Hawaiian Coconut Icebox Cake



When I lived in Boston I made the classic icebox cake - layers of Famous Chocolate Wafers and sweetened whipped cream. It was the perfect summer cake requiring no baking, just assembly. When I moved back to Hawaii, I was surprised that Famous Chocolate Wafers were impossible to find. I looked in multiple grocery stores and big box stores to no avail. It seemed the only way to get them was to pay outrageous mail order prices.

Hawaiian Coconut Icebox Cake

So, what were my options? On the popular food blog Smitten Kitchen, Deb Perelman shares a recipe for homemade chocolate wafers. While it's great that I could make my own cookies, it defeats the purpose of having an easy dessert that didn't require the use of the oven.

A local Hawaii bakery provides the perfect solution

Rather than trying to recreate the classic, it was time to discover a new one. I recently found a new flavor of crackers from Diamond Bakery and an idea was born. Diamond Bakery was founded in Hawaii in 1921 by three Japanese immigrants and has produced island favorite baked goods ever since. I grew up eating their soda crackers (so much better than saltines) and would often take Costco-sized boxes back to the mainland with me. And, one of my dad's favorite snacks was a Saloon Pilot cracker and peanut butter.

Since my small-kid-time, Diamond Bakery has expanded the flavor selections of their popular local staples. Their Coconut Royal Creem Crackers were the inspiration for this recipe. Sweeter than a cracker but not as sweet as a cookie, these Royal Creem (yes, that's how they spell it) crackers have a subtle coconut flavor that pairs perfectly with coconut whipped cream.

Coconut Royal Creem Crackers

A vegan alternative adds more flavor punch

As people are looking for more plant-based, non-dairy alternatives, coconut whipped cream has become a popular option to traditional whipped cream. Using only the thick coconut cream from a can of full-fat coconut milk, a lovely, soft, cloud-like alternative to classic whipped cream is produced with the added bonus of delicious coconut flavor.

Hawaiian Coconut Icebox Cake

All you need is time...

Like the classic icebox cake, there is no baking, just assembly. However, even more waiting time is required for this cake so planning ahead is necessary. For the coconut whipped cream you will need to refrigerate your cans of full-fat coconut milk overnight to allow the cream to separate from the coconut water and solidify. Once your cake is assembled, you will need to allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight to allow the cream to soften the crackers. This is a critical step as the creem crackers are thicker than the chocolate wafers.

Hawaiian Coconut Icebox Cake

Substitutions

If you can't find Coconut Creem Crackers, you could substitute with Marie Biscuits or graham crackers. You will lose a little of the coconut flavor but you could bump that up by brushing the biscuits with a little Malibu coconut rum.


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