Halekulani Hotel Coconut Cake

Mark Boughton/Styling by: Teresa Blackburn
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins

This fabulous cake came to us from the majestic Halekulani Hotel on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, where it has been the hotel's signature cake for years. It's cut into three layers, then pasted together with pastry cream. Don't worry if your layers aren't perfect; once it's put together, you'll never know. The taste is all you'll care about.


Sponge Cake:
1 1/2cups cake flour
2/3cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup, divided
1/2teaspoon salt
2teaspoons baking powder
1/4cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2/3cup water
8 egg whites
1/2teaspoon cream of tartar
Pastry Cream:
2cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
1/2cup sugar
1/8teaspoon salt
1/2teaspoon vanilla extract
6tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs
2tablespoons butter
1 1/4cups sweetened flaked coconut
1/2cup amaretto
Whipped Cream:
3cups heavy cream
3tablespoons sugar
1/2cup sweetened flaked coconut


  1. To prepare the cake, preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Sift together cake flour, 2/3 cup sugar, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. In separate bowl, combine oil, egg and water; add to flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
  3. Whip egg whites and cream of tartar. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter until just combined.
  4. Pour into pan and bake about 30 minutes or until center is set. Remove from pan set aside to cool. Store in the refrigerator several hours before cutting.
  5. To prepare the pastry cream, combine 1 3/4 cups milk, sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until tiny bubbles form. Combine remaining milk with cornstarch; add eggs and beat several times.
  6. Add ½ cup hot milk mixture to egg mixture; mix well. Pour egg mixture back into milk mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Scrape custard into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator.
  7. To prepare the whipped cream, combine heavy cream and sugar in a nonreactive mixing bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.
  8. Add 1 cup of whipped cream, amaretto and 1 1/4 cups coconut to pastry cream; stir well. Set remaining whipped cream and coconut aside.
  9. When cake is completely cooled, cut into three layers using a serrated knife. Place one layer on a 9-inch cake board or a serving plate. Place half the pastry cream on top and spread to edge evenly. Place second layer of cake on top of pastry cream and spread remaining pastry cream on top. Place third layer of cake on top. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining whipped cream and sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut.

Recipe by permission from the Halekulani Hotel, Honolulu.

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Glycemic Load 21.18
  • Calories 600
  • Fat 35g
  • Saturated Fat 20g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 4.5g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 9g
  • Cholesterol 155mg
  • Sodium 360mg
  • Potassium 250mg
  • Carbohydrate 61g
  • Fiber 2g
  • Sugars 38g
  • Protein 9g
  • Trans Fat 1g
  • Vitamin A 20%
  • Vitamin C 0%
  • Calcium 15%
  • Iron 10%