Each slice is almost like a brownie, but without chocolate, of course, and less dense. The macadamia nuts coarsely ground up is essential though, because it needs a slight crunch in an otherwise fairly dense cake with a slightly mushy, but not unpleasant quality. The coconut milk and coconut oil is also essential, and really helps in terms of the flavor. Plus, I love how it creates a “piña colada” effect with the pineapple.
A lot of Asian baked goods call for steam instead of a dry oven to cook things, and the desserts or snacks like these often call for rice flours, which tend to make things denser, but I wanted these to be less dense.
I was tempted to just call this “Tropical Matcha Cake”, but then you wouldn’t know right away what was in it that made it “tropical”. Then again, it would also cover the coconut flavors (from the coconut oil, coconut milk, and even coconut sugar), and the baking of it lined with banana leaf. Oh well.
Also, the banana leaf is a nice touch, but honestly, don’t feel like you have to do this. It is only baked for about half an hour, so I don’t know if it is enough time to impart the flavor and scent of the banana leaves. But it definitely screams tropical, doesn’t it?! Enjoy!
pineapple matcha macadamia nut cake
1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
5 teaspoons Matcha green tea powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut sugar, or regular sugar
1 cup macadamia nuts, roasted, salted or unsalted optional
1/4 coconut oil, room temperature
1 cup full fat canned coconut milk, stirred first before measuring
8 ounce can of pineapple chunks, separate chunks and juice and reserve juice; cut chunks in half, if desired.
banana leaves, optional, for lining baking pan (can be found in frozen section of most Asian markets, some Latino markets.)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Thaw, carefully wash, and dry banana leaves and line an 8″ x 8″ square baking pan with them by cutting two rectangular pieces of banana leaf, roughly 8″ x 12-14″, letting one of the leaves hang over horizontally on both sides, and the other one to overhang vertically on both sides. Make creases with your fingernails to get banana leaves to crease along the inside bottom of all sides. Spray with baking spray or lightly grease with coconut oil.
Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, green tea powder, salt, and sugar, into a bowl and stir with a whisk several times to blend thoroughly. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the macadamia nuts until chopped finely but not to a powder, more coarse. Add to the bowl with the flour and stir again with the whisk several times.
In another bowl, add the coconut oil, coconut milk, and pineapple juice from the canned pineapple and blend with an electric hand held mixer, or stir vigorously with a whisk, if you prefer, until fairly well blended. Pour into bowl with flour mixture and stir or whisk until dry ingredients are all wet. Batter will be fairly thick. Pour into prepared pan and smooth out with the back of a spoon or small offset spatula. Top evenly with pineapple chunks. Press down chunks slightly, if desired.
Bake for about 35 minutes until sides are very slightly browned and it is no longer soft and wet in the middle. Do a toothpick test, if needed, to see if the middle is done. Let rest in pan on a wire rack before removing and cutting and serving. Enjoy!