Hawaii Dreamy: Coconut Haupia Cake Recipe

coconut haupia cake recipe

coconut haupia cake recipe

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.

coconut haupia cake recipe

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

One 9 inch 2 layer haupia cake

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.

  1. Grease and flour your cake pans. You can also add parchment paper circles for easy removal.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
  3. Scraping down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs one by one until incorporated.
  4. Add the vanilla and almond extracts until mixed.
  5. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, shredded coconut, baking powder and salt.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the coconut milk.
  7. Mix on low speed until incorporated; do not overmix.
  8. Divide batter in half and pour into prepared cake pans.
  9. 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.
  10. Let cool in pans completely.

Make The Haupia

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, cornstarch and water into a slurry.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan set over medium high heat, heat the coconut milk to a low boil.
  3. Add the slurry, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens.
  4. Once thickened, remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and let cool.
  5. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour until thickened and set.

For The Whipped Cream

  1. Chill a metal bowl and whisk attachment or beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Place whipped cream in the cold bowl. Add sugar and vanilla.
  3. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat.

Assemble The Cake

  1. Once the cakes are completely cool, run a small offset spatula around the edges of your cake; remove cakes from pans.
  2. 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.
  3. Add 2 cups of the haupia filling to the cake.
  4. Remove second cake layer from its pan; trim the dome off the second layer.
  5. 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.
  6. Then, place the remaining haupia on top of the second cake layer.
  7. Add a healthy amount of whipped cream on top of the haupia, spreading from the center to the edges for a rustic look.
  8. Finally, sprinkle the white coconut curls on top of the cake.
  9. Chill the cake for one hour, covered, before serving.


coconut haupia cake recipe

coconut haupia cake recipe

Depending on how wildly/and or greedily/chintzy you cut this cake, it can serve 12-15 guests happily. Serve it at a Hawaiian themed party with a big old salty umami porky original nose-to-tail plate of Spam musubi and some lychee mochi ice cream! Ooh I want to try making ice cream mochi so bad.

For more coconut madness (yeah, I’m nuts about coconut) try:

This haupia chocolate cream pie recipe! OH SNAP I just drooled.

These matcha green tea donuts with coconut sprinkles.

Sweet and easy, chewy and satisfying coconut macaroons.

And this… toasted coconut ice cream recipe!

Speaking of flavours-specific-to-geographical-locations, are there any wild and wonderful cakes you know about that you’d like to share? I love learning about new cakes, like this unknown-to-me one: cassata alla Siciliana ricotta cake which I read about on David Lebovitz’s blog! WHAT! It looks like it’s made out of vegetables. I am kind of dying to taste it. Come on, cake readers – spill! xo Lyndsay

24 Responses to “Hawaii Dreamy: Coconut Haupia Cake Recipe”

  1. molly yeh

    whoa this is SO dreamy. like…. can-i-go-back-to-bed-only-my-bed-is-made-of-this-cake dreamy

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      haha… imagine log rolling around in this coconut cloud!!

  2. danielle @ this picture books life

    Dreamy indeed!!!

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      thanks danielle! ^__^

  3. cynthia

    This cake is my love language. OMG. You had me at haupia. And I want to make all those other links, too! (Toasted coconut ice cream!!!)

  4. movita beaucoup

    This sounds like the kind of thing I could make for myself. You know, to eat all alone. With no interruptions.

  5. Mila

    Hi Lyndsay!

    Wow your blog looks great! I am here for the first time and I could not stop looking at the previous pages of your blog. Where did you learned to decorate cakes so perfectly?

    Best regards,

  6. Abbie

    Looks delicious! I can’t wait to try this recipe. I also have a special place in my heart for Hawaii. My mom grew up there and we go there for vacations as much as possible. We just got back a week and a half ago!

  7. Miniature hummingbird cake with coconut buttercream. » Two Red Bowls

    […] tropical things that remind me of Bowl #2′s home in Hawaii.  (If only I’d added some haupia!)  The toasted coconut on top is unreal (how did I never toast coconut before this?), and the […]

  8. Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine

    I love coconut. This is my dream cake :) The purple flower makes it look so whimsical.

  9. Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño

    I’ve never heard of this but I’m already in love! These pictures are so pretty!

  10. Birthday malasadas with guava and lilikoi filling. - Two Red Bowls

    […] squishy ones are for the fabulous Lyndsay at CocoCakeLand — she is a lover of Hawaii and donuts and a badass fighter if I ever saw one.  If you don’t follow her […]

  11. Kay

    Thanks for the great haupia cake recipe. I wanted to make it for a Hawaiian themed potluck and the other recopies I found used a boxed white cake mix :(

    I made a sheet cake and cut that into two layers. Filling between the layers and on top. I topped it with stabilized whipped cream Other than adding the gelatin to the whipped cream and the pan shape, I made the recipe exactly as listed.

    A big hit – and hugely coconutty!

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      Kay! I’m THRILLED that you made it and took the time to comment! Thank you so much and I’m so happy it was a big hit!! XO

  12. Amanda

    I Made the recipe exactly as shown and it was pretty good. The only thing that was disappointing was the haupia. Mine was super runny! I’m wondering if the instructions could be more detailed? Maybe I didn’t boil enough? I pulled it off the heat when it thickened and was hoping the refrigerator would have thickened it more but no dice.
    Any suggestions?

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      Hi Amanda, I sent you an email!

  13. Jennifer Georgi

    How long do you bake the cake?

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      Hi Jennifer, it says in the Instructions area of the recipe – around 25 minutes, but I would start checking at 22 minutes as all ovens are different! Thank you!

  14. sheila Benard

    Hi I have a recipe for the Haupia cake but it is for a 9X13″ pan I want to use a homemade cake recipe instead of the boxed one it calls for. So my question is will this be enough for that size pan I also have to slice into 3 halves .
    Thank You
    Sheila Benard

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      Hi Sheila, I think the recipe would be ok for a single layer 9×13 pan, for a layered 9 x 13 cake, I would double the recipe and torte the cake into two layers, or bake two single 9 x 13 layers and stack.

  15. Kahi

    I made this for my sons birthday
    I was so excited because he wanted a coconut cake especially with Haupia
    but the cake was so incredibly dense
    I would’ve much preferred a more sponge cake
    the Haupia was ok but I wouldn’t add the vanilla if I wanted it beautiful white like the picture. the vanilla made the Haupia quite grey in color
    I did add an additional 2 TBSP of cornstarch
    one would’ve been fine but 2 was too much and made it chunky
    that was my own fault
    but the cake itself as just too much and all in all I didn’t. really l like it
    I am commenting because I didn’t really see too many comments of people that actually made it so hear it is

    thank you

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      Hi Kahi! Thank you for letting me know, hope your son could still enjoy his birthday cake, sorry to hear you didn’t like it. It’s been several years since I posted this, I think I will revisit the recipe!

  16. amber Bernstein

    I have made this recipe several times and I always get rave reviews. It is soooo delicious. Thank you!

    My husband has requested this recipes with chocolate cake and I was wondering if you think adding coca powder would do the trick? Any advice?

    Thank you!

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      Hi Amber, oh I’m so happy to hear that! Haha I like your husband’s style – I would try reducing the amount of flour to 2 1/4 cups and using 1/2 cup of Dutch process cocoa powder. Cocoa powder can sometimes usurp moisture from a cake, hence the recommendation to reduce dry ingredients by 1/4 cup! Let me know how it goes -! xo Lyndsay

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