Hawaiian food culture spans over centuries and continents, this Ube and Custard cake is the summa of traditions brought here by both Portuguese and Japanese immigrants working in the sugarcane fields.
The Hawaiian custard cake is 2 desserts in one: the top layer, a flan, is made with sweet condensed milk like many other desserts of Portuguese origins. The bottom layer, is a feathery light Ube and Vanilla cake.
Let’s not forget the caramel! It imparts an over the top “onolicious” moisture to the whole.
Those who tasted it, all agreed: it was 10! A perfect score with every bite.
Make it today, and don’t forget to check the quick tips along the way.
Video recipe of the day
- Preparation time45 Minutes
- Rest time3 Hours
- Cooking time1 Hour
- Cooking methodBain-marie
Note: I add a pinch of cream of tartar to the caramel sauce to prevent the sugar from crystalizing.
Also, remove the caramel from the stove when is almost done, will keep turning a bit darker with the residual heat of the pan.
For the caramel:
For the flan layer
For the Ube layer
Prepare the caramel
In a medium casserole place all the ingredients for the caramel in the given order. Avoid splashing the water when pouring it over the sugar. The cream of tartar, however, will help ensure a smooth caramel without sugar crystals.
Bring to a light boil and watch it turn from big bubbles on the surface, to smaller one. Underneath the bubbles the caramel will start turning darker and darker. I like to remove it from the heat when it is a nice honey color.
Immediately pour it on the bottom of the pan. If using 2 pans, divide it equally among them.
Set aside to cool and harden.
Prepare the custard
This custard is so easy to make! Just be sure to strain it before pouring into the pan. Also make sure the caramel layer is already cool. I typically start this step after I have poured the caramel.
For the custard:
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and strain.
Pour over the caramel and tap the pan a couple of times to remove any air bubbles. Set aside.
Prepare the cake layer
-Pre heat oven to 350° F
– Get a 9×13 pan and place the pan/pans inside .
-With a hand held mixer or a stand up mixer, beat egg whites with salt and half of the sugar (1/3 c) until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time starting after the egg whites and salt have been beaten for a minute and are frothy. Invert the bowl to make sure the meringue is stiff and stable (should not slide off the bowl). Set aside.
-Mix the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Set aside.
-In a measuring cup, pour the water and the oil.
_Now mix the egg yolks with the other half of the sugar (1/3 C) until light and fluffy. Add the liquids (water and oil and flavoring) and mix to blend. Pour the flour mix and beat just until no flour residue is visible. Fold in the egg whites by hand.
Layer the cake
Gently brush some butter on the side of the pan to help release the cake afterwards. Pour the cake batter over the custard, gently spooning it. It is light and will float, no worries.
Level it off without pressing too much.
Place the larger pan with the cake(s) in the oven, and pour enough cold water to reach half the cake pan height.
Bake for about an hour turning the cake pan(s) after 30 minutes.
Check the cakes with a skewer inserted only on the cake portion. Larger cake bakes about 75 to 80 minutes. Smaller cakes bake about 1 hour.
Remove cake from the water immediately and chill for an hour .
NOTE: I found it is far easier to unmold the cake while still lightly warm.
Simply run a knife around the edges of the pan, in a counter clock wise motion.
Place a plate over the cake and invert it at once.
Wait a minute for the caramel to drip alongside the pan and moisture the cake.
Refrigerate or serve immediately.