If you’re a reader of Coco Cake Land, you know I have a special place in my HEART for Hawaii! The tropical sun, the warm clear water, the beautiful friendly people… sigh! Man I love the flavours of Hawaii too, especially those desserts – coconut, lillikoi (passionfruit), strawberry guava, lychee, pineapple… Gah I wish I was back there right now. Have you ever had haupia cake? I’m just going to blast right in and say it: if you hate coconut, run, just RUN away right now. If you love coconut, get your drooling parts ready ’cause this coconut haupia cake recipe is super stuffed with it. So what is haupia? It’s a cold and creamy coconut pudding that I could basically eat a children’s sized kiddie pool’s worth. After that, I may not eat it again for a while. But still. That’s pretty impressive.
Many haupia cake recipes online use a white cake mix and gelatin in the haupia – I am SO down with cake mixes (the flavour is so nostalgic to me! Those cake mix companies know what they’re doing, guys) and gelatin is lots o’ fun, but my recipe uses a haupia pudding as opposed to the thickly set gelatin layer you might find in other recipes. Honestly, there is NO haupia cake I would leave behind. None. My cake is also a bit heftier than the light Hawaiian sponge – it’s more of a butter cake slam-jammed with coconut. I made this cake for my sweet older sis Leanne’s birthday – she’s as Hawaii obsessed as I am!
Note: If you have leftover haupia, consider yourself a happy chappy – you can add it as a topping for waffles with fresh berries, or you can even CHURN IT UP in an ice cream maker! DUDE. It’s true. Or just gobble it up nice and cold with a spoon.
Coconut Haupia Cake Recipe
For the cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups of all purpose flour
- 2 cups packed shredded unsweetened white coconut
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups of full fat coconut milk
- ½ cup of white coconut curls
For the Haupia
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
For the whipped cream
- 2 cups of whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour your cake pans. You can also add parchment paper circles for easy removal.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
- Scraping down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs one by one until incorporated.
- Add the vanilla and almond extracts until mixed.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, shredded coconut, baking powder and salt.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the coconut milk.
- Mix on low speed until incorporated; do not overmix.
- Divide batter in half and pour into prepared cake pans.
- Bake in the middle rack of the oven, turning pans halfway to ensure even baking, about 22-28 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center of each cake; if the toothpick comes out dry, remove the cakes from the oven.
- Let cool in pans completely.
Make the haupia
- In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, cornstarch and water into a slurry.
- In a medium sized saucepan set over medium high heat, heat the coconut milk to a low boil.
- Add the slurry, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens.
- Once thickened, remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and let cool.
- Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour until thickened and set.
For the whipped cream
- Chill a metal bowl and whisk attachment or beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Place whipped cream in the cold bowl. Add sugar and vanilla.
- Beat on high until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat.
Assemble the cake
- Once the cakes are completely cool, run a small offset spatula around the edges of your cake; remove cakes from pans.
- Place the first layer flat side down on a cake plate. Using a serrated knife, trim the dome off the cake to level the cake.
- Add 2 cups of the haupia filling to the cake.
- Remove second cake layer from its pan; trim the dome off the second layer.
- Place the layer cut-side-down gently on top of the haupia. It’s ok if the haupia filling drips down the sides a bit! Au naturel.
- Then, place the remaining haupia on top of the second cake layer.
- Add a healthy amount of whipped cream on top of the haupia, spreading from the center to the edges for a rustic look.
- Finally, sprinkle the white coconut curls on top of the cake.
- Chill the cake for one hour, covered, before serving.