The $50 Home Baked Just Like Momma Never Made Hawaiian Style Kentucky Born Chocolate Macadamia Nut Torte (cake)

The $50 Home Baked Just Like Momma Never Made Hawaiian Style Kentucky Born Chocolate Macadamia Nut Torte

This recipe is based on the Award Winning “Chocolate Hazelnut Torte” recipe by Elizabeth Reynolds of Benton, Kentucky.  I have adapted it by switching to Macadamia nuts and a few other changes. The sassy comments are my own and should never reflect poorly on Ms. Reynolds, who I am sure is a very nice lady. — Eddie Caplan


  • 4 Spring-Form and/or Non-Stick pans (You can use 2 pans if you are magical enough to slice delicate cakes in half.  I’m not that magical.)

  • About 1-2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar or flour

  • 6 eggs separated

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 1/3 cups ground toasted Macadamia Nuts (about 12 oz).  (Be sure to get them “dry toasted” or “dry roasted.” Otherwise, when you grind them up they will turn into butter.  Ever hear of Peanut Butter? If you get the wrong kind, you’ll end up with “The $50 Home Baked Just Like Momma Never Made Hawaiian Style Kentucky Born Macadamia Nut Butter.”)

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel (alternative: lemon zest)

  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice (alternative: lemon juice)

  • 2 Tablespoons dried bread crumbs (substitute Matzo meal for that down home Yiddish Style Hawaiian Style Kentucky Born torte.  BTW, this makes the torte suitable for Passover but check with your Rabbi and/or conscience first.)


  • 3 cups heavy or whipping cream

  • 3/4 cups sugar

  • 1 cup ground toasted Macadamia nuts (about 9 oz.)


  • 2 egg yolks

  • 2 Tablespoons sugar

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine

  • 2 squares (1 oz. each) semisweet chocolate

  • 1 Tablespoon ground toasted Macadamia nuts (to sprinkle on the top of the cake for a pretty presentation)

Nuts Preparation

Grind the nuts as finely as possible.  Some people like to crunch their teeth into nuts when they eat nut-based cakes.  But for this cake the experience is enhanced by the ethereal flavor provided by the less-than-substantial macadamia nut powder.  Grinding nuts this fine — without turning them into butter — takes a lot of patience. It may be worth it to you to buy the nuts in powder/meal form which really drives up the cost of the cake, assuming you can find a place that sells macadamia nut meal anyway.  The whole recipe needs about 2 1/2 cups of ground nuts powder, about 21-22 oz.

Cake Preparation

Preheat oven to 325˚F (162˚ C).  Lightly grease the Spring-Form and/or Non-Stick pans and coat with confectioner’s sugar (or flour).  I always end up cursing the Kitchen Gods when I try to get these cakes out of the pans unless I use Spring-Form and/or Non-Stick pans.  Don’t think about it. Just buy the pans and amortize their cost over a lifetime of baking this recipe. You’re spending $40 on the nuts, so what’s a few dollars more for Spring-Form and/or Non-Stick pans that you’ll reuse anyway?  And while you’re at it, get four 8-inch Spring-Form and/or Non-Stick pans.  Trust me on this.

Beat egg whites until stiff.  Set aside.

Beat egg yolks at high speed until lemon colored.  Gradually add sugar, two Tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition.  Fold in Macadamia nuts, orange (alternative: lemon) peel, juice, and bread crumbs until well mixed.

Fold yolk mixture into whites — gently — until well combined.

Divide the cake mixture into the four Spring-Form and/or Non-Stick pans.  You did get four pans, didn’t you?  You didn’t skimp and only buy two, did you?  If you bought only two, then Divide the cake mixture into the two Spring-Form and/or Non-Stick pans.

Bake 40 minutes or until surface of cake springs back when pressed with fingertips.

Cool fully, at least one hour, in the pans inverted on cake rack.

Remove from pans when cool.  If you had listened to me earlier and bought four Spring-Form and/or Non-Stick pans, you’d be done by now.  Instead, now you have to go and split the two cakes to make four layers, and curse or bless the Kitchen Knife Gods.  Either way, you should end up with four layers in all.

Filling Preparation

Beat cream.  Gradually add sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form.  I like to keep beating until flecks of butter start to appear in the whipped cream.  Fold in nuts. Set aside, and don’t eat any… if you can… this stuff is heavenly. Especially of you ground the nuts into fine powder like I told you to.

Frosting Preparation

Melt butter and chocolate together.  I like to do this in a double boiler to guarantee that I don’t burn it.  Set aside.

Beat yolks with sugar until thick and light.  Add butter and chocolate mixture, continuing the beating until well mixed.  This makes about 3/4 cups. Set aside. Be sure that it cools somewhat: not so warm that it is runny and not so cold that it cannot be spread.


Spread 1/4 of Filling on one layer.  Top with another cake layer. Repeat two more times.  Top with remaining layer. Use lots of the filling between the layers.  There is lots of it available.

Slather sides with remaining Filling.  Eat the rest from the bowl.

Spread top of cake with cooled Frosting.

Sprinkle top with 1 (one) Tablespoon of ground Macadamia nuts.

Refrigerate until ready to serve — up to 4 hours.  Makes 12 to 16 servings. Sell by the slice, but charge at least $4 per piece or you’ll never make back your expenses.

Formatted version of this recipe: