This post may contain affiliate links. Please view my disclosure page for more information.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Haleakala Cake {White Cake with Pineapple Filling, Fluffy Frosting and Toasted Coconut!}

This cake is amazing! It is LOADED with pineapple and then coated in a big white cloud of frosting. Add a little coconut to drive the taste of the tropics home!

pineapple filled haleakala cake with one slice missing

     This cake is so good. Two layers of soft white cake, a TON of pineapple filling and a white fluffy cloud of frosting. A little toasted coconut on top helps transport you to the tropics. It is a winner of a cake that will be requested time and again!

     My grandpa celebrated his 85th birthday earlier this month!  He and grandma invited everyone over for pizza and cake.

    I love making desserts when I have a chance to share them with a group, so I called to see if I could bring a cake too.  Of course they said yes, because who doesn't want more cake?!

layers of cake and pineapple ready to frost

    So I pulled out Maida's Cake Book and went to business deciding which of April's Cake Slice cakes I planned to make.  Luckily the decision was pretty easy.

     This Haleakala Cake sounded amazing and perfectly fitting for a birthday.  There is just something about layer cakes that scream "let's celebrate!"

putting fluffy white frosting on the cake

     This cake was fun to make.  After going the first *ahem* thirty-something years of my life never making marshmallow frosting, it seems to be a theme this year.

    It took more than a gallon of the good stuff to cover the star-spangled banana cake and I made some 7-minute frosting to cover some oatmeal creme pie bars I made.  Now this version.

haleakala cake with toasted coconut on top on a marble and wood cake stand

    To tell you the truth, this is by far my favorite version yet!  It stayed so fluffy and amazing!

    It may just be a difference in humidity too, but this one seemed like it stayed softer for longer.  (Of course it was only around for 24 hours from the time it was frosted to the time it was completely gone, so that may have had something to do with it!)

bite of haleakala cake on fork

   This cake was filled with a delicious pineapple filling.  2 1/2 pounds of pineapple in one cake!

  I was unsure about having filling be the top layer under the frosting, but it really wasn't that hard to pull off.  In the end, I did have a few tiny specks of pineapple pull through the frosting, but it was only after I really messed with the frosting trying to decide what final look to go for.

  Had I just frosted it and left it alone, there wouldn't have been any.  As it was, I don't think anyone noticed besides me.

    The recipe just called for putting 1/2 cup of coconut on top.  I thought it would be a fun contrast in color to toast it.  Plus I love the flavor toasting adds.

   So I just quickly toasted the coconut in a skillet on the stove before I made the frosting.  By the time the cake was ready for it's topping, it had cooled and was ready to use.

first slice of haleakala cake coming out of cake

    The cake itself is an interesting one too.  It came out so moist and tender.  The recipe is a bit odd in that in uses butter, milk and egg whites.

   The whites aren't whipped before you add them.  You just toss them in as they are and crank up the mixer for a couple of minutes.

   I was really pleased with the crumb of the cake and wouldn't mind using this cake as a base for more great creations.  If only I had more time and more excuses to make dessert!

    We had a great time celebrating grandpa's birthday and my extended family did a great job helping me not have too much cake leftover.  We are normally a buttercream or chocolate frosting family, so it was fun to hear people talk about the frosting and try to decide what was in there.  Now they'll know my secrets! ;-)

whole haleakala cake with toasted coconut and pineapple with forks and serving plates

tropical cake, pineapple coconut cake, Hawaiian cake
desserts, cake
Yield: 16 servings

Haleakala Cake

This cake is amazing! It is LOADED with pineapple and then coated in a big white cloud of frosting. Add a little coconut to drive the taste of the tropics home!
prep time: 1 hourcook time: 1 hourtotal time: 2 H


Pineapple Filling
  • 2 20 oz cans crushed pineapple
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T + 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • (optional) a couple of drops of yellow food coloring
Soft White Cake
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 egg whites
Fluffy White Frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 scant tsp cream of tartar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted


How to cook Haleakala Cake

Pineapple Filling
  1. Pour pineapple into a large strainer over a bowl. Press down on the pineapple to release all of the juice. Set pineapple aside.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add a little bit of the pineapple juice and stir to ensure there are no lumps. Add remainder of juice and stir thoroughly.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and continue stirring while the mixture simmers for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in reserved pineapple, vanilla and food coloring. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
White Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare two round 9" pans. (You can grease and flour them or I use the baking spray with flour in it)
  2. Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt with a whisk to ensure no clumps. Set aside.
  3. In your mixer bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until completely incorporated. Be sure the scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  4. Add half of the dry ingredients, mix on low until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then add half of the milk, again mixing on low until incorporated. Repeat, adding the remainder of the dry ingredients and then the milk. Scrape the sides well.
  5. Add the egg whites (you add them unbeaten) and beat batter on high for 2 minutes. It is ok if the final batter isn't completely smooth.
  6. Pour half of the batter into each of the two prepared pans. Tilt them a bit to level out the batter, and then drop them from a few inches above the counter to finish leveling them.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes. The sides should have pulled away from the edges and the top should be golden brown and barely spring back when pressed with a finger tip.
  8. Run a knife around the edges of the cakes when you remove them from the oven, then let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Invert onto a cooling rack and then cool right side up until completely cooled.
Frosting and Assembly
  1. This icing is not one that should be made ahead. Have the cake and filling ready to go before you make the icing and it is best served the same day (though the leftovers are delicious too!)
  2. Go ahead and place the first layer of cake on your serving tray. Top with half of the pineapple mixture, spreading to almost the edge of the cake. Place second layer of cake on top and finish with the rest of the pineapple. Smooth the pineapple as best you can so you will be ready when the frosting is done.
  3. In a large (at least 6 cups) saucepan, mix together sugar, cream of tartar and water with a wooden spoon. Set spoon aside so you aren't tempted to stir for a while!
  4. Cook mixture over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Cover pot so that it is airtight (use the lid of the pot or foil) and let boil for 3 minutes without opening it. (Maida says this keeps the steam in the pot and dissolves any sugar granules that stick to the sides.)
  5. Uncover the pot and place your candy thermometer. Raise the heat to high and let boil without stirring until the thermometer reaches 242 F.
  6. As the sugar is coming up to temperature, place your egg whites and salt into your clean mixer bowl. When the sugar reaches about 236 F, begin beating the egg whites until they are stiff. You want the egg whites to be freshly beaten and the sugar syrup to be ready at about the same time. Though you can always turn down the heat a bit on the syrup or turn the mixer on low for a minute or two until the other part of the icing is ready.
  7. Once syrup reaches 242 F and egg whites are ready, turn mixer to high and very gradually drizzle hot syrup into the egg whites. Hold the pan about a foot over the mixer bowl and pour in a steady stream until it is all incorporated. Beat on high for 5 more minutes. The mix should be thick and marshmallowy. Mix in vanilla until completely incorporated. 
  8. The frosting is spread most easily while it is still warm, so working quickly spread a thin layer of icing around the sides of the cake. Keep adding to build it up to just over 1/2 inch thick. Then place remaining icing on top of the cake and spread until smooth. You can use the back of a spoon to form swirls and peaks if you'd like. I liked the look with more smooth sides.
  9. If you'd like, sprinkle your coconut on top.Let cake stand uncovered at room temperature.

Recommended Products:

Fat (grams)
Sat. Fat (grams)
Carbs (grams)
Fiber (grams)
Net carbs
Sugar (grams)
Protein (grams)
Sodium (milligrams)
Cholesterol (grams)
Created using The Recipes Generator

This cake is amazing! It is LOADED with pineapple and then coated in a big white cloud of frosting. Add a little coconut to drive the taste of the tropics home!


  1. Wishing your grandpa a Very Happy Belated 85th Birthday! Your cake looks fabulous!

  2. What a wonderful cake. I definitely want to make this one!

  3. I love seeing the posts from you and your fellow cake slice bakers. It's fun to see how some of the bloggers can use the same recipe and yet they turned out so different. Everyone is so creative.
    The family loved your cake. It's funny how when we get together we often try to decipher what might be in a recipe. Everyone is getting such refined taste buds around here. Suddenly everybody is acting like they are judges on a show for the food network

  4. Now that's a whopper of a cake, I'm so glad you had a perfect occasion to bake it for. I hope your grandpa and your family and friends enjoyed it. It looks wonderful Carlee.

    1. It was soooo good and so much fun to serve! Thanks, Laura!

  5. Carlee, the cake is beautiful! I bet your grandpa was happy. I love that the top layer is pineapple covered with the frosting. Yum!!!

    1. Thank you! I was nervous about frosting over that pineapple, but it really worked well. This is one I would definitely make again!

  6. I want more cake, I want more cake! Give me this cake every day! I love pineapple and this frosting looks absolutely amazing! Happy belated birthday to your precious grandpa.

    1. Ha! Me too! MOOOOOORE CAKE! I love pineapple too. My first instinct would be to say I love chocolate desserts best, but something like this definitely gives chocolate a run for its money! Thanks, Andrea!

  7. I am so happy to see how this turned out. I was curious to make it myself but wasn't able to invest that much time this month. It looks delightful and I love how light and fluffy the frosting looks!

  8. Hi Carlee, What a wonderful cake to bake for your grandfather's birthday! I'm sure everyone loved it. I'm amazed that it takes 2 20-oz. cans of pineapple! Thanks for sharing the recipe! Blessings, Janet

    1. Isn't it crazy how much pineapple it takes?! It turns out so good with all of that fruit filling, but them I am a sucker for pineapple so it was a shoe-in for me! Thanks!

  9. What a great cake to celebrate your grandpa's birthday. It does sound unique but delicious. That is definitely a LOT of pineapple!

    1. Thank you! It was definitely a fun one to make and a blast to see everyone staring at it while I was serving it. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets requested again!

  10. Carlee, my mom made this cake with a lemon cake. She loved the cooked frostings. I preferred the buttercream. This looks yummy.

    Wishes for tasty dishes, Linda

    1. Ooh, it would be great with lemon cake too! I am usually a buttercream girl myself, but I love to play with different techniques and textures too!

  11. So if I had all the time in the world to bake all of the delicious treats I wanted , this would be included for sure! What a beautiful and tasty way to show your love - love it Carlee!

    1. I could really use a couple more hours in the day too. Just imagine all we could get done! Maybe we should start a petition!

  12. Wow! What a cake Carlee and certainly one for a celebration!! It looks amazing and I love pineapple so this would totally be my cup of tea!! Hazel x

    1. Pineapple is one of my favorites too. I wasn't sure how it was going to work as a filling... but I am glad I gave it a go!

  13. Now this is a showstopper! I'm glad it was a crowd pleaser! And even more happy that this cake was baked up this month! I was very curious about the result! Nice job Carlee! I'm going to have to remember to bookmark this recipe for a future bake!

  14. What a fun party and beautiful cake! It's a new one on me but I love pineapple!


  15. Wow! Visiting from another link up, and need this cake in my life, stat. I don't want to wait til I'm 85, so will have to make it soon!

    1. Definitely don't wait until you are 85, it is way too good to wait that long! I hope you give it a go!

  16. Hey Carlee! Just wanted to let you know that I'll be featuring this cake tomorrow morning on You Link It, We Make it. Thanks so much for such a great recipe! Happy Tuesday!

  17. Looks great Carlee! Pineapple cake is always a favorite! Pinning ;).

  18. This sounds so great!!

    I would LOVE for you to share this with my Facebook Group:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  19. Hey Carlee! This cake look absolutely delicious! Thank you for linking up at Funtastic Friday!

  20. Wow Carlee that is a beautiful cake you made for the party!!! :)
    Thanks for sharing the recipe at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.

    1. Thank you! It was a lot of fun to make and even more fun to serve!

  21. I looked at this cake and tried to decide if I should make it or not. My husband would have never ate it though, so I decided not to. Thank you for linking up to Tips and Tricks. Hope to see you again this week. Kathleen @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas

  22. This looks lucious, Ican't wait to take it to potluck at church!

  23. What a delicious and beautiful cake!

  24. U call for salt in the egg whites but don't list it in the ingredients. How much?

    1. Thank you for noticing that! Just a pinch of salt will do, 1/4 teaspoon at the most. I will get that added in to the recipe.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!