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Inspired by those confections but adding a tropical touch, I created one using jackfruit (langka) and macadamia nuts. Jackfruit is readily available at Asian supermarkets, either canned (from Thailand) or in jars (from the Philippines). The toasted coconut flakes added to the batter provide a nice tropical flavor. If you can find jackfruit (langka) extract, by all means use it for that added jackfruit essence. And always use golden rum, not white rum that’s used mainly in cocktails and lacks that rum flavor you want the cake to have.
To serve, I like to top the cake with a dollop of whipped cream lightly sweetened and flavored with golden rum. It is also delicious with vanilla bean ice cream, or to extend the tropical theme, coconut gelato. Finally, garnish with thin slivers of jackfruit and a mint leaf. With a cup of hot Batangas coffee or Davao chocolate, this literally takes the cake!!
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
¾ cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Canned or jarred jackfruit
½ cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon jackfruit (langka) extract
2 tablespoons golden rum
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
Whipped cream, sweetened & flavored with golden rum
Jackfruit, sliced into thin slivers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9” round cake pan, and dust with flour.
Toast coconut flakes in skillet over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Pulse in processor until finely ground and set aside in a bowl.
Pulse nuts in processor (no need to clean the processor) until finely ground (if macadamia nuts are whole, chop before pulsing and measure out ¾ cup)—be careful not to overprocess to a paste. Add flour, baking powder and salt and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer to a bowl, add toasted coconut and mix thoroughly.
Puree jackfruit pieces in processor (adding some of the syrup if needed to release blades) and set aside ½ cup puree in a bowl.
In a small bowl, combine milk, vanilla and rum.
Using electric mixer at moderate speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add nut and milk mixtures alternately in batches. Add jackfruit puree and lime zest and mix thoroughly.
Spread batter in pan and bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Cool cake in pan.
Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar on top and serve with sweetened rum-flavored whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or coconut sorbet or gelato. Garnish with jackfruit slivers.
Voltaire Gungab is based in San Francisco and currently retired after working in advertising/marketing and editing scientific articles. A self-professed foodie and recipe hound, he follows the San Francisco food scene avidly and occasionally prepares theme dinners for friends.