inch cake as it's much more manageable for 2 people than a large layer cake. And it was so much simpler to make! Every step of the recipe worked exactly as written for us.
Watch the cake, as ours was finished in about 35 minutes instead of 40. Enjoy!
First of all, my kitchen smells AMAZING after making this recipe. I am so happy I made this cake. I had no idea what to expect as this cake is mostly macadamia nuts and eggs. And I was so surprised with the results!
After quickly and easily assembling the batter and tossing this in the oven, I was stunned at how much it rose. The cake I ended up with was moist, light, and fluffy. The texture had a beautiful crumb and tasted divine. The glaze was perfect. So simple and yet it packed such a punch.
This is definitely a cake I would bring to a summer pot luck or dinner party. Especially because the flavors are so special without being fussy.
I love the texture of this cake. I don't know if this was a happy accident, but I couldn't get a totally uniform grind on the macadamia nuts. It really makes the cake! The macadamia nut flavor makes for a very unique cake as well. More than one person asked me what spices I added because the coconut, lime, and macadamia come together for an altogether different experience.
I made the cake twice because I liked it so well the first time. I felt it needed a little more icing. In the second iteration, I ground the nuts more uniformly but still had some textured bits. I liked it this way and wouldn't change it. Also, I doubled the icing the second go-around and it was awesome!