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Halekulani Celebrates the 65th Anniversary of its Signature Coconut Cake

coconut cake

When talking about Halekulani, the Signature Coconut Cake is sure to come up.  Though it looks decadent, the sponge cake is airy, the amaretto pastry cream offers a subtle flavor, and the coconut flake dusting adds a wonderful finish.

It has been a signature dessert found in all Halekulani restaurants for many years – La Mer, Orchids, and House Without A Key; Halekulani Bakery, In-Room Dining, Afternoon Tea, and at Halekulani banquet functions – however, its origins have only recently been uncovered.

After researching various historical hotel menus, it was discovered that the Halekulani Coconut Layer Cake a la Mode made its debut for a whopping $0.35 on Thursday, April 9, 1959 (65 years ago).  On the same menu, a guest could splurge on the Charcoal Broiled Prime New York Cut Steak (12 oz) with a Bordelaise Sauce for $4.50!

Moses “Moke” Kawaha was hired as a baker in the early 1960s and inherited the recipes for the Coconut Cake as well as the popovers and brownies. “Moke” enhanced the Coconut Cake recipe using custard for the filling and freshly grated coconut as a topping.

Although the sponge cake remains the same and tastes like the original, the other elements have been upgraded – from a custard filling to an amaretto pastry cream and grated coconut to coconut flakes.  To up the ante, it is now served with raspberry coulis and crème anglaise.

The four-page recipe, broken down by the components of the cake, can be found on the Halekulani website. The ingredients are incredibly simple and with a bit of patience, you can bring a little piece of Halekulani to your home.  If you would prefer to leave it to the experts, you can always enjoy it at any of the hotel’s restaurants.

The cake has also inspired two recent drinks at Earl’s Pool Bar – the Coconut Cake Martini and the Coconut Old Fashioned.

If you feel creative, try your hand at the recipe and be sure to post it and tag @halekulanihotel and #CoconutCakeLegacy with your Coconut Cake creation.

coconut cake baking
Halekulani Coconut Cake
Halekulani Coconut Cake
coconut cake martini

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