Tonka Bean, White Chocolate and Apricot Cakes

I can’t believe i haven’t blogged about these Tonka bean, white chocolate and apricot cakes yet! Maybe it’s because Tonka beans are banned in the U.S and this post is just a tease for many of you (unless you have a fabulous friend who’s willing to bring some back from Europe, and risk jail time for you. I do have a friend like that but i’m not sharing!) You could still make this recipe using vanilla bean and pure almond extract instead and get very good results.

She posted this recipe a while back and raved about it, i wanted to see for myself as soon as i got my eager little fingers on the precious beans. These bite size cakes look like little atomic mushrooms, and that’s exactly what you will feel while chewing on them, a badass explosion of flavors. Careful now, it might make your head spin.

Tonka beans have been banned by the FDA because they contain a substance called coumarin, a blood thinner used in prescription drugs. What the FDA is quiet about is that cinnamon contains similar amounts of coumarin, but i guess that’s okay. Let’s try not to make sense of certain regulations. The bottom line is that high intakes of tonka beans or cinnamon can be bad for you but since we use it as a flavoring, i wouldn’t worry too much about it. Just call me doctor Zen.

(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Tonka beans have an amazing fragrance (and it’s used a lot by perfumers) reminiscent of vanilla, almonds and cinnamon with a hint of clove. It can turn a variety of desserts and even some savory foods into.. er… sex! uh uh! yea! That’s right! Just ask the uber-talented Tartelette.

I still have some other projects planned involving Tonka beans, ice creams, custards..etc.. I’ll share my findings with you and let’s hope the FDA changes it’s mind soon. In the meantime… vive la contrebande!

Just so you know. This recipe originated on this French Blog.
Tonka Bean, White Chocolate and Apricot Cakes

(from Tartelette)

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white chocolate, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tonka beans
  • 15 dried apricots, cut in small dices

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and thick, about 2-3 minutes. Add the butter and chocolate. Whisk well and add the flour. Finely grate the tonka bean and add to the batter. Add the dried apricots and mix until incorporated.

Divide evenly between muffin tins coated with cooking spray and cook for 15 minutes (longer if using a larger pan, about 20-25 minutes)

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  • Elra

    Mmmm doctor Zen, this sounds dangerously delicious.
    Tempting, too bad they are banned.

  • Selba

    It looks yummy :)

  • pigpigscorner

    I wonder if I can get tonka beans in the UK. Would love to try this!

  • Darius T. Williams

    Yup – too bad they’re banned because this looks good sir!

  • 5 Star Foodie

    Those cakes look scrumptious! I would love to have those tonka beans because I have blood clotting problems so they’ll actually be good for me :)

  • Elle

    These *do* like like sweet little mushrooms, Dr. Z!

  • The Short (dis)Order Cook

    They look great.

    So is possession illegal? You know that you had better be nice to all of us who read your blog or we may have to extort money from you or else we’ll turn you over to the authorities.

    Any realistic substitution?

  • Stacey Snacks

    baker too?
    What’s next? do you sew?

    I have been afraid to use my silicone bakeware, will try it now that you are still alive after using them!

  • Cakespy

    These look like they’d ship well. Basically what I am saying is, ship me a box of these. Now!

    OK, ok, I’ll stop being bossy and dole out a compliment: they look deliciously carb-o-licious!

  • lisaiscooking

    I wasn’t familiar with tonka beans. Thanks for the info. The cakes look delicious!

  • Tartelette

    Aren’t these just so awesome that you want to go outside and give everybody a hug?!! You can’t give them one because if you are like me, you already ate them all before saying “Oh I could just hug somebody these are so good!!” :)

  • Heather

    Ooh, c’est tres exotique! I’ve heard of these but never seen them in real life. How wonderful those little cakes look! I want to soak them in rum. ­čśŤ

  • Anali

    These are so cute! And thanks for schooling me on some illegal substances. Errr. Teaching me about some FDA Regs! You know what I mean! ; )

  • Mochachocolata Rita

    Dr.Zen, I have some tonka beans…and cinnamon on my…..i mean, in my…….

  • Peter M

    Zen, I too still have to use that immensely aromatic batch of tonkas you sent me..I’m on it! (merci)

    I like the new profile pic….you look like you’re on the phone with US Immigration!

  • AzAzura

    Oh doctor you are a bad bad doctor feeding me us with these pretty visuals,- some people cooks well and some writes well and shall I say that I am gonna have to hate you for being freaking good at both.Damn! I am jealous bisous

  • Manger La Ville

    Sounds so delicious. You have tempted me. Do you like using the silicone baking molds? I was just wondering your opinion. These little cakes came out great using them.

  • Giff

    cozy! since I don’t bake, I’ll have to eat yours

  • cakewardrobe

    yummy!! I hope you got some good skiing in in CO!

  • Ginny

    neato! I learn something new everyday… i’ll need to keep my eye out the next time im out of the country… :)

  • foodhuntress79

    That Tonka bean is making me epi- curious. :) Why, your new photo reminds me of Amelie!

  • Emily

    These little cakes look like they’re incredibly delicious. I’d love to be able to try the tonka bean.

  • Colloquial Cook

    On essayera par la poste la prochaine fois :-) comme ├ža on ├ęvite la prison, les oranges et les tatouages. C’est mieux.

  • Clumbsy Cookie

    I’m so glad you tried tonka beans! Aren’t they wonderful? I love them so much that sometimes I go to my pantry just to smell mine. Ok and to eat a cookie…

  • Walter

    Tonka Beans can be legally bought and sold in the U.S., but only for use as potpourri/incense/hippy wiccan spell thingies.

    Where it’s illegal, is if it’s used as an ingredient in prepared food, or sold with the intent of consumption.

    Local botanicas and Magick shops probably sell it.

    A few spice companies also sell it, such as and but only for external use of course *wink* *wink*