We say it all the time that we’re completely addicted to desserts and have a raging sweet tooth to deal with on a near daily basis. But you know what, that’s completely okay, especially when it means that in order to satisfy those sweet cravings, you just have to be creative with what you’re trying out. That means lots of recipe testing and building up a recipe box fit for a queen. Whereas we used to mainly love making all types of cakes and pies, we’ve really leaned into the greatness of no-bakes, which are particularly amazing in the warmer months when you want something cool and refreshing…like this Hawaiian Dream dessert!
Fully inspired by the warm tropics, this is a layered dessert that anyone can make, no oven required! It’s full of coconut and pineapple, so it’s creamy and dreamy, yet still light and refreshing. We started with a graham cracker crust (which, if you wanted to dive even deeper into the Hawaiian theme, you could make with macadamia nuts instead), then whipped up a coconut pudding, then a cheesecake-esque coconut pineapple middle layer. Those two fillings get spread over the crust, topped off with a layer of pineapple rings, then you coat it all in frozen whipped topping and toasted coconut flakes and voilà!
Once you make this and put it in the refrigerator to set, it’s going to be a challenge to not dive in immediately. But if you can manage it, let it set for at least two hours – this is also a great option to make ahead of time! – and then slice it into squares and go for it. We’ve got some coconut-haters in our family and even they loved this stuff! Despite having layers of pudding, cheesecake and whipped cream, this dessert still feels fresh and isn’t heavy at all; it’s a perfect choice for any gathering!
Hawaiian Dream Cake
20 minutes active; 2+ hours inactive to prepare serves 9-12
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 (3.4 oz.) box instant coconut cream pudding
- 1 3/4 cups cold whole milk
- 1 1/2 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 (20 oz.) can pineapple rings, 12 rings, pat dry with paper towels
- 1 (16 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- toasted coconut flakes, garnish
- In a medium bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter, until mixture resembles damp sand.
- Press into an even layer in 9x13-inch baking dish, then place in refrigerator and let set at least 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together coconut pudding mix and dry milk, stirring until thickened, then place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
- In a separate, large bowl, beat together cream cheese, 3/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup sugar, pineapple juice and heavy cream, mixing until mixtures is fluffy and smooth.
- Remove crust from refrigerator and spread cream cheese mixture into an even layer, then spread coconut pudding into an even layer.
- Arrange dried pineapple slices on top of pudding layer, then spread thawed frozen whipped topping on top.
- Place 9x13 in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until set. Top with toasted coconut and enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Noble Pig