Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hawaiian Wedding Cake

Have you ever tasted something so fantastic that you never forgot it?  Something that became like a photograph in your mind, where you could see the room you were in when you ate it, the art on the walls, hear the music or conversation you were listening to, as magic happened in your mouth?  I have several foods that became experiences, cemented in my mind:  my first roasted beet and goat cheese salad, my first truffle oil popcorn, and this one - Hawaiian Wedding Cake.

I first had Hawaiian Wedding Cake in high school at a church youth group pool party.  It was luau-themed, so we all had plastic leis on.  I don't remember what was for dinner, but dessert was Hawaiian Wedding Cake.  It didn't look like anything special.  But when I ate my first forkful - Holy Honolulu!  I scarfed it down and went back for another piece, completely without shame.  Coconut, pineapple, vanilla - this was like eating a vacation in pastry form!  It was fruity, creamy, rich, and delicious - everything something called Hawaiian Wedding Cake should be.

Luckily for me the recipe was easy to find online when I had a craving for it last week.  It was my birthday, and I wanted to taste this amazing cake again.  I've shaved down the original recipe, since it was supposed to make a 13x9 cake, and I didn't want to be eating leftovers for 4 days.  It's tasty, but it's not calorie-free!  The original recipe also calls for a jar of maraschino cherries to be dotted on top.  It looks pretty, but I don't eat maraschino cherries unless they're in my girlie cocktails.  Their texture kind of skeeves me out.  I would suggest maybe strawberries instead!

Before we decimated it

Hawaiian Wedding Cake


  • 1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1 large can crushed pineapple
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (or use vegetable oil or butter)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tub Cool Whip, softened
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  1. Make the cake:  Follow the instructions on the box for the cake, but instead of preparing a 13x9 pan, grease a 9x9 square pan, plus about half of a cupcake tin.  When making the cake, instead of adding a cup of water, drain the can of pineapple and use the pineapple juice.  (If you don't have enough juice to make a cup, top off with water.)  Instead of the vegetable oil, use coconut oil.  Then mix in the eggs and beat.  Fill the 9x9 pan about 2/3 full, and pour the rest of the batter into the cupcake tin. I had enough to make 5 cupcakes.  Bake as directed, about 30 minutes, and a little earlier for the cupcakes (which I let cool and froze.  Outta sight, outta mind.)  
  2. While the cake is still warm, spread the drained pineapple on top of the cake.  Let cool completely.
  3. With an electric mixer, blend together the pudding mix, cream cheese, and milk.  It will be pretty thick!  Spread over the pineapple and cake.  Put this in the fridge and let it firm up a bit.
  4. When pudding is cool and kind of firm, frost with Cool Whip, and cover with coconut flakes.  I toasted mine in a pan over medium heat on the stove - looks nicer and tastes even better!
Keep any leftovers covered in the refrigerator.  IF there are any leftovers.  It's likely not something you'll have to worry about.


  1. Oh Mylanta! I must make this!!! It looks sooooo nummy!

    Holy Honolulu! bahahahaha

  2. Shandy, I'll admit that it's a total diet-buster, but moderation in everything, right? I just make sure I invite a lot of people over when I make it, or else I eat it all myself!