Dreamy Hawaiian Cake Recipe Will Transport You to the Tropics

A terrible thing happened recently, friends— I became really, really bored with all of my dessert recipes. It just felt like I’d made everything one too many times, you know? I wanted to try something new, but since it’s summer, I didn’t want to make anything too heavy. What I wished for was a light, dreamy dessert, and my wish was granted when I stumbled upon this Hawaiian Dream Cake from Tortecake.com! Its name really fits it, because this dessert couldn’t be more tasty or summer-perfect, and it hits just the right tropical note with a subtle pineapple taste. Plus, as you’ll see when you read on, it was a summer breeze to make!

What I Used: The Ingredients


– 1 box of yellow cake mix (I think a white cake mix would work well, too!)
– 3 eggs (or however many indicated by the boxed cake mix)
– 1 cup water (or however much indicated by the boxed cake mix)
– One 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and with juice reserved (You will be using the reserved pineapple juice as a substitute for the oil called for by the boxed cake mix.)
– One 8 ounce package cream cheese
– One 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding (The original recipe actually calls for 3 ounces, but anybody who’s made pudding recently knows instant pudding usually doesn’t come in that size! Luckily, that 0.4 ounces doesn’t really make a difference. ;-) )
– 1 cup cold milk
– One 9 ounce container Cool Whip (or your preferred whipped topping)
– Nuts
– Coconut
A note— I, like most of you, prefer to make my cakes from scratch, but sometimes it’s fun to take the easy route. I’m sure you can adapt a from-scratch recipe; just bear in mind that the pineapple juice should be incorporated as a substitute for at least some of the liquid(s) and fats (oil or butter) in your recipe.

What I Did: The Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 13-inch-by-9-inch pan.

The original recipe says you can also use a 15-by-10-by-1-inch jelly roll pan, but to be frank I can’t really imagine how that works. The 9-by-13-inch pan works perfectly.

  • Prepare your cake mix according to the box’s directions, using the reserved pineapple juice and water for the called-for liquid.


The pineapple juice is taking the place of the oil or butter usually required, so essentially instead of adding fat, you’re adding juice! Bear in mind that you get a lot of juice when you drain the crushed pineapple, so this batter is going to be quite liquidy. Don’t worry— the result is great!

  • Bake according to the boxed cake’s directions. Set aside to cool in the pan.


The original recipe calls for baking the cake for 35 minutes, but do not do this! Your cake will be done well before that time. I set my timer for 28 minutes, the minimum time called for on the box, and my cake was absolutely done by then, with an inserted toothpick coming out perfectly clean wherever it was inserted.

  • While you cake cools, blend the cream cheese, pudding mix and milk together in a large bowl until smooth. Fold in the crushed pineapple.


Simple. Make sure you set the cream cheese out for a little while – the time required to prepare the cake mix was sufficient for me – so it is soft enough to blend easily. Everything comes together quite easily!

  • Spread the pineapple mixture over the top of your cake.


Make sure your cake is completely cool for this step. You may need to pop it in the refrigerator for a few minutes first.

  • Cover with the Cool Whip – use the entire container! – and top with nuts and coconut. Serve immediately or refrigerate to store.


I’m allergic to nuts and my husband doesn’t enjoy coconut, so I stopped with the whipped topping layer. Still delicious!


Guys, this cake is one of the lightest, most deliciously summery desserts I’ve ever had! I highly recommend it. It refrigerates super well, and I think tastes even better the next day. It’s so refreshing, and refreshingly easy.

Drop us a line in the comments if you’ve ever made Hawaiian Dream Cake or plan to give it a try. We’re dying to know if you love it as much as we do.