The lime and the coconut both together

Haupia Cake

A song recorded back in 1971 inspired this cake.  It’s the song  Coconut  by Harry Nilsson, the silliest song ever played on a single chord and containing the line “put de lime in de coconut and drink dem both up” that was covered by The Muppets who made it a bigger hit than Nilsson. I had made this haupia cake back in November for John who loves white cakes. I decided to try the coconut pudding cake  again, this time with a lime chiffon cake as a base. It turns out my father loves white cakes too.

Haupia Hawaiian Coconut Pudding Cake with Crème Fraîche

The Cake Baker’s Notes: This recipe is my own adaptation of the classic Hawaiian dessert. It’s made in three steps. First, make the cake, then make the haupia pudding filling, and finally, the crème fraîche. If you wish add fresh young coconut slivers to the haupia pudding. I recommend using Thai unsweetened coconut milk as it tends to be creamier and thicker. If a thin coconut milk is used increase the cornstarch a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is thickened. To add more cornstarch to the pudding mixture, make a solution of water and cornstarch, about 1:1. Never add cornstarch directly to the pudding.

First, bake a Lime Glow Chiffon Cake (adapted from The Cake Bible)

Have at room temperature:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups white superfine sugar, set aside 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup safflower oil
7 large eggs, separated plus 3 additional whites
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon grated lime peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Prepare to bake. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Set aside one ungreased 10 inch two-piece tube pan. Make sure the large bowl for the egg whites and the beaters are free of grease.

Whip the egg whites. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is slowly raised. Beat in the 2 tablespoons of reserved sugar and beat until stiff peaks form when the beater is slowly raised. Rinse the beaters and dry them.

Combine all the dry ingredients. In another large mixing bowl, combine the flour, the remaining sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat 1 minute to mix. Make a well in the center.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. In the center well, add the oil, egg yolks, water, lime juice, lime zest, and vanilla. Beat one minute until smooth. Set aside.

Combine the two mixtures. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter with a large balloon wire whisk, slotted skimmer, or angel food cake folder until just blended, when there are streaks remaining.

Bake. Pour into the tube pan. The batter will come up to 1 inch from the top. Run a small metal spatula or knife through the batter to eliminate air pockets. Bake for 55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center.

Cool the cake. Invert the pan, placing the tube opening over a funnel to suspend the cake above the counter. Cool the cake completely in the pan 1 1/2 hours.

Unmold the cake. To unmold the cake, loosen the sides and center tube with a long metal spatula. Remove the side of the pan. Dislodge the bottom and center core with a metal spatula or a long thin sharp knife. Invert onto a greased wire rack and reinvert onto a serving plate. Wrap airtight. Freeze cake as a frozen cake helps set the pudding filling.

Second, make the Haupia Coconut Pudding filling (from:


1 1/2  cups (12 ounce can) unsweetened coconut milk (See The Cake Baker’s Notes above)
4 -6 tablespoons sugar
4 -6 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water or fresh coconut water, if available
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (Also recommend vanilla or rum extract!)
1/2 cup slivered fresh young coconut, optional

Make the pudding. Pour coconut milk into saucepan. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch; stir in water and blend well. Stir sugar mixture into coconut milk; cook and stir constantly over low heat until it becomes thickened.

Add flavoring. Remove from heat. Stir in extract.

Blend in coconut. If using fresh young coconut slivers, stir gently and evenly into mixture.

Trim and slice the cake for frosting. Remove cake from freezer and, using a serrated knife, slice cake into two layers. Trim the top to level it and make the cake layers even.

Fill the cake. Put bottom cake layer on a large plate with the cut side up. Spread half the haupia on top to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Place the second cake layer on top of the haupia, cut side down trimmed top up.  Press down slightly so that the haupia will spread to the edge. Spread the remaining haupia on the trimmed top going all the way to the edge.

Decorate and Refrigerate. Refrigerate to set the pudding. When the haupia pudding is set, frost top and sides with crème fraîche.

Finally, make the Crème Fraîche (from: The Cake Bible)


1 1/2 cups heavy cream (In Canada, at least 35% milk fat)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Prepare ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, sour cream, and sugar then refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

Whip ingredients. Beat cream mixture until soft peaks form when the beaters are raised or until it mounds when dropped from a spoon.

Frost cake sides. Using a thin spatula, spread the crème fraîche evenly on the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to slice and eat. Serve with any remaining crème fraîche. Refrigerate, covered, any uneaten portions.

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