Well, we’re on the home stretch to Christmas, and chances are you either finished all your gift shopping, or you’re the procrastinator who always waits until Christmas Eve to get ‘er done. Of course, snacks and treats are always popular gifts, with the entrances to the likes of Costco and Safeway stacked with tempting holiday baskets and specially packed gift sets of Macadamia Nut goodies, crackers, cookies, candies ‘n such.
One made in Hawaii treat that would make a nice gift you may or may not have heard of is Hawaiian Happy Cakes.Like other very exclusive made in Hawaii specialty food products, you can’t find Hawaiian Happy Cakes at any local retail store, but only directly through their website, in person on Oahu direct from the manufacturer (you can arrange for “drive-through” pick-up from their office in Waikiki), or in this case, every Saturday morning at the popular KCC Farmers Market.
That Hawaiian Happy Cakes Owner would be Owen O’Callaghan, shown above 3rd from the right… as if anyone else there looks like an O’Callaghan, right? lol
Owen bought the company about 10 years ago from the original owner who started baking Hawaiian Happy Cakes all the way back in 1967 at Kemo’o Farms out in Wahiawa.
An interesting fact about Owen with that very Irish last name of O’Callaghan, is he actually was born and raised in Ireland until the age of 8, then moved to the states where he would later become a stock broker. One visit to Hawaii about a decade ago and he fell in love, moved here, bought and took over this business, and the rest is history.
As you see, Hawaiian Happy Cakes packaging is absolutely gorgeous and elegant, and would fit right in at a boutique retail shop, however currently only available at the previously mentioned sources.
While it’s shown here unboxed, yet still in the cardboard tray they were baked in, this whole content is wrapped in air-tight plastic, which affords each Hawaiian Happy Cake a three week shelf life at room temperature. Longer naturally if you refrigerate or freeze them. Of which to note on that, the samples Owen kindly provided for this review were baked just a few days prior to them being personally delivered to me. Mahalo Owen!
So I asked Owen what would be the best way to serve them? To which he suggested the usual way like any cake of this nature — being it’s similar to a fruit cake — to heat it up briefly in a toaster oven to “freshen it up”, served alongside a nice hot cup ‘o joe or some ice cream. So I did both!
The quick blast in the toaster oven slightly caramelized one side of the Pineapple Macadamia Cake (the underside of that slice), while the heat also turned the rich chocolate fudge nice ‘n “oo’ee-goo’ee” underneath the surface. Nice! The ice cream shown served with it is Meadow Gold Vanilla Ice Cream (the one that comes in the gallon-size tub at “Cosco’s”), topped with Island Princess Macadamia Nuts. Mo’ Mac Nuts, mo’ betttah!
OK, let’s do this. Hai, itadakimasu!
And? As noted, this is similar to a fruit cake recipe, so it’s on the firm, “tight” and crumbly side, texture-wise, not soft and supple like say a Guava Chiffon cake. There’s definitely tons of chopped Macadamia Nuts and pineapple throughout, screaming its namesake out loud in flavor.
Back to texture — or actually moisture level – this is no different than most cakes, being it’s not going to be oozing out gelatinous fruity fillings, creamy custards or melted butter anytime soon. Which I did note to Owen that is the reason I in general DO NOT LIKE CAKES, and MUCH PREFER PIES. I like baked goods and pastries with fillings in them that burst out “saucy goodness” when you bite into it.
Thankfully the pineapple and heavy glaze on it afford some of that virtue here, while the Mac Nuts definitely round out the exotic “Hawaiian” flavor — which while it may sound cheesy — I think really does put the “Hawaiian” in this Happy Cake.
On to sampling the Chocolate Macadamia Nut Fudge Brownie Happy Cake, it’s pretty much as advertised, being a hybrid all-in-one fudge brownie-meets-cake. The melted chocolate fudge after being “blasted” in the toaster oven definitely helped, as I tried eating it at room temperature later (about 80º during early morning) and it wasn’t nearly as good. HEAT THEM UP. WAY BETTER!
And like a good brownie MUST HAVE — which happens to a fave of mine of any type of chocolate pastry — Happy Cakes’ Chocolate Macadamia Nut Fudge Brownie Cake is LOADED with chopped nuts. That virtue alone earns both these cakes 1 full SPAM Musubi point!
Again, like cake, I’m also not a big chocolate fan (too much testosterone I guess), so my opinion is sort of biased already. Still, it’s darned good, and you can definitely taste the quality of the ingredients and “love” that went into making both of these hand-made cakes.
As for enjoying them with ice cream AND coffee, TOTALLY ROCKIN’ IT! Where the cakes themselves lack the moisture I personally crave, those two accompaniments obviously are highly qualified to help accomplish the job. Does Hawaiian Happy Cakes NEED coffee or ice cream in order to be at their best? I think so, but that’s just me.
As for the Hawaiian Happy Cakes branded 100% Kona Coffee, I’ll do a separate review of that, as I want to compare it with some other coffees to make it even more interesting.
Summing it up, I give Hawaiian Happy Cakes 3 SPAM Musubi (very good). If I were a hardcore cake fan, I’d probably give it a 4. Even though it’s not as moist as I’d prefer it to be, I respect that it’s not that way because it’s a fruit cake recipe to begin with, which isn’t exactly the king of that realm.
Overall, the heirloom recipe, quality ingredients, including an abundance of macadamia nuts, pineapple and rich chocolate fudge, and hand-made “love” that go into baking each one, all round out to an exotic cake that would make anyone — well — happy!
What? Hawaiian Happy Cakes
Where can I buy it and how much does it cost? Available online at HappyCake.com, in person direct from the manufacturer on Oahu (tel. 808-922-1957, 808-391-7096 or toll-free 1-800-735-CAKE), and every Saturday at the KCC Farmers Market (at the foot of Diamond Head); price TBA $$
Big Shaka to: Abundant amount of chopped Macadamia Nuts, Pineapple and rich Chocolate fudge; both SCREAM in FLAVOR what their name implies; tastes like a quality product; heated in a toaster oven, and served with coffee and/or ice cream does WONDERS for it; hand-made in Hawaii since 1967
No Shaka to: On the dry side (especially at room temperature); pricey, especially if purchased online; Pomai’s biased opinion against cakes (he’s a PIE LOVER!)
The Tasty Island rating: 3 SPAM Musubi (very good)