Hawaiian Pineapple Cake

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Do you remember the theme song from Gilligan’s Island?

The tv show where Skipper and Gilligan get shipwrecked on a deserted island with Mary Ann, Ginger, The Professor and Mr. and Mrs. Howell.

“Just sit right back
And you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailin’ man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day,
For a three hour tour,
A three hour tour…”

I loved that show.

The words to the song make me want to rent every episode and watch them with my sons.

My sister and I looked forward to seeing it every day after school.


We rooted for our favorite castaways rescue but each time they were right on the verge, something odd would happen to mess it up.

Right at the last-minute.

Off-beat visitors seemed to show up out of nowhere.

We were rivetedEvery 30-minute episode had us on the edge of our seats.

But we kept up hope.

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I guess if you were going to be stuck on a primitive isle with quirky friends Gilligan’s crew would be the best.

By the way, did you know snakes nor flies exist in Hawaii?

I know this because my husband and I spent our honeymoon in Oahu. We took one of those island tours where a local resident escorts a group of people to all the famous island sites — like the Dole pineapple plantation and the spot where Fantasy Island was filmed. And the lush green valley in the movie Mighty Joe Young where the loveable gorilla runs off to his new life.

{That scene makes me happy and sad.}

Then when the sightseeing ends the tour group is dropped off on a remote part of the island for a real luau with hunky flame dancers and hula girls with long dark hair in grass skirts and a pig roast and delicious Hawaiian Cake for dessert.

We took that tour.

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But there was this one stop that meant the most to me. It was barely noticeable really. In fact, we would have missed it if it hadn’t been pointed out.

Remember in the opening scene from Gilligan where the song lyrics begin there is a tropic port the Skipper, Gilligan and their passengers set sail from for a three-hour tour? That’s where we stood with our guide — at that port — right where the boats were docked at the beginning of the song. The same place where the SS Minnow moves out to sea for what would turn out be an unexpected trip.

And as I gazed past the docks and boats and port out to the Pacific, memories from my childhood came flooding back. And I thought of my sister who watched television with me after school; especially Gilligan’s Island.

And I sort of yearned for The Skipper and his gang. And the island that never truly existed. The one I wanted to visit so much as a kid, but of course never would.

And now as I tell this story and reminisce it makes me smile to think how our afternoon island tour turned unexpected and surprising too… thanks to that loveable Gilligan.

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Now this cake reminds me of the Islands. It’s similar to the one we were served at the luau.

The cream of coconut soaks in like a sponge, but not in a soggy way. It’s sweet so if you prefer a little less richness pour in half the cream mixture than this recipe calls for.

It’s divine with a tall glass of cold milk or a hot steaming cup of Kona, too. 🙂


Hawaiian Pineapple Cake

1 box yellow cake mix (like Duncan Hines)
1 can Coco Lopez (cream of coconut) or similar, about 15 ounces
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz tub whipped topping
1 cup chopped pecans
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 -1/2 cups shredded coconut (separated)

Bake cake according to directions in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. While cake is baking, mix the coconut milk and condensed milk together in a bowl. Allow cake to cool then take the handle end of a wooden spoon and poke holes all over the top of the cake. Pour the coconut and condensed milk mixture into the holes and over the top. Refrigerate until very cold, about 2 hours. When ready to frost, mix whipped topping, 1 cup of shredded coconut, crushed pineapple and pecans together in a bowl and spread over the top. Sprinkle the rest 1/2 cup of coconut flakes over the frosting. Serve chilled. ModernHenHome.com


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  3. Cara Bomia says:

    Sounds yummy and makes me yearn for the tropics also. I, like you, loved the show. I still remember the episode in which they acted in Shakespeare’s Hamlet for a big time producer. It is the only Shakespearean story I actually know and I owe it all to Gilligans Island. My husband and I have also been fortunate enough to stand at the marina where they embarked on their journey. Thanks for the trip down memory lane and a delicious recipe.


    • Awe, thanks Cara. I forgot about their Hamlet skit. That’s one I just might rent. I sure do miss those days… And the good, clean fun from that show. And so you know all about the marina they sailed from that fateful day. It sure was cool to see and playback in my mind. Thanks so much for sharing your memories, too. I love them! PS. We saw the USS Arizona on that trip… And I will never forget. Xo


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