Enjoy Tropical Bliss with a Slice of Macadamia Nut Coconut Cake

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I feel like too few people make desserts from scratch these days.

Vertical image of a whole dessert topped with flaky garnishes, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Of course, I should probably admit that I am one of those people more often than not…

However, I’ve fallen back in love with making cakes like this one from scratch. There’s something about being in the kitchen and making a sweet treat that totally feels as if I am channel my grandmother.

She was the queen of desserts in our family. My grandmother would always make these elaborate sweets that we would all indulge in every weekend, when we had dinner at her home on Sundays.

Vertical image of a serving knife holding a slice of dessert in front of a whole bundt.

I would always try to go over early so I could help her, and learn from her brilliance.

I mean, let’s face it, baking can be a bit tricky. If you aren’t paying attention to the measurements and the instructions closely, things can go wrong quickly.

When it comes to this recipe, I find it’s actually one of the easier ones to make. The ingredients are pretty simple, and so are the instructions.

Vertical image of a slice of cake on a patterned plate in front of the whole cake on a stand with a serving knife.

Enjoying a slice of this dessert is basically like taking a tropical vacation in your own home. The combination of sweet coconut and macadamia nuts makes for a moist crumb with crunchy surprises in each bite.

The tart and sweet passion fruit glaze drizzled on top is like the cherry on top of a tropical sundae, so to speak. It gives an extra burst of flavor, and complements all of the other tasty ingredients.

Vertical top-down image of a whole bundt dessert on a white plate surrounded by other empty plates and garnishes.

My top tips to make this recipe are:

Measure Correctly

Make sure you are using the correct type of measuring cups for dry ingredients when you should be, instead of something like a measuring pitcher which is used for wet ingredients. You need to spoon the flour into the cups and lightly level it off with the straight edge of a knife. A kitchen scale can also work, if you know how to convert the ingredient you will need.

Use Room Temperature Ingredients

The butter and cream cheese need to be room temperature, because this will give more volume to the batter and they will mix together more readily, resulting in a better finished product.

Alternate the Dry Ingredients with the Wet

There’s a reason that dry ingredients should be alternated with the liquid that you add to the batter: to distribute them evenly. Start with dry, and end with dry as well. And make sure you don’t overmix!

There’s really something special about a homemade cake, isn’t there? It’s a simple dessert to begin with, but it’s also so easy to customize like what I’ve done with this recipe.

Vertical image of a whole bundt cake with glaze and garnishes.

When it’s fresh out of the oven, just take a whiff of the intense scent. Trust me, it’s absolutely fantastic.

It will fill you with all the homey feels that you crave every time you bake, you know what I mean?

Vertical top-down image of part of a whole cake with a slicer next to plates of sliced cake pieces.

Want to indulge just a little more and bring that vacation feeling home?

When you are enjoying a slice, play some ocean sounds or get some tropical music going in the background. I swear, if you close your eyes after taking a bite, you can almost feel the warm breeze off the ocean running through your hair…

Vertical image of a slice of bundt cake with glaze on a patterned plate next to scattered nuts.

For a final touch of elegance, pick up some toasted coconut flakes at your local store or online. I like Dang Toasted Coconut chips, available from Amazon.

Sprinkle those on top, and voila! You are ready to dive in.

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Horizontal image of a whole bundt cake with white glaze and white garnishes on a plate on a black surface.

Macadamia Nut Coconut Cake

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 55 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 servings 1x


With a slice of macadamia nut coconut cake, you will sail away to tropical bliss. The flavorful crunch in each bite is pure decadence.



For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 
  • 3 cups granulated sugar 
  • 6 large eggs 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract 
  • 1 cup chopped roasted and salted macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes, for garnish

For the Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons passion fruit juice
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. 
  2. Add butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Gradually add sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes. 
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined between each addition.
  5. Add half of the flour, and beat until just combined on low speed. Add milk and beat until just combined. Add remaining flour and beat until just combined.
  6. Fold in vanilla extract, coconut extract, nuts, and 1/2 cup shredded coconut until combined.
  7. Transfer batter to the pan. Bake for 70-80 minutes, until set and golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. 
  8. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on wire rack, for about 2 hours. 
  9. When completely cool, make the glaze. Whisk together juice and sifted confectioners’ sugar until smooth and glossy. Spoon the glaze over the cake and garnish with toasted coconut flakes.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: cake, macadamia nut, coconut, passion fruit

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Chop Nuts and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Horizontal image of ingredients to make a coconut macadamia nut cake.

If you haven’t already, place your unsalted butter and cream cheese on the counter for a few hours to soften. This can also be done quickly in the microwave, but you need to be careful to heat them on low power in short increments, to avoid melting.

Chop enough roasted and salted macadamia nuts until you have one cup total.

Measure out the remaining ingredients as listed.

Preheat your oven to 325˚F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. Tap it on the counter and discard any excess flour.

Step 2 – Make Batter

Horizontal image of a bowl with whipped butter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed until creamy. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.

Gradually add the granulated sugar, beating on medium speed until light and fluffy. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes.

Beat in one egg at a time, beating until combined after each addition.

Horizontal image of a spatula mixing together a thick yellow batter in a metal bowl.

Add half of the all-purpose flour, and beat until just combined on low speed. Beat in the milk until just combined. Add the remaining flour and beat until just combined.

Horizontal image of a bowl with batter and topped with nuts and coconut.

Fold in the vanilla extract, coconut extract, nuts, and shredded coconut until combined.

Step 3 – Bake

Horizontal image of batter in a metal bundt pan.

Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes, until set and golden.

A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when it is done.

Step 4 – Cool

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. This will take about 2 hours.

Step 5 – Make Glaze

Horizontal image of a light pink-yellow glaze in a glass bowl.

When the cake is cool, make the glaze.

Add 1/4 cup passion fruit juice and the confectioners’ sugar to a medium bowl. Whisk until combined, smooth, and glossy. If the mixture is too thick, gradually add more passion fruit juice until a teaspoon or two at a time it reaches a consistency that’s to your liking.

Horizontal image of a whole bundt cake with white glaze and white garnishes on a plate on a black surface.

Spoon the glaze over the cake. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes.

What If I Can’t Find Passion Fruit?

If you can’t find fresh passion fruit or bottled juice, you can switch things up and use pineapple instead for the glaze. The tartness of the pineapple achieves a similar tropical flavor profile that pairs so well with the coconut and macadamia nuts.

Horizontal image of slices of dessert with glaze on plates surrounded by crushed nuts.

You want that acid tang to complement the richness, after all. Fresh pineapple juice is a great substitute!

Do you need more cake recipes to make from scratch? Check out the following next:

And if you love bright, fruity flavors that bring a bunch of sunshine to the dessert course, you’ll love our satsuma layer cake!

What occasion will you serve this elegant cake for? Tell us in the comments below. Once you try the recipe, be sure to come back to rate it as well!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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