Hawaiian Coconut Icebox Cake

Slice of Hawaiian Coconut Icebox Cake with cake in the background

June 10, 2022

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.

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 from Diamond Bakery

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.

Slice of Hawaiian Coconut Icebox Cake


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.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Slice of Hawaiian Coconut Icebox Cake

Hawaiian Coconut Icebox Cake

  • Author: She’s Almost Always Hungry
  • Total Time: 24 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


The icebox cake is reimagined and celebrates all things coconut



For the coconut whipped cream

2 14-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk

1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the cake

56 Diamond Bakery Royal Creem Coconut Crackers*

3 tablespoons unsweetened, grated coconut for garnish (optional)


For the coconut cream

Chill the coconut milk overnight.

Place the bowl of a stand mixer in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Remove the coconut milk from the refrigerator being careful not to shake the cans.

Place only the thickened coconut cream into the chilled bowl. Reserve the coconut water for other recipes (like smoothies).

Whip the coconut cream for 30 seconds, until creamy. Add the vanilla and sugar and whip until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and add more sugar if needed.

To assemble

On a serving plate, spread a thin layer of coconut whipped cream to hold the crackers in place.

Arrange 7 cookies in a circle placing 1 cookie in the center. Top the cookie layer with about ⅔ cup coconut cream. Repeat layers seven (7) times, alternating the crackers with each layer. Refrigerate overnight.

While the cake chills, preheat oven to 325°F. Spread grated coconut on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until coconut is light golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Cool completely then store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

To serve, garnish the cake with the toasted coconut and slice into wedges.


*If you cannot find Coconut Creem Crackers, you may substitute Marie Biscuits or graham crackers.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 24 hours
  • Category: dessert
  • Cuisine: Hawaiian-American


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 469.61
  • Sugar: 18.17 g.
  • Sodium: 244.93 mg.
  • Fat: 31.26 g.
  • Saturated Fat: 25.16 g.
  • Carbohydrates: 46.34 g.
  • Fiber: 0.3 g.
  • Protein: 5.7 g.
  • Cholesterol: 0 g.

Keywords: coconut, icebox cake

You May Also Like…

Ube Mochi Donuts

Ube Mochi Donuts

In Hawaii we love mochi in all forms. From traditional forms like ozoni (mochi soup served on New Year's Day to bring...



Okinawan Doughnuts The Okinawan Festival is held in Honolulu as a celebration of the culture and foods of Okinawa....


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating