Haupia Cake

Haupia (how-pee-ah), is a thick coconut pudding that is usually served as squares at the end of a luau buffet line, a perfect little sweet coconut bite to finish a heavy meal is perfect. I call it a pudding but it has more of a texture of a gelatin dessert. Traditionally it was made with arrowroot as a thickener but is now more commonly made with cornstarch. The most modern interpretation of haupia is haupia cake, where it is used as a filling, in a white cake topped with whip cream icing. Growing up and only being knee high to the bakery display at Zippy’s, I only knew haupia cake to also be topped with my favorite coconut pudding. That’s how I still make it because, more haupia more better, it is best to make this a day before since it does take the haupia a while to set.

Haupia Cake Yield 1 9″ round cake

Coconut Cake

1 box of white cake mix

4 eggs Whites

1 1/4c Milk

1 t Coconut extract

1 stick Butter, melted

To Start: Butter 2 9″ cake rounds and sprinkle a little bit of cake mix to use to “flour” the pans.

Preheat the oven to 325º

Step One: In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they are making sift peaks, place in separate bowl and set aside.

Step Two: Mix together milk, coconut extract, and remaining cake mix.

Step Three: Fold in 1/3rd of the egg whites to the cake batter, then another 1/3rd folding gentling to not lose the air in the whites, then add the last bit of whites.

Step Four: Divide batter and fill both pans until about 1/2 way full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Haupia Filling

2c Coconut milk, unsweetened

1/4c White Sugar

pinch of salt

1/4c Water, cold

5T Cornstarch

Step One: Add Coconut milk, sugar, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring just to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Step Two: In a small bowl add the cold water and corn starch.

Step Three: Once the coconut mixture is simmering (not boiling) slowly pour in the cornstarch slurry stirring constantly. Should start to thicken up you want it to be the texture of pudding.

Step Four: Remove from pot and cool on the counter for 10 minutes (You don’t want it to fully set until it’s on the cake. After 10 minutes place into the fridge to cool stir at least once while cooling.

Whipped Cream Frosting

3c Heavy Whipping Cream

3T Coconut instant pudding

3T powdered Sugar, shifted

1-2c Shredded Coconut, for garnish

Step One: With stand mixer add whipping cream to the bowl and mix for a minute or until it’s still liquid but with some bubbles.

Step Two: Add pudding powder, sugar, and salt and mix until doubled in size and looks like whip cream.


Step One: Once the cakes are completely cooled, pipe a ring of frosting around the bottom layer and fill the ring with 1/2 of the haupia filling making sure it is even all the way to the piped ring.

Step Two: Place top layer on top and frost the whole cake with a thin layer of frosting (crumb coat) then refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

Step Three: Setting aside some for piping, frost the whole cake in a nice even layer.

Step Four: Pipe a decorative ring around the base of the cake as well as the outer edge of the top of the cake. I use a shell pattern or dots making sure to keep the guava topping from leaking through.

Step Five: Pour the rest of the haupia on the top of the cake spreading it into an even layer making sure it’s right up to the piped line.

Step Six: Dab shredded coconut to the outside until the frosted sides are completely covered.

Finishing: Refrigerate for at least an hour (better if overnight) to make sure the topping and frosting are set. Serve after a big ol’ plate of kalua pork, mac salad and rice (optional).

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