Coconut and lime macadamia cake (dairy and gluten free)

This is a great cake, it’s light and fluffy like a sponge, not too sweet and its one our family favourites.

The recipe is adapted from “Bills Open Kitchen” cookbook by Bill Granger (Murdoch Books). I replaced the wheat-based self-raising flour with gluten-free self-raising flour and it worked out really well.

I’ve used lime zest but lemon, orange or mandarin are some other variations. I haven’t tried it, but kaffir lime zest might an interesting taste mix with the macadamia and coconut.

The method sounds a bit complicated, but its actually really easy to make. Once I have all the ingredients measured and ready to go it takes me around 10 minutes to mix it all up and get it into the oven.

While it’s cooking, the cake will rise up like a sponge (due to all the eggs) and as it cools will deflate a little, so don’t think that there’s a problem.

Equipment needed

  • 2 stainless steel bowls (glass is fine) – 1 smaller and 1 larger size.
  • 1 spatular or large metal spoon.
  • 1 food processor.
  • 1 stand mixer or handheld mixer.
  • baking paper.
  • skewer – I use a bamboo one but any cake testing skewer is fine.


  • 200g (7 oz) macadamia nuts (raw and not salted or roasted).
  • 40g (1/3 cup) self-raising flour (or replace with gluten-free if required)
  • pinch of salt.
  • 6 eggs separated – I use a small bowl for the yolks and large one for the whites. I use stainless steel bowls, but glass would be fine.
  • 120g sugar (granulated) (approx. 4.1 oz) – This is less than the actual recipe and I find it sweet enough with 120g.
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime (or orange, lemon or mandarin).
  • 45g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut.


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F/Gas 4) and prepare 1 cake tin (around 23in size). I use a baking paper to line my tin – I use just the one big piece and push it down into the base and fold it to fit in the side of the tin.
  • You’ll need to grind up the nuts, flour and salt together in a food processor. I process it for around 40-60 seconds and wait until the mixture starts to loosely clump together.
  • Use a stand-mixer to beat the egg whites first, so you can use the same beaters to whip the yolks. Whip the egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks, set bowl aside. Then, pour the sugar into the egg yolks and beat on high speed for around 2-3 minutes, it will get lighter and fluffier.
  • Its important you try to keep as much air in both the beaten yolk mixture and whites, so when folding use a large metal spoon or a spatular.
  • Using a light touch fold the zest and coconut into the beaten yolks and then fold the ground nut mixture into the egg yolks/coconut.
  • Now lightly fold a couple of large spoonfuls of the yolk/coconut/nut mix into the beaten egg white to loosen it up a bit. Pour all the yolk/coconut/nut mixture into the remaining egg whites and lightly fold until combined.
  • Once combined, pour into your prepared tin, use a spatular to scrape out all of the mixture from the bowl, pop it into the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden. Use a skewer to test that the cake is cooked in the centre – the skewer will come out clean.
  • Once cooked take the cake out of the oven and let it sit for a while (10-15 minutes) and remove the baking paper and place it to cool on a serving plate.
  • In my experience, this cake will stay fresh for around 3 days if covered with plastic wrap or within a cake storage.

If you end up making this cake, let me know how it turned out and if you like it, I’d love to here from you.

One thought on “Coconut and lime macadamia cake (dairy and gluten free)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.