By Request


The coconut cake served at Orchids at the Halekulani is filled with a coconut-flavored custard.

Halekulani cake has
a devoted following

Imagine your favorite baked item. How much do you love it? How much would you miss it if you were separated by a few thousand miles? Enough to spend $145 to have it shipped to your door?

The coconut cake served at Orchids at the Halekulani achieves that level of devotion among guests. Pastry chef Franz Schaier says he averages a request per month to ship one frozen to the mainland. The number goes up during the holidays. Cost for this deluxe Federal Express service: $145, including cake.

Patricia O'Connell of Concord, Mass., doesn't want to go that far, but she does want to make the cake for her family back home (11 children and 32 grandchildren). O'Connell has been enjoying the cake for years, during annual winter visits to Hawaii.

"On our anniversary, we go to Orchids for a special night," she writes.

Lucky you live Hawaii: If you're too lazy to bake the cake, unlike O'Connell you can buy yourself a slice just about any time at Orchids. Bakeshop chefs make four or five of these cakes on a normal day, although for a buffet, they'll bake as many as 10.

The Halekulani creation is a three-layered sponge cake filled with a custardy cream and coconut flakes, then frosted all over with whipped cream and more coconut flakes. It's served in a pool of chocolate sauce.

Halekulani Coconut Cake

3/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
>> Pastry Cream:
1 1/2 cup milk
1 split vanilla bean
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
4 egg yolks
>> Whipped Cream:
3 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together cake flour, 1/3 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Set aside. Combine egg, water and oil; add to sifted ingredients. Mix batter until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites with cream of tartar. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar; continue to whip to form a stiff meringue. Fold batter into meringue and mix thoroughly.

Pour into an ungreased 9-inch cake pan and bake about 30 minutes. Invert cake onto a rack and cool.

To make pastry cream: Scrape vanilla bean seeds into milk and bring to a boil over moderate heat (add vanilla bean pod to milk as well). Combine sugar, flour and egg yolks; whip until light yellow. Slowly pour 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper it. Add milk-yolk mixture back into the remaining milk and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until thick. Immediately remove bean pod and strain, then place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill.

To prepare whipped cream: Whip cream and sugar until fluffy. Fold 1 cup into pastry cream; reserve the rest to frost cake.

To assemble: Cut cooled cake into three layers. Stir 3/4 cup of coconut flakes into pastry cream. Spread cream between layers of the cake. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining whipped cream and sprinkle with remaining coconut flakes. Serves 8.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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