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Haleakala Cake {White Cake with Pineapple Filling}

Thanks for sharing!

Haleakala cake is amazing! It is a tender white cake that is LOADED with pineapple filling and then coated in a big cloud of fluffy frosting. Add a little toasted coconut to drive the taste of the islands home!

Haleakala cake with fluffy white frosting and toasted coconut.

Haleakala cake is so good. Two layers of soft white cake, lots 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.

layers of cake and pineapple ready to frost.

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?!

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, covering pineapple layer and soft white cake layers.

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 a chocolate cake I made.  Now this version.

Round layer cake with fluffy white frosting and toasted coconut on top on 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, showing pineapple filling, bright white frosting and toasted coconut topping.

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.

first slice of haleakala cake with pineapple filling coming out of cake.

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.

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.

Singing happy birthday to grandpa.

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! 😉

Inside of haleakala cake showing white cake, pineapple filling, fluffy white frosting and toasted coconut.

More Great Cake Recipes:

For a simpler white cake, try making vanilla Texas sheet cake. The batter and icing are both made in a saucepan for a no fuss way to feed a crowd.

If rich coconut cakes are your thing, Greek coconut cake may be for you. It is loaded with coconut and soaked in a syrup that keeps it super moist and delicious.

Maybe you are in the mood for some chocolate with your coconut. They try making my great-grandma’s German chocolate cake with broiled coconut frosting. It is a fun twist on the classic German chocolate cake we know and love.

Or check out my full collection of cake recipes for more inspiration.

Haleakala cake with fluffy white frosting and toasted coconut.

Haleakala Cake

This Haleakala 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!
5 from 11 ratings
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 16 Servings
Calories 336 kcal


Pineapple Filling

  • 2 20 oz cans crushed pineapple
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional a couple of drops of yellow food coloring

White Cake Layers

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 egg whites


  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 scant teaspoon cream of tartar
  • cup water
  • 5 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup shredded coconut toasted


  • Pineapple Filling
  • Pour pineapple into a large strainer over a bowl. Press down on the pineapple to release all of the juice. Set pineapple aside.
  • 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.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and continue stirring while the mixture simmers for 2 minutes.
  • 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
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare two round 9 inch pans. (You can grease and flour them or I use the baking spray with flour in it)
  • Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt with a whisk to ensure no clumps. Set aside.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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!)
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.)
  • Uncover the pot and place your candy thermometer. Raise the heat to high and let boil without stirring until the thermometer reaches 242°F.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • If you’d like, sprinkle your coconut on top. Let cake stand uncovered at room temperature.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 336kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 5gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 382mgFiber: 1gSugar: 51g
Tried this recipe?Mention @carleecooks or tag #cookingwcarlee!
This Haleakala 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!

Thanks for sharing!

Recipe Rating


Sunday 12th of May 2019

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


Wednesday 5th of June 2019

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.


Friday 3rd of May 2019

What a delicious and beautiful cake!


Wednesday 8th of May 2019

Thank you so much!


Friday 26th of April 2019

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


Wednesday 8th of May 2019

It is going to be a big hit!


Sunday 1st of May 2016

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

Julie's Lifestyle

Thursday 28th of April 2016

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


Thursday 28th of April 2016

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