Luau Cupcakes two ways, both delicious.


I nom dis.

Macadamia nuts, pineapple, coconut, and ginger. Island flavours combine in a moist, tasty cupcake that is delicious with frosting or whipped cream, but don’t let that stop you from eating them buck nekkid.

I’ve been working on my luau cake recipe for a while, and this is an excellent version. I use minced ginger in a jar from The Ginger People—one of my favourite pantry items. If you want to use powdered ginger, reduce the amount by half.

This is a small volume recipe. It makes just enough batter for about 12 cupcakes, or 6 cupcakes and two baby cakes. I have two miniature springform pans that I use to make itty bitty cakes for two (since most of the time it’s just me and Ginger Man at the table and a whole cake is really just too much). Sometimes when I bake, I’ll throw part of the batter into my baby-cake pans and then freeze the layers for later. Long after the original goodies are gone, I can whip out these sweeties and voilá! The perfect size layer cake for two!

Grinding Nuts

I love using ground nuts in cakes, cupcakes, and muffins. It adds texture, flavour, and lots of good-for-you nutrients. Grinding works best in a food processor, but you can use a coffee grinder or blender, even a mortar and pestle. Got none of these? Put the nuts in a ziplock bag and whack them with a rolling pin.

Tip #1: Add a teaspoon or so of granulated suagar to the nuts just before grinding. This will help absorb oils and keep nuts from turning into nut butter.
Tip #2:
Pulse the food processor on low speed until you get the grind you prefer.

Toasting Nuts & Coconut

If you like using nuts or coconut, you’ll be amazed at the difference toasting makes. Toasting heightens flavour and aroma, and in the case of coconut, pleasantly changes the texture. Coconut toasts more quickly than nuts, so keep an eye on it and be sure to stir for more even browning. You can toast nuts whole, chopped, or ground.

With vanilla ice cream and pineapple-ginger whip.

With vanilla ice cream and pineapple-ginger whip.

Luau Cupcakes

Prepare pan for 12 cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350°

Mix dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup macadamia nuts
    (toasted and ground)
  • 1/2 Cup coconut flakes
    (toasted if you want)
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 1/3 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

Add wet ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup melted butter
  • 1/2 Cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbs coconut milk (or sub regular milk)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Spoon batter into lined cupcake pan. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 30-35 minutes. Cool completely, then frost with Orange Ginger Buttercream frosting OR split the cupcakes with a fork, then fill with vanilla ice cream, and top with a dollop of Pineapple-Ginger Whipped Cream.

cupcakesOrange Ginger Buttercream Frosting

Whip 2 Tbs softened butter with 1 tsp minced ginger, 1 Tbs orange juice,  and the zest of 1 orange. Gradually add 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, blending well after each addition. This frosting is quite rich and sweet, so I don’t use a lot. Double the recipe if you want more.

Pineapple Ginger Whipped Cream

Whip 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream with 2 Tbs powdered sugar and 1 tsp minced ginger and 1 tbs pineapple juice until the mixture is stiff enough to dollop.

2009 Virtual Cupcake Crawl Participant
see all entries @ Kitchen Rap
GourmetGirl Magazine


25 responses to “Luau Cupcakes two ways, both delicious.

  1. feastonthecheap

    These look sooooo delicious. I definitely want to try these. Thank you for sharing!

  2. To think the Easy Bake led to this. What great strides you are making while baking. The cupcakes just look yummy. Are they better than the Easy Bake version? Baking with a light bulb can be a bitch! Love you…

  3. I am so impressed with this post! I learned so much. I really want to try these! Thanks!

  4. What a great flavor combination! Seriously, you’ve got too much good stuff going on there. Irresistible.

  5. Dear Friend!
    You guys in Hawaii and the rest of the US certainly like your cupcakes!LOL
    What I find interesting is the inclusion of ginger which makes it vey ethnic/exotic! Quite a change from more “regular” ones.
    Since we have sometimes to feed a lot of people at our cricket games, that sounds like a good opportunity to try such a recipe! LOL
    Cheers, Robert-Gilles (

  6. curiousdomestic

    I only recently started a love affair with ginger. I can’t believe I spent so long without it. It wakes up everything it touches . . . kinda like lemon.

  7. I just wanted to share to that I made the garlic mashed potato pancakes for my boys and they were a huge hit! Thanks so much!

  8. The recipe yield is perfect – it’s just me, Mr. Noodle and the Pupster of Disaster (who, no matter how much he looks at me with big brown, soft, beautiful, pleading eyes, doesn’t get cupcakes – except on his birthday). Thanks for sharing!

    • curiousdomestic

      Thanks for the feedback, Noodle. I used to feed my dog a cupcake on her birthday, too! Extra cupcakes freeze quite well if wrapped.

  9. oh my gosh! i’m gonna try your recipe as soon as the people from la germania return my oven!!! you had me at macadamia!

    thanks for dropping by my site 🙂

  10. These cupcakes look so yummy! I love macadamia nuts — I developed a mad passion for them in Hawaii a few years ago. I’ll definitely give this recipe a try!

  11. My girls would love these. Do you want to send some this way.

    They look amazing.

    • curiousdomestic

      Thanks, Miranda. I’ve been thinking I should make another batch soon. My pantry is out of goodies!

  12. Never heard of Luau cupcakes before…really liked the ingredients u used here. Very aromatic cup cake. Thanx for sharing. Will give it a try…

    • curiousdomestic

      Thanks Vrinda. This cupcake has a lot going on, but it all works together . . . especially with orange frosting.

  13. Well, look at you, baker, cupcake mistress, extraordinaire! They do look tasty 😉

  14. This Virtual Cupcake Crawl is such fun. I’ve decided to make every entry and have done 3 as of today. I’m looking forward to making yours and will be tweeting about the experience with pics.
    Good Luck.

    • curiousdomestic

      Cool! I look forward to some feedback. Loved the crawl: so many yummy cupcakes!

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