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Lemon Macadamia Nut Cakes

Macadamia Nut Cakes with Lemon Curd

A cake doesn’t have to be a cupcake just because it is small. Leave off the piles of frosting and the colorful wrapper and you have an individually sized dessert that is a simple, elegant way to finish off a dinner with family or friends. These little Macadamia Nut Cakes are definitely not cupcakes, but they sure are tasty. The recipe is a riff on one of Jacques Pepin’s cake recipes, which is included in his cookbook, More Fast Food My Way. He used almonds in his version and says that they’re a very simple, very french dessert. My version of these cakes uses buttery macadamia nuts. I love these nuts in just about everything that you could put them in, but in these cakes they add a lot of body and richness to what is an incredibly simple cake.

When I say simple, I mean it. These cakes have just a handful of ingredients and are whipped up in seconds in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you could try using almond meal (ground macadamia nuts would be very difficult to find in most places), but you’ll really get the best results when starting with whole nuts. The finished cakes are light, fluffy and tender. They have a great overall macadamia nut flavor, with bright notes of lemon and a hint of rum. The cakes aren’t too sweet, and while they’re tasty as-is, they pair very well with fresh berries, whipped cream or even a scoop of ice cream. Since I added lemon zest into my cake batter, I topped these cakes off with a dollop of lemon curd and a twist of lemon to dress up the presentation.

If you’re not going to serve these cakes right away – and they can be served warm if you do want to serve them immediately, although they will come out of the wrappers more cleanly if you allow them to cool – you can make them a day ahead and store them in an airtight container before dressing them up. The recipe can be doubled if you want to serve a crowd, but also be halved for an even smaller serving if, like me, you just want to treat yourself once in a while.

Macadamia Nut Cakes with Lemon Curd

Lemon Macadamia Nut Cakes
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole, toasted macadamia nuts
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp rum
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 8 paper liners.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, macadamia nuts, sugar and baking powder and whizz until everything is well blended and the macadamia nuts are ground. Add in eggs, lemon zest and rum and pulse to combine. Batter should be smooth. Add in melted butter and pulse several times to incorporate.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, the remove paper liners and invert onto a plate to serve.
Serve with fresh berries, ice cream or lemon curd.

Makes 8.

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  • Katie
    March 18, 2011

    What non alcoholic drink could you use in place of rum? These look and sound very very yummy!

  • Nicole
    March 18, 2011

    Katie – Good question! You could actually use lemon juice instead of rum in this recipe.

  • Tiffiny Felix
    March 18, 2011

    Oh, yum. These would be such great tea cakes! 🙂

  • Valerie
    March 18, 2011

    These look really good!

  • Food On The Plate
    March 19, 2011

    this looks fabulous!

  • Molly
    March 19, 2011

    Ooh, I always think of macadamia nuts and chocolate, so this fresh-looking lemon recipe looks deliciously different. Recipe bookmarked!

  • RR
    March 19, 2011

    Thanks for the recipe Nicole. I’m planning on trying it out tomorrow. One question……….is there supposed to be any butter in it?

  • ling
    March 20, 2011

    The simplest recipes often yield the most amazing results =) Do you think this would work with pistachios?

  • OMG… I LOVE YOUR RECIPES! Girl, you have no idea how quickly I put on weight by eating desserts, baking them for myself. I’m so glad this recipe only has 2 tbsp of butter… and eggs are not terrible, hey, it’s protein! thanks… and bookmarked.
    LOVE YOUR SITE, you rock!

  • RR
    March 21, 2011

    Thanks for updating the recipe.

  • joy
    March 21, 2011

    That looks lovely.

  • Kelley
    March 21, 2011

    Instead of RUM, you could use RUM FLAVORING. I use it for cocktail type cupcakes. It is much like Vanilla Extract and you might be able to get it at your local grocery store. No alcohol in it, just the flavor. 🙂 IT TASTES SO YUMMY TOO!

  • Linda
    March 22, 2011

    Would limoncello add too much lemon to the cake? I love the notion and I agree lemon juice would make a nice sub for the rum if you wanted to stay alcohol free. When you say rum would a dark rum be too strong or would it work? I also have a vanilla rum that might work well too.

  • Nicole
    March 22, 2011

    Linda – No, I think limoncello is a great idea! Vanilla rum would work well. I used a very light (and very lightly flavored) rum in mine, a dark rum would probably overwhelm the lemon

  • pumpkinpie
    March 27, 2011

    Mine tasted like lemon poundcake. Not a bad thing, but next time I might combine wet ingredients separately, then gently mix together by hand. Unless we are in the mood for more poundcake…

  • Jasmine
    November 20, 2011

    Also rum extract will give you the rum flavor in place of the real thing…however with the baking temp most/all of the alcohol will be burned off if using real rum. Great dessert…super tasty and light. I also added a little almond extract which was yummy!

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