Brown Butter Cake with Strawberries and Sweet-and-Salty Macadamia Nuts

Todd Mitgang

Crave Fishbar - NYC

For a spin on a French financier, Todd Mitgang substitutes macadamia nuts for the classic almonds.


  • Sweet-and-Salty Macadamia Nuts:
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Strawberry Compote:
  • 1 cup hulled and halved strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon thyme leaves
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
  • Macadamia–Brown Butter Cake:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 1/2 cups whole macadamia nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Dash salt
  • 3/4 cup (about 5) egg whites
  • 1 cup crème fraîche


Make the sweet-and-salty macadamia nuts: preheat the oven to 350ºF. Combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the water in a small pan. Heat over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Transfer the syrup to a small bowl and add the macadamia nuts. Add the remaining sugar and the salt; toss to coat. Transfer to a cake pan or baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Toast in the oven until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Roughly chop the nuts and set aside. (Can be made a day ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.)

Make the strawberry compote: combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon thyme, and salt in a bowl and stir to coat. Let sit in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Transfer the strawberries to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Combine the purée with the quartered strawberries in a large bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate until needed.

Make the macadamia–brown butter cake: preheat the oven to 315ºF. Grease a 9 x 9-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper, leaving 2 or 3 inches of overhang. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook until the butter is golden brown and has a nutty fragrance, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Place the macadamia nuts in a food processor and grind until very fine, about 1 minute. Be careful not to overprocess them, or you will create a paste. Measure out a cup of macadamia flour and set aside. Save the remaining flour for another use.

In a mixing bowl, combine the macadamia flour with the confectioners’ sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk until combined. Add the egg whites to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in the cooled brown butter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Place the crème fraîche in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip to stiff peaks, about 3 minutes.

To serve, slice the cake into individual servings. Top each serving with some strawberry compote and a dollop of whipped crème fraîche. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.


One 9 x 9–inch cake