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The History of the Halekulani Coconut Cake

Halekulani Coconut Cake

When talking about Halekulani, the signature coconut cake is sure to come up.  As decadent as it is visually appealing, people remember the light-as-air sponge cake, the hint of amaretto pastry cream, and the coconut flakes that dust the entire cake.


It has been a signature dessert found in all three of the restaurants – La Mer, Orchids, and House Without A Key, however only recently have its origins been uncovered…

Going through various hotel historical menus, on Thursday, April 9, 1959 (64 years ago) we see the first appearance of the Halekulani Coconut Layer Cake a la Mode for a whopping $0.35.  On the same menu, you could splurge and have 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, popovers, and brownies.  “Moke” enhanced the coconut cake using custard for the filling and topped the cake with freshly grated coconut.

A few slight modifications have been added to the cake such as an amaretto cream filling along with coconut flakes, a raspberry coulis and crème anglaise drizzles, but it has been said that the taste is almost like the original.

If you have some time to spare and feel creative, please find the link to the recipe here (four pages long) and tag us @halekulanihotel with your creation.


Don’t despair – you can always find our signature cake at all of our restaurants and be sure to try the new Coconut Cake Martini, served exclusively at Earl’s Pool Bar, which was inspired by its namesake with Vanilla-infused Pau Maui Vodka, Mahina Coconut, Amaretto Disaronno, Fresh Lemon Juice, Blended Coconut Flakes, House made Coconut Foam, and Almond Salt.

Halekulani Coconut Cake
Halekulani Coconut Cake
Halekulani Coconut Cake
Halekulani Coconut Cake

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