My Mom’s best dessert: Hawaiian Wedding Cake
Susan Selasky’s mom’s favorite dessert was her Hawaiian Wedding Cake. (Photo: Detroit Free Press)
A couple years ago, my editor asked me to write about a favorite dish that my mom made. It was a cake. And the staff went crazy bananas for it. Several told me they’ve made it several times since. After talking with metro area chefs for today’s story on them and their moms, I found it fitting to share that column again. Here is the column I wrote in 2014. I hope you enjoy the cake as much as I do.
We all know just about everyone has a dish that Mom made best. My mom, Mary Selasky, found comfort in baking desserts — cooking, not so much. It has been 29 years and six months that my mom has been gone, and I miss her dearly (as well as my Dad who has been gone eight years).
Mom loved her sweets — or “goodies” as she and my dad would call them. She made lots of goodies: candies, cookies, cheesecakes and a yummy banana split cake. But my favorite was her Hawaiian Wedding Cake. Sadly, there were never any leftovers.
I can only guess that it’s called Hawaiian Wedding Cake because of the pineapple. And with this cake, a small piece is satisfying so it can feed a lot people (which may be how it got the “wedding” part of its name but that’s purely a guess).
Susan Selasky’s mom, Mary Selasky, found comfort in baking desserts. (Photo: Selasky family photo)
Recently, my brother Steve Selasky noted that Mom’s knack for baking and making other desserts stemmed from her attention to detail. And I think he’s right.
She learned that when making desserts and other baked goods, there was little margin for error. So she paid attention. With cooking, there’s a little more leeway.
A few years ago, I mentioned the cake to Beverly (Bev) Garcia — the mother of a friend and another expert cake maker (who also makes a dynamite buttercream frosting). She told me she had the recipe and recalled getting it from my mother.
Bev mailed me a copy of the handwritten recipe. The writing resembles my mother’s as I remember it some 29 years ago.
Although I have many fond memories of this cake, I had never made it until this week. My brother Vince (who, when I mentioned it, asked when I was making it) remembers the bits of pineapple in the frosting. That’s not in my mom’s written recipe, but I am sure she tweaked it along the way.
The frosting recipe calls for margarine because that’s what my mother bought (it costs less than butter). But I used butter because that’s what I prefer. For the nuts, my mom always used walnuts; their rich taste were such a treat.
I did an Internet search and found all sorts of versions of this recipe. There are ones topped with toasted coconut (my sister Margaret would hate that) or made with boxed cake mixes and vanilla pudding. Today’s recipe is a fairly standard one for a cake made from scratch.
When I decided to make this cake to honor my mom this week before Mother’s Day, it brought tears to my eyes. It was at that moment I remembered I still have the same 9-by-13-inch cake pan she used.
Contact Susan Selasky: [email protected] or 313-222-6872. Follow @susanMariecooks on Twitter.
Hawaiian Wedding Cake
Makes: About 20 (2-by-2-inch servings) / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 1 hour (plus cooling time)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple with juice (reserve 1/3 cup drained pineapple for the frosting if desired)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the baking soda, flour and sugar. Add the eggs, pineapple (with its juice), vanilla and nuts; mix well.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
To make the frosting: Beat softened cream cheese until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, softened butter and vanilla. Fold in the reserved 1/3 cup pineapple if desired. Spread the whipped cream cheese mixture over the cooled cake. Cut into desired size squares.
From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
221 calories (28% from fat), 7 grams fat (4 grams sat. fat), 38 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 183 mg sodium, 37 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.
We all know just about everyone has a dish that Mom made best.
Hawaiian Wedding Cake
Try this delicious Hawaiian Wedding Cake recipe filled with the aromatic flavors of pineapple, cinnamon, and nutmeg with the cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut, this recipe is absolutely divine. This cake makes the perfect centerpiece to any party, whether it be a wedding or a birthday party. Perfect for practically any occasion, make this recipe the next time you want to wow your guests.
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped or crushed
- 3/4 cup flaked coconut
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- WHIPPED CREAM CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- toasted shredded coconut, for topping
Preparation time 35mins
Cooking time 75mins
Adapted from happyhodgepodgehome.wordpress.com
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a bowl, mix the white sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, all-purpose flour, walnuts, 3/4 cup flaked coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together. Then add the eggs, vanilla, and crushed pineapple with all of the juice and mix well.
Pour into a well greased pan 9-inch round or 9-inch X 13-inch baking dish.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes at 350°F (or until toothpick in the center comes out clean).
WHIPPED CREAM CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
In a small bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla and mix until it reaches a smooth consistency.
Gently fold the cream cheese mixture and whipped cream together.
Frost the cake and top with toasted shredded coconut.
Try this delicious Hawaiian Wedding Cake recipe filled with the aromatic flavors of pineapple, cinnamon, and nutmeg with the cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut,…